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PKI as a Service: Revolutionizing Digital Security in Banking

The banking sector faces unique challenges in the digital age, as it must balance the need for innovation and customer convenience with the paramount importance of security and regulatory compliance.

Banks are prime targets for cybercriminals due to the sensitive nature of the data they handle and the financial assets they manage. In this context, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) emerges as a critical component of a bank’s digital security strategy. However, the advent of PKI as a Service (PKIaaS) challenges the traditional model of PKI deployment. This blog post explores the banking sector’s specific challenges and how PKIaaS can address these challenges while enabling secure digital transformation.

The Digital Challenges in the Banking Sector

The banking sector faces many challenges in the digital era. To ensure the long-term future of digitalization, it is vital to secure transactions and authenticate the parties involved. Against this backdrop, European legislation has defined digital trust services.

Qualified Trusted Service Providers (QTSPs) are not just important; they are crucial in guaranteeing the integrity and security of all our online interactions. A QTSP is audited and certified by the authorities of the EU Member States, ensuring their reliability and trustworthiness.

The banking sector faces a multitude of challenges in the digital era.

  • Cybersecurity Threats: Banks are prime targets for cyber attacks, including data breaches, phishing scams, and malware attacks.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Banks must comply with stringent regulations, such as PSD2, GDPR, NIS2, and PCI DSS, to ensure the security and privacy of customer data.
  • Legacy Infrastructure: Many banks rely on legacy systems that may need to be compatible with modern security solutions, making it challenging to implement robust security measures.
  • Customer Expectations: Customers demand seamless, secure, and convenient digital banking experiences, pressuring banks to innovate while maintaining security.
  • Efficiency: Faced with competition pressure, banks want to roll out digital offerings to conquer new markets at lower costs.

What is PKI?

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a framework that enables secure electronic transactions by providing a means to authenticate the identity of entities involved in the transaction and to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the data being exchanged. PKI uses a combination of public key cryptography, digital certificates, and certificate authorities (CAs) to create a trusted environment for secure communication and transactions.

In a PKI system, each entity (such as a user, device, or application) is assigned a pair of cryptographic keys: public and private. The public key is widely distributed and used to encrypt data sent to the entity, while the private key is kept secret and used to decrypt the data. Digital certificates issued by trusted CAs bind the public key to the entity’s identity, assuring that the public key belongs to the claimed entity.

Some key insights

The global public key infrastructure (PKI) market is expected to expand at ~ a 24% CAGR from 2023 to 2035. The market is anticipated to garner a revenue of USD 230 billion by the end of 2035, up from USD 5 billion in 2022. Public Key Infrastructure Market Revenue to Exceed USD 230 Billion by 2035.

Introduction to PKI as a Service

PKI as a Service (PKIaaS) is a cloud-based solution that offers the benefits of PKI without the complexity and costs associated with deploying and managing an in-house PKI infrastructure. PKIaaS providers manage the PKI components, such as CAs, certificate lifecycle management, and key management, on behalf of their customers, delivering PKI functionality as a service.

The Difference Between PKI and PKI as a Service

The main difference between traditional PKI and PKI as a Service lies in the deployment and management model:

  • Traditional PKI: In a traditional PKI setup, the organization is responsible for deploying, managing, and maintaining the entire PKI infrastructure in-house. This includes setting up CAs, managing certificate lifecycles, and ensuring the security of the PKI components. The organization bears the costs and complexity associated with running its own PKI.
  • PKI as a Service: With PKIaaS, a third-party service provider hosts and manages the PKI infrastructure. The organization subscribes to the PKIaaS offering and consumes PKI functionality. The PKIaaS provider takes care of the PKI components’ deployment, management, and security, relieving the organization of the associated burdens.

PKI as a Service (PKIaaS) offers the benefits of a dedicated PKI without the costs and complications of hosting and hardware. It can include the service provider’s QTSP status certificates.

The Challenges of Traditional PKI in Banking

Deploying and managing a traditional PKI in-house can be particularly challenging for banks:

  • High Costs: The initial setup and ongoing maintenance of an in-house PKI can be prohibitively expensive for banks, especially considering the need for redundancy and disaster recovery.
  • Complexity: Managing a PKI requires specialized knowledge and continuous monitoring to prevent security breaches, which can be difficult for banks to maintain in-house.
  • Scalability Issues: Traditional PKI solutions may struggle to adapt to the dynamic needs of growing banking operations and the increasing demand for digital services.

The Advantages of PKI as a Service for Banks

PKI as a Service offers a compelling alternative to traditional PKI by addressing many of the challenges faced by banks:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: PKIaaS reduces the upfront investment and operational costs associated with managing a PKI in-house, allowing banks to allocate resources more efficiently.
  • Enhanced Security: PKIaaS providers often implement state-of-the-art security measures and comply with international security standards, offering robust protection against cyber threats.
  • Modularity: Choose the right PKI services for your needs to secure your digital transactions
  • Continuity: A continuous monitoring service to ensure the highest level of availability (redundant architecture)
  • Serenity: Benefit from complete certificate lifecycle management: registration, issue, revocation, reactivation and renewal
  • Simplificty: Accelerate integration by using our API to automate workflows in your processes and applications

PKI as a Service for Digital Trust Services: A Catalyst for Digital Transformation in Banking

For banks undergoing digital transformation, PKIaaS emerges as a vital enabler:

  • Secure Digital Identities: PKIaaS provides a foundation for secure digital identities, enabling access to online banking services and protection against identity theft.
  • Compliance: With PKIaaS, banks can ensure their digital security practices comply with regulatory requirements, such as PSD2, GDPR, and PCI DSS. Benefit from BeYs’ eIDAS-certified QTSP status and the support of your teams for audits and certifications
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: PKIaaS contributes to building trust and improving the customer experience in digital banking by ensuring secure transactions and protecting customer data.

Implementing PKI as a Service: What Banks Need to Know

Adopting PKIaaS requires careful planning and consideration. Banks should evaluate their security needs, compliance requirements, and business objectives before selecting a PKIaaS provider. Key factors to consider are the provider’s security standards, scalability, customer support, and compatibility with existing IT infrastructure.

  • Provider Selection: Choose a PKIaaS provider with a proven track record in the banking sector, strong security credentials, and comprehensive customer support.
  • Integration: Ensure the PKIaaS solution seamlessly integrates with your existing banking systems and digital platforms.
  • Ongoing Management: Collaborate with your PKIaaS provider for continuous monitoring, certificate renewal, and compliance management.

With our PKI as a Service offering, take advantage of a comprehensive, modular solution to accelerate and secure your digital transformation.

The Benefits of Managed Services for PKI as a Service

While PKIaaS offers numerous advantages over traditional PKI, banks can further optimize their digital security by opting for managed services for PKIaaS. Managed PKIaaS services provide additional benefits, such as:

  • Expertise: Managed PKIaaS providers have deep knowledge of PKI and digital security, ensuring that banks receive the highest support and guidance in implementing and managing their PKIaaS solution.
  • Proactive Monitoring: Managed services include proactive monitoring and threat detection, enabling banks to identify and respond to potential security issues before they escalate into major incidents.
  • Compliance Support: Managed PKIaaS providers can assist banks in meeting regulatory requirements by providing guidance on best practices, conducting audits, and generating compliance reports.
  • Customization: Managed services can be tailored to each bank’s needs, ensuring that the PKIaaS solution aligns with the bank’s unique security requirements and business objectives.

By leveraging managed services for PKIaaS, banks can further streamline their digital security operations, reduce the burden on internal IT teams, and ensure a robust and compliant PKI implementation.

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