Biju Vasudevan

PKI - Public Key Infrastructure

Blog Post created by Biju Vasudevan Employee on Jul 17, 2016

A public key infrastructure (PKI) is a set of hardware, software, people, policies, and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption. The purpose of a PKI is to facilitate the secure electronic transfer of information. It is required for activities where simple passwords are an inadequate authentication method and more rigorous proof is required to confirm the identity of the parties involved in the communication and to validate the information being transferred.

That is the broader definition of PKI, in SA webserver what it means is to securely authenticate the user using his/her Digital Certificate and establish a secure channel between the user's browser and SA webserver. At the moment SA webserver supports below Authentication/Authorization schemes, PKI is the 4th authentication/authorization scheme.

  1. Username/Password against internal database
  2. Active Directory
  3. PAM


  • Trusted CA certificates
  • User certificate (issued by CA)


When a user connects to SA Server, SA tells browser to provide a certificate to authenticate. Browser then reads the list of trusted entities and prompt user to select one of the applicable certificate that can be used.

  • SA Server then
    • Reads the certificate information
    • Extracts the user information from the certificate
    • Lookup the user in AD
    • Logs the user in
    • No user password required

Under Administration >Security > Settings you can configure it.




Let us know what you think and how it works for you!


More information can be found on RSA Security Analytics Documentation under Security Analytics 10.5 > System Security and User Management > Set Up Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Authentication > Overview