03-17-2021

What to Automate and What Not to Automate

There is increasing need to automate digital security, specifically certificate management because it can save time and money, and generally make your job easier. Additionally, Gartner estimates that with Gen Z digital natives currently entering the workforce, there will be even more emphasis on automation in coming years. However, that doesn’t mean that you should automate everything. Certain tasks should be left to humans.

Here is a list of what you should and should not automate, especially when it comes to your digital security.

What to automate

It makes most sense to automate tasks that are repetitive and require significant human management. Additionally, automate tasks that are time-sensitive so that if you take a leave of absence or vacation, they still get done. Here are a few examples of what tasks to automate in general, and what specific certificate management tasks can be automated.

In general, you should automate tasks like the following:

  • repetitive, manual tasks
  • things with high volume
  • processes prone to human error
  • tasks that require several people
  • time-sensitive tasks
  • audit-sensitive processes
  • updates

When it comes to your digital certificates, here are the certificate management tasks you can automate.

Request or renewal

Renewing or requesting new certificates can be a tedious process, but with auto-renew you can save time and stress. You can set up auto-renew in the CertCentral console and then sit back while renewals take care of themselves.

Validation & approval

Digital certificate validation is the process of verifying a domain, organization and/or individual. Your organization can submit information for pre-validation to make the process quicker. Here is how to automate certificate renewals. Once you submit your information and it is approved, all future certificate issuance and renewals can be done almost immediately.

Alerts

You can automate alerts for certain events, to keep you posted on the important aspects of certificate management. DigiCert CertCentral® allows you to customize your alerts so you only get notified when you choose to.

Visibility & reports

It should be easy to find any potential risks or vulnerabilities in your network, and as you discover issues you should automate renewal and installation to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. DigiCert CertCentral’s discovery provides visibility into an organization’s entire certificate landscape, including certificates from third-party CAs, for active management, and it also enables automated renewal and installation.

Revocation

DigiCert takes our commitment to make the internet a safe space seriously, and any certificate problem reports are addressed swiftly to ensure certificate integrity. DigiCert offers an automatic revocation solution for certificate problem reporting. The tool allows anyone to submit a problem report and automatically reviews evidence to determine if certificate revocation is needed. If so, the solution automatically schedules revocation for all impacted certificates.

Integration with other platforms

Integrating your certificate management into one system can simplify your workflow and make it easier to find the information you need through ACME URLs and APIs. Any ACME-support client can automate certificate management essential tasks from DigiCert CertCentral.

Using APIs via the REST protocol, you can easily integrate certificate automation into your existing systems. Simply add any of the features from CertCentral directly into the system of your choosing. For example, you could integrate certificate ordering into your web development platform, embed certificate lifecycle management into your helpdesk infrastructure, and/or add automatic certificate renewal to your apps or products.

Finally, DigiCert has pre-configured sensors available through its platforms for direct integration to multiple providers. This common sensor interface is designed for flexibility, allowing automation on load balancers and other systems.

Code signing

Automated code signing helps ensure that your development processes move quickly, even with a smaller staff. Using a code signing manager, you can automate code signing with built-in API integration and pre-plan and approve signature windows for secure releases and updates. DigiCert Secure Software Manager automates and manages PKI security across CI/CD pipelines with automated signing of packages, binaries and containers at every merge to master when authorized, driving integrity and trust in products and infrastructure.

What not to automate

In the age of digital transformation, it can be tempting to automate everything. However, there are certain tasks you should not automation.

Everything

Do not automate everything! There are certain tasks that still require human intervention. If a task requires key decision making, and will vary depending on different factors, it’s best not to automate.

Customer support

Customer support is one key task not to automate. Your customers can tell the difference between automated phone calls and automated responses and genuine customer support. At DigiCert, customer support is extremely important to us. Our award-winning support staff is available 24/7, 365 days a year to answer questions. No matter how much we emphasize automation, we will continue to offer five-star customer support with real humans.

Low ROI tasks

Do not automate tasks that have a low Return on Investment (ROI) because it’s just not worth it. Generally, if tasks have a high volume at scale, are repeatable and valuable they should be automated. However, if tasks are low-volume, one-time projects then they will not have as much value if automated.

Highly complex processes

Certain processes are too complex to automate and would be too complicated to automate. Anything that needs to pass through multiple approval levels and decision-making would not be more efficient to automate.

DigiCert automation tools

DigiCert offers a unified platform that lets you automate and manage your digital certificates and for complete control and efficiency over your certificate management activities. CertCentral automates key management tasks — such as ordering, renewing, monitoring, inspecting, reissuing and revoking certificates. DigiCert automation tools have zero extra cost to implement and can save you time and money. With DigiCert automation, you have complete control to configure and schedule automation activities. DigiCert is dedicated to providing innovative automation tools that can simplify your security processes, make your organization more agile and increase web security.

Stay tuned to our blog or follow @digicert to get updates as we release more information on our automation vision. Visit digicert.com/solutions/security-solutions-for-automation to learn about DigiCert’s current automation solutions.

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