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Blog June 22, 2022 PKI

Learn How the Third Largest Electric Utility Company in the U.S is Using PKI Spotlight to Prevent Network Outages

by Mark B Cooper

One of the key lessons that I’ve learned from working in the public key infrastructure (PKI) and cybersecurity space for more than 20 years is that we all have the same problems. What I mean by that is that most organizations share the same challenges when it comes to cybersecurity in general and PKI in specific. Our team at PKI Solutions has worked with the third largest electric utility in the U.S. and their customer case study is similar to some of the scenarios where we’ve been called in to help other organizations with their PKI environments. I’m going to share the highlights of this anonymous company’s cybersecurity challenges because it might be helpful to you. Maybe you’ve encountered a similar scenario at your organization.

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This large utility company (let’s call it Company X), with operations spanning several states, called PKI Solutions to ask for our help to update their organization’s PKI environments and to implement PKI Spotlight, our new PKI monitoring and alerting solution.

Since Company X is operating in a highly regulated industry, its IT team needed to ensure that they maintain secure and highly available PKI environments across their organization’s widespread network of identity and encryption systems. This organization’s PKI is mission-critical to their operations and an outage can be disastrous. Unfortunately, the organization had a network outage that impacted its network cluster. The IT team discovered several system configuration issues which led to the network outage.

Company X’s senior IT security analyst told us that his organization’s PKI suffered a series of unfortunate events that ultimately led to the outage. Following the highly visible outage, he said, “People don’t realize just how deeply engrained the PKI technology is or how much the business relies on it until it’s not available and there is an outage. It was a not a good situation. There was a network outage late one night and there was no way to monitor the thing. So, on Monday morning, not only were we getting alarms that we had lost connectivity to a lot of substations and employees couldn’t get connected via our VPN. Since approximately 50% of our workforce at that time was working remote due to the impact of COVID-19, it was an unfortunate situation.”

Our first assignment was to provide consulting services to help Company X recover from their network outage and ensure that the organization’s PKI was secure and available. One of the key lessons learned by Company X though all levels of management is that PKI is an important foundational and cornerstone technology for all companies.

After seeing a demo of PKI Spotlight, Company X decided to join our Early Access Program for customers and implement the product ASAP so they would have a robust monitoring and alerting system for their PKI environments. Specifically, PKI Spotlight is now helping introduce additional resiliency to the organization’s identity and encryption infrastructure and stay ahead of situations that can cause issues with their business. PKI Spotlight provides a centralized view of status, configurations, and events. Now with notifications and alerts, all of the organization’s stakeholders that are dependent on the PKI will have visibility into the operational status.

In an effort to increase security, the organization has limited the ability for admins and analysts to log into certain key infrastructure components. The new administrative controls are a critical part of the overall security protocol, but slow the log-in process. Fortunately, having information from all of those individual components presented in PKI Spotlight’s centralized dashboard without users needing to log into each individual component in the PKI environment. In the past, it would take IT team members about 15 minutes to log into each box and with approximately 10 components that adds up to more than an hour spent logging into all of those components. Thanks to PKI Spotlight’s centralized dashboard, it is a huge timesaver for users. The alerting features also allow users to receive alerts to potential problems and quickly take corrective action.

You can read more about this customer case study here. Also, if you request a demo of PKI Spotlight by Thursday, June 30, you can get special promotional pricing on PKI Spotlight. Please request a demo at pkispotlight.com.

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Mark B Cooper

President & Founder at PKI Solutions, Leading PKI Cybersecurity Subject Matter Expert, Author, Speaker, Trainer, Microsoft Certified Master.

View All Posts by Mark B Cooper


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