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The Top 10 Certificate Lifecycle Management Solutions

Certificate lifecycle management (CLM) solutions allow admins to oversee and manage the lifecycle and integrity of authentication certificates. Explore the top CLM solutions and their key features.

The Top Certificate Lifecycle Management Solutions Include:
  • 1. AppViewX CERT+
  • 2. DigiCert Trust Lifecycle Manager
  • 3. Keyfactor Command
  • 4. Keystash
  • 5. ManageEngine Key Manager Plus
  • 6. Sectigo Certificate Manager
  • 7. SecureW2 JoinNow Connector PKI
  • 8. TrackSSL
  • 9. Venafi TLS Protect
  • 10. ZeroSSL

Certificate lifecycle management solutions allow you to gain (and keep track of) critical information regarding SSL, SSH, and TLS certificates. These digital certificates authenticate user, machine, and website identities when the exchange information with one another, ensuring that each connection is legitimate and secured—often via encryption. Certificate lifecycle management is a key component of an effective Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) – this umbrella term describes all the technology, policies, and services used to facilitate identity confirmation.

In recent years, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of employees working remotely, and a diversification in the devices that they are using. This has resulted in a more complex identity and access management landscape. The task of ensuring that users are engaging with the correct sites, and that they are correctly secured, has become much more complex. There is an ever-increasing number of certificates to manage, each with its own specifications and expiry date.

Failure to effectively manage your certificates and PKI can result in unexpected outages – where users are unable to access the services your business provides online – leading to business interruptions and productivity impacts. There are also security risks associated with not using certificates or having them configured inappropriately. For example, if a threat actor were to steal a website’s certificate, they could pose as the legitimate owner of that certificate and manipulate a user into installing malware.

Because of this, it’s important that organizations keep track of and maintain their digital certificates through each stage of the certificate lifecycle. A certificate management tool should be able to complete the following tasks: discovery, creation, installation/deployment, inventory, monitoring, renewal, revocation, and replacement. 

In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 certificate lifecycle management solutions available today. In each case, we’ll identify some of the solution’s key features, before suggesting the type of organization that would benefit most from using it. It is worth noting that this article covers a range of solutions for a range of use cases; some platforms are dedicated to securing just SSL, for example, while others have a broader remit.

AppView Logo

Based in New York, AppViewX is an access management developer whose CERT+ solution empowers you to streamline the SSH management and orchestration process. CERT+ improves the connectivity between teams by ensuring that the management of digital identities is optimized. The platform offers role-based access controls, as well as self-service functionality.

AppViewX CERT+ enables you to eliminate time-consuming manual processes, while reducing the amount of service tickets that are generated. The solution is highly effective and versatile, enabling the accurate management of certificates, thereby avoiding workflow issues. Admins can benefit from a user-friendly interface that allows them to manage the platform’s settings and access status reports. We would recommend this solution for medium to large organizations that need to efficiently manage multiple certificates and users.

DigiCert Logo

DigiCert is a Utah-based company that focuses on digital trust solutions across websites, certificates, and devices. Trust Lifecycle Manager is a dedicated certificate lifecycle management and PKI tool. The platform centralizes visibility, while giving admins effective control and management capabilities. DigiCert accelerates certificate discovery, management, notification, automation, and integration.

The solution collates details of all certificates centrally, allowing admins fine grained visibility and control. DigiCert also facilitates automated, one-touch provisioning and specific targeted notifications. The platform provides many integrations with common UEM/MDM, CMS, Active Directory, and IAM technologies. With Trust Lifecycle Manager, you can verify whether a certificate signing request (CSR) is valid. We would recommend this solution for medium-sized enterprises that require a comprehensive tool and have dedicated resource to implement and configure it.

Keyfactor Logo

Keyfactor was established in 2001 and had developed a series of identity and trust solutions. Keyfactor Command allows you to automate and orchestrate your PKI and certificate management from a single, unified platform. The solution allows you real-time visibility into public and private CAs, network endpoints, and data stores. Through the user-friendly dashboard, you can use a granular search engine to find information quickly.

Keyfactor Command allows you to tag certificates with custom metadata, so you can organize and manage your certificates with ease. Management processes are improved through automated renewal alerts, compliance reports, and integration with SIEM and ITSM tools. Certificates can be discovered and ingested from across your network, ensuring that there are no lapses in coverage. We would recommend Keyfactor Command for enterprise organizations that need a straight-forward, yet powerful, certificate management tool.

Keystash Logo

Based in London, UK, Keystash is a centralized and secure certificate management platform for Linux servers. The platform effectively guides admins through the process to ensure that SSH keys are created accurately. Admins can manage Linux users, groups, and permissions, as well as controlling SUDO settings. The platform adheres to multiple regulatory frameworks including ISO27001, SOC2, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA.

