Ubiquitous connectivity, mobility, and cloud computing are driving the growth of digital business and the development of disruptive business models across all industries. As a result, data volumes are skyrocketing, and traditional security perimeters are evaporating at a record pace. The need to evolve from a tactical to a strategic view of digital trust is at the heart of this transformation to digital business. According to Gartner:

  • By 2025, 20% of digital businesses with strong digital trust strategies will grow at double the percentage rate of those with poor digital trust efforts. (How to Manage New Trust Issues for Brands in Digital Business — 24 May 17)
  • By 2020, companies that are digitally trustworthy will generate 20% more online profit than those that are not. (The Gartner Digital Commerce Vendor Guide, 2017 — 11 Jul 17)

To prepare for these challenges, an increasing number of businesses are deploying public key infrastructures (PKIs) to secure the expanding ecosystem of users, devices, applications, and things. A PKI supports the distribution and identification of public encryption keys, enabling users and computers to securely exchange data over public networks like the Internet. Already an established and proven technology, PKI is even more relevant today as the need to securely authenticate a growing digital ecosystem continues to grow.

However, not all PKIs are created equal. IT leaders at companies can deploy and manage their own PKI or use a hosted PKI operated by a managed service provider. Some IT leaders feel that “free” PKI tools bundled with operating systems are sufficient, yet for more complex organizations, additional management requirements strip away at savings and restrict future growth.

Concerns about cost, security, and accessibility weigh heavily on senior IT leaders, according to a Computing study on PKI usage, published in August 2016. Per the study, 54% of respondents said it is becoming progressively harder to manage their PKI systems, with the compounded worry about ongoing management costs.

The cost of a PKI solution is just one part of total costs. IT leaders need to consider all costs “” staff investment, infrastructure, maintenance, and future requirements to drive desired digital business outcomes “” rather than the lowest up-front cost.

So, is free really an option? Or is it a false economy? Research the best solution for your business in our new study with Computing Research, “Choosing a PKI Infrastructure for digital business.”


Aaron Davis