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Expiring SSL/TLS Certs: The Critical Security Risk You May Be Overlooking

SSL/TLS certificates are essential for securing internal/external-facing websites and corporate systems, along with protecting user data. By encrypting communication between websites and users’ browsers, they secure sensitive data from prying eyes, such as credit card numbers, corporate data, and passwords. But like most things, certificates eventually expire. An untracked cert can leave your site vulnerable at the worst time.

To ensure that your websites and systems are always secure, it is important to keep an inventory of all your SSL/TLS certificates. The following attributes should be tracked:

  • The name of the certificate
  • The owner/responsible party of the certificate
  • The domain name that the certificate is for
  • The expiration date of the certificate
  • The type of certificate (e.g., Domain Validated, Organization Validated, Extended Validation)
  • The issuer of the certificate

Armed with this data, you can:

  • Avoid certificate expiration surprises - your website may display warnings or become unavailable when the certificate lapses. Maintaining a certificate inventory allows you to spot upcoming expirations. You can then renew certificates proactively before outages occur.
  • Detect and resolve certificate errors - if there is a problem with one of your certificates, such as a misconfiguration or a domain name change, you will be able to quickly identify the problem and take corrective action.
  • Increase compliance - many industries, such as healthcare and finance, have strict regulations that require websites or other systems to use secure certificates. By having an inventory of your certificates, you can easily demonstrate that you are compliant with these regulations.


Take charge of your certificates

ServiceNow's Certificate Inventory and Management solution helps manage SSL/TLS certificates in two key ways: 1) Discovering where certificates are deployed using ServiceNow Discovery, and 2) Collecting an inventory of issued certificates from your Certificate Authority. With the power of the platform's workflow capabilities, this solution streamlines key certificate processes including:

  • Requesting new certificates
  • Renewing existing certificates
  • Revoking certificates when needed

Furthermore, it reconciles issued versus deployed certificates from your CA. This enables cost savings by identifying unused certificates that don't require renewal. Additional benefits include:

  • Improved customer trust - when users see the padlock icon in their browser address bar, they know that the website is secure and that their data is protected.
  • Reduced risk of data breaches - by encrypting all communication between systems or a website and a user's browser, SSL/TLS certificates can help to reduce the risk of data breaches. This is especially important for websites that handle sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and passwords.
  • Improved website performance - SSL/TLS certificates can improve website performance by reducing the need to re-encrypt data each time a user visits the website.
  • Enhanced operational awareness - leveraging the NOW Platform, workflows for Certificate request fulfillment and Certificate Renewal tasks bring clarity to Security Operations with familiar reporting and dashboarding capabilities.

Don’t leave your site’s security to chance. With a comprehensive certificate inventory and ServiceNow as your guide, you can boost compliance, trust, and performance while reducing risk. Thirdera has unlocked these benefits for leading global brands. Discover how we can help your certificate strategy deliver more value.


Nate Aiken

Designer and implementer of innovative customer focused service management solutions that improve operational efficiency with industry best practice processes and leading technology solutions.