The internet is a useful infrastructure today, but there are billions of threats that internet users face at any given second. Despite the numerous measures available to keep everyone safe online, the danger still lurks.
One way to keep your data, communication, and other online activities safe is through public key infrastructure (PKI) technology.
Despite PKI encryption looking simpler than other methods, it’s one of the most used cybersecurity measures by companies and organizations. It is, therefore, vital to ensure that the service provider offers reliable encryptions to avoid data breaches and other risks.
If you want to boost your organization’s cybersecurity, understanding how PKI enhances cybersecurity in the modern landscape is important.
What is Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)?
PKI means public key infrastructure, an encryption technology that allows secure communication over a network, in this case, the Internet. The technology usually relies on protocols, devices, and other set rules that allow more security where a regular password might be deemed inadequate.
If you are in a race to deploy PKI technology in your firm, choosing a reliable PKI as a Service provider will give you great peace of mind.
The working principle of PKI technology involves using cryptographic keys and certificates. This combination, plus other laid down protocols, ensures that there is smooth and secure communication as well as general security.
Some of these main components are explained below:
- Cryptographic Keys
The keys are codes used to secure or encrypt the data from the sender to the receiver. There are two types of cryptographic keys, private and public. The public keys are freely distributed, and everyone can access them, while private keys are only available to the sender and receiver in a communication channel.
- Digital Certificates
Digital certificate is an electronic document used to prove a public key. The document usually contains the signature of the certificate authority, the public key, and the owner, also called the subject. If the device evaluating the certificate proves it is valid, it allows the connection to proceed. The most common types of digital certificates include HTTPS, TSL, and SSL.
- Certificate Authority
A certificate authority is a third-party entity that stores, issues, and signs digital certificates used to identify a person, company, or website. Apart from signing key certificates in PKI, CA is also useful in signing certificates used on websites as well as other electronic documents such as digital IDs.
How is PKI Enhancing Cybersecurity in Modern Digital Landscape
PKI has proved important in the modern world in enhancing cybersecurity. Some of the ways it achieves this include;
1. Secure Email Communication
One of the areas where PKI is utilized is in communication, specifically emails. Since emails are the backbone of any company, they are supposed to be secure to prevent information from getting hijacked. The PKI technology ensures only the intended parties receive emails.
Normally, the private keys embedded in the encrypted mail can only be decoded by the receiver, making it hard for hackers to intercept your communication. Additionally, the presence of a digital sign in the key helps in the authentication of genuine mail; it’s easy to identify hogwash mail such as that used in phishing and spamming.
Apart from keeping communication safe, encryption further increases security. This is because, even if a hacker manages to intercept e-mails, it’s hard to access details since they are sent while encrypted.
2. Securing Network System
PKI is one of the ways to secure your network. If you have a company network restricted to the staff, you can use this technology to block unwanted devices.
The technology uses digital certificates to allow connectivity. This allows you to grant permission to the people or devices you want to access the network. By providing the keys and certificate, it is easy to block unwanted users from the network system.
Apart from keeping unwanted parties out of a network, PKI creates digital certificates. It is also involved in the revocation of a certificate. Therefore, if a certificate is compromised, you can use the technology to revoke it hence keeping the network secure.
3. Safe Online Transactions
As the world changes, so do the business models. Many people are adopting e-commerce over traditional business models. This has significantly boosted the industry, with revenue projected to hit US$3,090.00 billion by the end of 2023.
One of the key players in this success is the adoption of PKI. This technology is the key to ensuring smooth and secure transactions. Actually, with millions of transactions happening everyday, the generation of secure certificates ensures every transaction is safe and eliminates the chances of data loss or breach.
4. Reduced Cost of Data-Related Breaches
Data breaches are costly, and if not checked well, they can damage business reputation and impact its financial situation. It is said that most data loss results from human errors. Therefore, adding a layer of protection to your business is vital.
The use of PKI in business enhances the overall data security. Automating PKI technology can significantly improve data safety and minimize, if not eliminate, breaches.
While the initial cost might feel high, this technology saves you from lawsuits. In 2023, the data breach cost was $4.45 million. This is way more than the cost of implementing PKI technology.
5. Enhanced Internet of Things security
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary technology that has impacted every sector. From health, agriculture, finance, and others, it has caused massive changes. However, to make it secure, it had to adopt an array of security implementations.
Of many adopted technologies, PKI is the security foundation when it comes to all the devices involved in the IoT. The technology ensures only the intended devices communicate hence avoiding mishaps. Due to the high integrity, reliability, and scalability, the technology keeps the IoT devices running without interference.
The use of public key infrastructure has improved cybersecurity in different fields. Whether it’s financial institutions, ecommerce, or other areas, technology is indispensable. Despite how simple it might appear, the technology is depended on by billions of transactions, processes, and individuals.