The Internet of Things is playing an increasingly important role in influencing public key infrastructure planning and usage, according to a new report from the Ponemon Institute sponsored by cyber security vendor Thales eSecurity.

PKIs, which are used for authentication, digital signing, and encryption, are a core service supporting a variety of use cases and applications.

A majority of the 1,510 global IT and IT security practitioners surveyed (54 percent) think cloud-based services are the most important trend driving the deployment of applications using PKI. But 40 percent also cited the IoT, up sharply from past studies.

Larry Ponemon
Larry Ponemon

In the next two years, almost half of IoT devices (43 percent) will use digital certificates for authentication. Many of those surveyed expect PKI deployments supporting the IoT will be a combination of cloud-based and enterprise-based PKIs.
More than one third of respondents (36 percent) cite new applications such as the IoT as the fastest growing area of PKI evolution. Almost two thirds of organizations now report having a PKI and 36 percent use hardware security modules (HSMs) to protect their PKI.

"Last year, we underscored that it is hugely important PKIs be future proofed; and we still stand by that recommendation,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “Not only are PKIs a core enterprise asset, but they are playing an increasingly important role supporting certificate issuance needs for cloud applications and the IoT. Smart organizations have determined that successful IoT deployment rests on trust being established from the beginning, and they're leaning on their PKI as one component for building that trust."

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