The Impacts of Unsecured Digital Identities

Research shows that 87% of IT and cybersecurity professionals report having experienced at least one significant outage within the previous two years due to expired certificates. That’s why it’s crucial that you properly manage your digital identities. After all, secure data is key to running a successful organization and earning your customers’ trust. Failure to do so can negatively impact your business. Let’s take a look at a Keyfactor-Ponemon study to find out just how.

The Impact of Unsecured Digital Identities Study

The study was sponsored by Keyfactor and conducted by the Ponemon Institute. Dubbed “The Impact of Unsecured Digital Identities Study,” it includes 603 IT and information security professionals in the United States and Canada. The duration of the study wasn’t disclosed.

Key Findings

  • 55% of the respondents cited an average of four unplanned outages due to certificate expiration in the past two years.
  • 65% of respondents said they’re adding more layers of encryption technologies in order to be in compliance with regulations and policies.
  • 74% of the respondents said they don’t know how many keys and certificates they have.
  • 38% of the respondents said their organizations have enough IT security staff members dedicated to their public key infrastructure (PKI) deployment.

So what do all these numbers mean? Let’s look at a few interpretations of these and other findings of the report.

The Consequences of Unsecured Digital Identities

Unsecured digital identities are not something brands should take lightly. The consequences are dire, as the statistics below show:

  • Respondents who experienced four outages in the past two years said the outages cost them, on average, $11.1M.
  • 76% of respondents said unsecured digital identities lead to a loss of trust. This, in turn, causes the brand to lose business. It also compromises relationships with business partners.
  • The unanticipated downtime or outages caused by digital certificates are costing organizations productivity loss, including that of the IT security team.
  • Poorly managed keys leave organizations vulnerable to threats. 59% of respondents cite seeing an increase in the misuse of keys and certificates by cybercriminals.

Challenges of Securing Digital Identities

Why do organizations struggle with securing digital identities? According to the Impact of Unsecured Digital Identities Study, here are some of the main reasons:

  • Lack of clear ownership of PKIs
  • Lack of adequate staff to manage digital identities
  • Increasing number of digital certificates and keys, mainly due to the fast adoption of enterprise IoT
  • Difficulty balancing compliance with user experience

Securing digital identities is complicated due to the factors mentioned above, and the complexities can only be expected to increase as organizations will need to add more layers of security as they adopt new technologies.

The Importance of Key and Certificate Management


The management of keys and certificates plays a vital role in cybersecurity, as they are pivotal in safeguarding identities online. For example, a mismanaged digital certificate could result in a customer’s data being leaked and accessed by malicious agents. Also, a compromised key can be used by cybercriminals to access your system and take it over.

Since most transactions are now taking place online, you must manage your keys and certificates properly. With work from home (WFH) becoming more common, many businesses will need to invest in portable data protection solutions for employees who work with sensitive data.

How Ciphertex® Can Help Secure Digital Identities

Need help securing your digital identities as well as those of your business partners and customers? Ciphertex® is your trusted partner in data protection, thanks to our secure data security solutions. Give us a call at 818-773-8989. Our data encryption software and data security solutions ensure that your digital identities are always protected.


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