Report: 81% of companies experienced a certificate-related outage in the past two years

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The current workforce is arguably part human, part machine. In fact, it’s likely that the number of machines — from servers, containers, and IoT devices — is much greater than the number of people in any given organization’s network.

This rapid spread of machine identities has created new challenges for IT and security teams. Most worryingly, 81% of organizations have experienced at least two or more disruptive outages due to certificate expiration in the past two years, according to the second annual State of Machine Identity Management Report, conducted jointly by Keyfactor and Ponemon Institute. The new research provides an in-depth understanding of the role machine identities and public key infrastructure (PKI) play in securing modern enterprises.

Along with the rise of machine identities, the report found that companies are struggling with a lack of full visibility of certificates. This year’s survey found that the number of internally trusted certificates grew nearly 16% from last year, with the average company issuing 267,620 internally trusted certificates across the organization.

bar chart.  The frequency of machine identity related incidents in the past 24 months.  The full results of this image can be found in the text of the article itself.

If not tracked, certificates expire unexpectedly, causing critical applications or services to stop working – explaining the alarmingly high number of organizations experiencing certificate-related outages. On average, respondents said it takes more than three hours to recover from a certificate-related failure, and 39% said it takes four hours or more. Shorter certificate lifecycles have made it much more difficult for organizations to keep up with certificate issuance and management. According to respondents, 65% are concerned about the increased workload and the risk of outages due to a shorter lifespan of SSL/TLS certificates.

Companies also struggle to manage the exponential volume with which machine identities are created. More certificates are proving difficult to manage, with 70% of respondents saying that the increasing use of keys and digital certificates has significantly increased the operational burden on their IT organization.

IT and security leaders are increasingly aware of the need for a centralized strategy to manage machine identities. 57% of respondents cite full visibility of all certificates and 60% cite lifecycle automation as top priorities for the coming year.

This year’s report analyzed survey responses from 1,231 individuals in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, spanning 13 industries, including financial services, industrials and manufacturing, public sector, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, education and research, and retail. .

Read the full report from Keyfactor and Ponemon Institute.

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