Keystash can be deployed in all cloud and private networks, allowing admins extensive visibility into servers and security configuration. From the dashboard, admins can enforce security policies across all infrastructure. The platform also allows you to implement privileged access (in addition to MFA) to ensure that your solution is secure. We would recommend this solution specifically for Linux-based teams that need to effectively manage their certificate deployment and renewal.

ManageEngine logo

ManageEngine has developed a plethora of effective IT management and cybersecurity tools. Key Manager Plus is their web-based SSH key and SSL certificate management solution. Through providing extensive visibility, the platform enables admins to understand their environment, and pre-empt breaches or compliance issues.

Key Manager Plus can discover, inventory, and deploy certificates, ensuring that the certification process runs effectively. The solution encrypts all certificates for the entire duration of their lifecycles, thereby ensuring you are compliant with regulatory frameworks and your connection is secure. We would recommend Key Manager Plus for organizations in need of a solution that is easy to roll out and provides effective management capabilities.

Sectigo Logo

Sectigo has developed a certificate lifecycle management solution – Certificate Manager – that allows you to secure your human and machine identities whilst being certificate authority (CA) agnostic. Certificate Manager allows you to automate processes across the certificate lifecycle; from issuance to expiry. The platform effectively manages a wide range of security protocols from TLS, SSL, and S/MIME.

This cloud-based solution is easy to use, and quick to configure. Through improving visibility and data gathering, Sectigo Certificate Manager allows you to improve the certificate management processes by ensuring that it is efficient. Admins can use APIs to integrate Sectigo with other tools – such as ITSM platforms – and to automate processes, thereby reducing the burden on IT teams. We would recommend Sectigo Certificate Manager for larger organizations, particularly DevOps companies, due to their comprehensive integrations and configurability.

SecureW2 Logo

SecureW2 is a Washington-based network security provider that delivers certificate and managed PKI services, a VPN, and a RADIUS access solution.  JoinNow Connector PKI is their PKI and CLM solution, which uses RADIUS server certificates to facilitate powerful, policy-driven authentication and security. The platform not only allows you to manage digital certificates but also allows you to deploy passwordless authentication for applications and infrastructure such as Wi-Fi, VPN, and logins. To achieve this, the platform seamlessly integrates with major identity and device management platforms through APIs.

The platform’s dashboard ensures that the solution is easy to manage, allowing you to restrict access to privileged users, thereby improving your security hygiene. You can onboard the solution relatively simply, with SecureW2 support on hand to assist if necessary. Certificates can be automatically revoked and managed through revocation lists. We would recommend this platform for small to medium organizations that are looking to apply zero-trust security principles to their certificate management capabilities.

TrackSSL Logo

TrackSSL is a straightforward and efficient SSL certificate monitoring solution. The platform regularly scans your certificates for common issues, then sends specific notifications to detail any findings. These notifications can be configured to be pre-emptive, i.e., warning you of a pending expiry or weak signature, and they can be delivered via several channels, including email, Slack, SMS, and Teams.

TrackSSL has five pricing options, allowing you to find a solution that suits your needs and the number of certificates you need to monitor. The solution is straightforward to use, allowing you to monitor certificates simply and effectively. We would recommend TrackSSL for small to medium sized organizations, though their range of pricing plans mean this platform is suitable for larger organizations too.

Venafi Logo

Venafi is a cybersecurity company operating out of Salt Lake City, UT, with a focus on securing machine identities in a hyper-connected digital environment. Venafi TLS Protect is their TLS certificate and digital key management tool that uses automation to improve efficiency and identify errors. TLS Protect collates comprehensive information regarding certificate ownership, location, and expiration. Notifications can be configured with granular precision to ensure that the relevant users have the information that they need.

Venafi TLS Protect is a quick solution to use – you can monitor and generate new certificates with ease, ensuring that IT operations can continue unimpeded. The platform’s automated alerts ensure that you are warned before a certificate expires. Again, this prevents issues from arising in the future. The platform is easy to use, ensuring that less technical users can benefit from it without a steep learning curve. We would recommend this solution for medium sized organizations that require a straightforward solution with reliable automation capabilities to effectively manage their certificates.

ZeroSSL Logo

ZeroSSL allows you to improve security and productivity through effective and reliable SSL management. ZeroSSL has partnered with a range of Automated Certificate Management Environment (ACME) providers, thereby making it even easier to manage your certificates. The SSL REST API allows you to further automate processes like CSR validation and certificate issuance. Through ZeroSSL, you have the option to easily deploy free 90-Day and 1-Year certificates.

Once set up and configured, ZeroSSL is simple to use, allowing you greater control over your digital certificates. It is worth looking into the platform’s subscription options as there is something of a jump between the entry level and the premium packages. We would recommend this platform for small to medium sized organizations due to their free and entry-level provisioning.

The Top 10 Certificate Lifecycle Management Solutions