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AutoCert Automates Certificate Renewal

AutoCert Automates Certificate Renewal
September 18, 2003

AutoCert Server from IMCentric is an appliance aimed at automating most steps surrounding renewal of digital Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates that today can be a laborious and time-consuming process.

"We researched hundreds of failures in the PKI marketplace to try and understand why they were happening," says Russ Thornton, CEO and founder of the security automation products start-up, which was founded in October 2002. "We found a series of complex, human error-ridden manual processes were required, so we saw a great opportunity to automate that with one step."

The research showed that renewal of a single SSL certificate required 40 steps and 500 keystrokes. One large financial institution whose required certificates expired concluded that it cost the firm $1 million an hour.

Features of AutoCert Server include: automatic renewal of SSL certificates; posting of certificate enrollment requests, allowing approval of multiple request at one time; installation of the certificates and verification of correct operation; multi-platform support, including Microsoft, Sun, Cisco and Apache server software; multi-certificate authority (CA) support; and an auto discovery tool that automatically pulls IP address, open ports and server name from SSL servers on the network, and automatically populates the database.

The functionality allow certificate renewal to be centrally managed, a requirement that many voiced to IMCentric as it was defining its product. The company's research also found that a company with 5,000 certificates needed a staff of 15 to manage them. With AutoCert Server, one person can manage up to 100,000 certificates, the company says.

Support for multiple CAs allows customers to quickly switch out of their CA if so desired.

"This allows you to switch on a dime, thus making digital certificates a commodity," Thornton says.

AutoCert Servers is priced from $6,000 to $8,000, and certificates are price at $50 to $100 each with volume discounts. A configuration of 1,000 certificates would cost $75,000 plus the cost of the appliance.

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