What Has Changed in PKI: Then & Now

When developers create PKI infrastructures, they are confronted with a choice between the public and private certificate authorities. The choices will vary from company to company. The major factor influencing the choice will be the need of the company.

Depending on the need, the company might buy certificates from a trusted authority. For instance, if you are running a business that will directly handle the public, you need to have a public CA certificate.

However, these expenses might be costly or added to the overhead expenses if the certificates have value only in the enterprise. This is where private PKI comes into the frame. Private PKI, also known as house PKI, helps the user reduce the certificate cost and offer the same security level.

How Has PKI Changed Over the Years?

The public key infrastructure has been used by companies to overcome security problems. In house PKI is being used to support large scale deployments for internal affairs. This includes email encryption, cloud-based applications, Internet of things, and mobile devices.

If you are looking for a more money-saving approach, instead of buying a digital certificate from a third-party authority, deploying a private PKI makes more sense. However, you need to know that PKI offers cost-effective services to small scale businesses. Once your business starts growing, the complication of the PKI will increase. This will directly increase the cost of maintaining the PKI infrastructure.

However, today, most businesses take a hybrid approach. They go for the digital certificate and certificate automation for the major part of the businesses and deploys PKI for the less priority part of the business.

This might have given you the solution to handle all the situations effectively, but it has certainly made it difficult to keep tabs on every digital certificate.

This has made the enterprise use different kinds of practices to integrate PKI into their businesses.

Three Layer Design

In the past, whenever there was a development of the public key infrastructure, the development team used to sit with the architecture team and discuss the implementation of the layered design. However, today, these kinds of meetings are not necessary. The reason is that PKI has proved itself to perform in both the later architectures. The only factor that will determine the layer will be the need of the company.

Today, most of the public key infrastructures are followed by two layers designed. Developers built three layers only after a special recommendation of need.


Hardware Security Module (HSM)

Hardware Security Module, or commonly known as HSM, has been a part of hot debate. Businesses have always had a hard time determining whether or not to implement the HSM in the security model or not. HSM offers security to the certificate authorities and private keys.

Today, HSMs are becoming a norm in the industry and are used on a large scale to provide long term protection to the PKIs. When you are in the digital world, there is nothing certain. If a fraudulent activity has happened to the other company, then there is always a chance that it can happen to you as well.

Dispersed Accountability

In the early days, large enterprises used to have a dedicated team used to maintain the performance of the PKIs. But over time, that task has been handed down to the security team of the company. The reason is simple: security is knowledgeable about the security-based softwares and applications, but they can even use the PKI in other ways.


Public key infrastructure has been in the market for several years. However, it has seen some major changes over the last few years. This has given the businesses the possibility that PKI has yet to reach its full potential, and there are still lands to explore in the PKI domain.

This is what we think of the PKI. What are your thoughts on it? Share your suggestions and thoughts down below. We can assure you that your valuable suggestion will certainly bring value to other readers’ lives.