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DigiCert 2021 State of PKI Automation Survey Finds APAC Companies Are Struggling with Reliance on Manual Processes Amid Growing Volume of Digital Certificates 
October 4, 2021 News


DigiCert, Inc., the world’s leading provider of TLS/SSL, IoT and other PKI solutions, has released its 2021 State of PKI Automation survey, which shows that the typical enterprise in Asia Pacific (APAC) now manages over 40,000 publicly and privately trusted PKI certificates. Manually managing this volume of certificates can lead to costly outages if not handled correctly, as evidenced by the finding that two-thirds have experienced outages caused by certificates expiring unexpectedly. More than one-third (35%) of those surveyed have experienced five to six such outages in the past six months alone, as compared to the 25% global average. Due to these issues and others, there is strong interest in adopting PKI automation.

Leading organisations are 10 times more likely to have already implemented automation. They are meeting PKI SLAs and doing a better job at self-reporting deficiencies.

APAC is the region with more enterprises having trouble managing the workload, with 65% of the respondents admitting that they are concerned about how much time is spent managing certificates. They also lack visibility. Additionally, 35% of enterprises use more than three departments to manage certificates, leading to confusion. The typical enterprise says as many as 1,000 of the certificates are actually unmanaged, and nearly half (48%) say they frequently discover so-called “rogue” certificates (certificates that were implemented without IT’s knowledge or management), the highest occurrence among other regions surveyed.

“The volume of certificates has grown dramatically”, said Brian Trzupek, SVP of Product at DigiCert. “Further, validity periods for public TLS certificates have dropped from three years to one year since 2018. As a result, enterprises are finding it increasingly difficult to manually manage digital certificate workflows. They are looking for certificate automation, but need reassurance on how to do it and an understanding of the long-term costs and security benefits”.

“Manual processes aren’t an effective way to manage a large number of certificates. Something can always go wrong. Automating the management of PKI certificates is the obvious answer”, said Mike Mallos, Infrastructure Services Manager at Qantas. “It helps us improve security and compliance, become more agile and increase our productivity”.

Most enterprises are considering PKI automation, with 86% at least discussing it. Only 10% are at the stage where they are already implementing or maybe even finished implementing a solution, while 12% say they are not discussing it and have no plans to do so. Most (70%) expect to implement a solution within 12 months.

Not All Enterprises Are the Same

The survey included a series of questions to determine how well (or poorly) each respondent was doing across a wide range of PKI metrics. After the scores were totaled, the respondents were split into three groups:

  • Leaders: Organisations that are doing the very best
  • Laggards: Organisations that are doing the worst
  • Middle: Organisations that are doing okay

The Leaders and Laggards were then compared to examine the differences and explore what the Leaders were doing better.

Leaders are performing two to three times better than Laggards in every area, including minimising PKI security risks, avoiding PKI downtime and meeting PKI-related SLAs. Laggards are seeing a wide range of PKI-related penalties, including lost productivity, compliance issues, loss of customers and even lost revenue.

Lessons from PKI Leaders

PKI Leaders are more likely to say PKI automation is important to their organisation’s future. Further, PKI Leaders are twice as concerned about the time it takes to manage PKI certificates. Learn more in the report about what Leaders are doing and the difference it’s making in their business.


DigiCert recommends that companies begin to address automation of their certificate management processes, including their business workflows, to ensure they continue to adhere to best practices in PKI deployments. This includes the following:


  • Identify and create an inventory of the entire certificate landscape, from TLS to code signing, client certificates and more.
  • Remediate keys and certificates that are not compliant with corporate policy.
  • Protect with best practices for issuance and revocation. Standardise and automate enrollment, issuance and renewal.

Certificate Workflows: Address unmanaged or manual certificate workflows, such as code signing, document signing, email certificates or other identity and access solutions, with software that centralises visibility and control and automates workflows.

The survey was conducted by ReRez Research of IT professionals within 400 enterprise organizations of 1,000 or more employees in North America, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more information and to get the full report, visit