Cryptographic agility and orchestration are increasingly becoming key components of an effective cybersecurity strategy in the face of the quantum threat. As quantum computing continues to advance, the ability to efficiently break current public-key cryptography algorithms becomes a pressing concern. This includes widely used algorithms such as RSA and ECC. To combat this vulnerability, there is a growing need for post-quantum cryptography (PQC) that can protect against quantum computing threats.
The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has been evaluating candidate algorithms for PQC standardization, and the results have highlighted the importance of cryptographic agility. The ability to easily change underlying cryptographic algorithms or implementations has become crucial in the face of novel attacks discovered during the evaluation process. Recent research has even demonstrated side-channel attacks on certain algorithms, further emphasizing the need for agility.
While PQC algorithms and implementations will undoubtedly evolve in the coming years, organizations cannot afford to wait to begin the migration to PQC. The threat of a breakthrough in quantum computing research is real, and organizations may find themselves vulnerable if they haven’t upgraded their cryptography infrastructure in time. This is where cryptographic orchestration comes into play.
Cryptographic orchestration refers to the ability to centrally manage and monitor cryptography usage throughout an enterprise. By adopting cryptographic orchestration, organizations can address security and compliance concerns at scale. It provides visibility into cryptography usage, making it easier to identify and upgrade vulnerable instances. Additionally, cryptographic orchestration allows organizations to take advantage of new implementations that are faster or more efficient.
The significance of agility in cryptography goes beyond just the migration to PQC. Cryptographic algorithms have a life cycle, and as new vulnerabilities or technologies emerge, the need to adapt becomes essential. Cryptographic orchestration not only facilitates migration but also lays the foundation for future-proof security. It provides a centralized system interface to track and manage cryptography throughout the entire algorithm life cycle.
Drawing parallels with software-defined networking (SDN), cryptographic orchestration operates similarly by abstracting away low-level details and providing an interface at the policy level. Just as SDN revolutionized network management, cryptographic orchestration simplifies the management of cryptographic protocols and algorithms. It eases the burden of meeting regulatory and compliance requirements, especially as the number of devices and applications in an organization increases.
The migration to PQC presents both challenges and opportunities for enterprise security. The ongoing standardization process requires agility in libraries, protocols, and applications to securely navigate away from vulnerable public-key algorithms. Furthermore, it serves as a reminder that cryptographic algorithms have a life cycle, and systems must be designed to adapt to new developments. Orchestrated and agile cryptography empowers organizations to achieve their security goals while remaining compliant and adaptable to future threats.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is cryptographic agility?
Cryptographic agility refers to the ability to easily change underlying cryptographic algorithms or implementations to respond to new vulnerabilities or advancements in technology. It allows organizations to adapt and upgrade their cryptography infrastructure without significant disruptions.
2. Why is cryptographic orchestration important?
Cryptographic orchestration provides a centralized system interface to track and manage cryptography usage throughout an organization. It offers visibility into cryptography usage, making it easier to identify vulnerabilities and upgrade instances. Additionally, it simplifies compliance and regulatory requirements, especially as the number of devices and applications increases.
3. Why is the migration to post-quantum cryptography necessary?
Quantum computing poses a significant threat to current public-key cryptography algorithms. A quantum computer of sufficient size could efficiently break these algorithms, compromising the security of sensitive information. Post-quantum cryptography is designed to protect against these threats and ensure secure communication in a quantum computing era.
4. How does cryptographic agility and orchestration future-proof security?
Cryptographic algorithms have a life cycle, and vulnerabilities or advancements can render them obsolete. By adopting cryptographic agility and orchestration, organizations can easily adapt to new developments, upgrade vulnerable instances, and stay ahead of emerging threats. It allows for secure and compliant operations in the face of evolving technologies.