A new study has found that inadequate cryptographic controls significantly impact reliability and availability of critical services.

The study, released on Thursday by Venafi, a provider of protection for cryptographic keys and digital certificates, examined the scale, frequency and causes of certificate-related outages and determined that certificate-related outages negatively impact the reliability and availability of vital systems and services. In fact, the study found that 79 percent of businesses were affected by certificate-related outages.

”Certificates and keys are identity and access management for machines, just like user names and passwords are for humans,” Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, said in a statement. ”Certificates allow machines to communicate securely and that makes them an essential, but underappreciated, part of every organization’s digital ecosystem and our global digital economy.”

When certificates expire unexpectedly, he added, critical services can be impacted. “Unfortunately, most businesses do not have the visibility or tools necessary to manage this fundamental element of cybersecurity and operational availability effectively.”

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