Demystifying SSL Certificates: Common Problems and How to Fix Them

Blog News November 17, 2023

In the fast-paced realm of cyber security, SSL certificates stand as guardians of secure online communication. However, despite their critical role, many companies find themselves entangled in a web of mismanagement when it comes to SSL certificates. In this article, we’ll unravel the chaos and shed light on the common pitfalls that companies often encounter in the management of their SSL certificates.

  1. Lack of Inventory Awareness:

    One of the first missteps companies make is operating without a comprehensive inventory of their SSL certificates. In the absence of a clear record, organizations struggle to keep track of the number of certificates in use, leading to oversights, expired certificates, and potential security vulnerabilities.

  2. Manual Tracking and Renewal:

    Relying on manual processes for tracking and renewing SSL certificates is a recipe for disaster. Most of companies even still use Microsoft Excel to list all of certificates manually. Human error, forgetfulness, and delays often result in certificates expiring unexpectedly, disrupting online services and eroding user trust. Automated solutions are available, but some companies neglect to implement them, contributing to the chaos.

  3. Decentralized Management:

    The decentralized management of SSL certificates across various departments or teams can create a chaotic situation. Different protocols, expiration dates, and renewal practices may be followed, making it challenging to maintain a standardized and secure SSL infrastructure.

  4. Ignoring Certificate Lifecycles:

    Overlooking the lifecycle of SSL certificates is a common oversight. Companies may forget to monitor the issuance and expiration dates, leading to situations where certificates expire without timely renewal. This lapse not only disrupts online services but can also expose sensitive data to potential security threats.

  5. Failure to Implement Regular Audits:

    Regular audits are essential for identifying and rectifying issues in SSL certificate management. Unfortunately, some companies neglect this crucial step, leaving their SSL infrastructure susceptible to vulnerabilities that could have been mitigated with timely action.

  6. Insufficient Security Protocols:

    Failure to implement and update security protocols in line with industry standards can leave a company’s SSL certificates exposed. Outdated encryption algorithms and weak security configurations create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors.

  7. Lack of Employee Training:

    Human error remains a significant contributor to SSL certificate mismanagement. Without proper training and awareness programs, employees may inadvertently mishandle certificates, compromise security, or neglect renewal processes.

How to Fix Them

To eliminate your risk of outages, you need to be able to discover, track and continuously monitor all of your certificates in real time across your entire enterprise network, including those used in the cloud and in virtual and DevOps environments. In complex, rapidly changing networks, this is a tall order. So, how do you start to address the problem? Here are five steps Venafi recommends you take to eliminate outages in your organization:

  1. Discover all certificates.

    Choose a discovery tool that allows you to look across your entire extended network—including cloud and virtual instances and various CA implementations. This will help you locate every certificate that can impact the reliability and availability of your organization’s critical infrastructure.

  2. Create a complete inventory

    Catalog yourentire inventory of certificates and store it in a centralized repository where you can track and manage the status and details of all certificates. This makes it easy to rotate your certificates before they expire.

  3. Verify security compliance

    Invest in a solution that will ensure all certificates have the proper owners, attributes and configurations no matter which CA issues them. This will guarantee all certificates meet key security regulations.

  4. Continuously monitor certificates

    Conduct nonstop surveillance of all certificates so that you’ll know well in advance if a certificate is going to expire, giving you ample time to replace it. This approach also helps detect and prevent certificate fraud and misuse, addressing critical security concerns.

  5. Automate renewals

    Eliminate the risk of human error by automating certificate renewals, so you can install, configure and validate certificates in seconds. You’ll not only improve availability, but you’ll be able to do it in a fraction of the staff hours previously required.


PT Dymar Jaya Indonesia, Venafi’s authorized partner in Indonesia delivers visibility, intelligence and automation to manage TLS certificates and digital keys. Venafi is the only solution that provides complete and continuous visibility and monitoring of machine identities across highly segmented and complex networks, including public and private clouds, combined with automated, intelligence-driven actions that securely scale encryption, remove error-prone manual installation and remediate vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Main features of Venafi TLS Protect:

  1. Global Visibility

    TLS Protect automates enterprisewide discovery of machine identities, providing a complete and accurate inventory. This discovery includes the configuration, location and use of certificates across the extended global enterprise including those on premises, in virtual or cloud environments and even IoT.

  2. Policy Enforcement

    TLS Protect collects detailed machine identity intelligence that enables organizations to apply management and security policies to avoid outages and identify security blind spots. The intelligence is gathered through continuous monitoring and includes use, location, ownership, pending expirations, key lengths, signing algorithms, protocols, ciphers and other attributes.

  3. Streamlined Enrollment

    TLS Protect supports any CA, including out-of-the-box integrations with leading CAs. It also offers an extensive technology partner ecosystem, with integrations ranging from the world’s leading providers of security solutions to the hottest DevOps technologies. Leaders everywhere have joined Venafi to create more than 1,000 technology integrations that automatically coordinate access to machine identities.

  4. Automated Installation, Configuration and Validation

    TLS Protect provides automated certificate installation with integrations across hundreds of applications, devices, services and CAs. This includes out-of-the-box integrations with load balancers, web applications and network traffic inspection devices. TLS Protect can also integrate automated certificate installation with any system that allows APIs using custom scripts.

    Every day, Venafi uses each network device’s API to confirm that certificates are still correctly installed, ensuring that out-of-band misconfigurations are detected after installation.

  5. Fast Remediation

    TLS Protect goes beyond identifying policy violations and enables organizations to apply automated policy enforcement. In addition, organizations can identify keys and certificates that have been impacted by security events, such as CA compromises, vulnerabilities or other errors. With the impacted keys and certificates identified, they can then be automatically replaced, drastically improving crypto-agility and closing the window of exposure.


In the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity, the mismanagement of SSL certificates can lead to a myriad of problems, from service disruptions to compromised user data. Companies must recognize the importance of robust SSL certificate management practices, including discovery, automation, centralized oversight, and regular audits. By addressing these common pitfalls, organizations can navigate the complexities of SSL certificate management more effectively, ensuring a secure and reliable online presence.


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