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Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP), as the name suggests, issues certificates to standard network devices in the simplest way possible. Typically, distributing certificates to managed devices requires multiple steps. The process includes integrating a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), then establishing gateways, configuring policies, enrolling certificates, authorizing devices, and so on. However, with Foxpass’s SCEP endpoint, you can reduce the hassle and make certificate enrollment an effortless deal. 

What exactly is SCEP?

Normally, issuing PKI certificates requires exchanging information with a trusted Certificate Authority (CA). The CA makes sure that the identity and the domain name in the PKI certificate is the legitimate network device that’s requesting information. But with SCEP, you can get effortless communication with the PKI using a shared secret and a URL.

SCEP is a long-established, viable protocol that can allow IT,  administrators, to configure and execute certificate issuance in a simple manner. 

What are the components involved in SCEP?

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SCEP Gateway API URL

A gateway API URL instructs a network device on how to communicate with the API.

SCEP Shared Secret

The SCEP shared secret consists of a case-sensitive password exchanged between the SCEP server and Certificate Authority (CA).

How does the SCEP enrollment process work?

The major steps involved in the SCEP enrollment process are:

  1. Add a SCEP URL.
  2. Add the SCEP Shared Secret.
  3. Add the SCEP Signing Certificate.
  4. Create and distribute a configuration file to your network nodes. 
  • Network nodes use configuration files to auto-enroll for certificates.
  • Configuration files can contain profiles that include parameters such as the certificate’s validity period, the name of the SCEP configuration, the key size, the number of failed attempts allowed, the interval of retries allowed, etc.
  • You can also specify which devices can receive the certificates.

Once authentication is done, enrollment becomes successful once authentication is done. A signed certificate is issued to the network node after authentication.

You can refer to Foxpass’s SCEP Configuration process for the detailed process of using SCEP protocol for certificate issuance on RADIUS servers.

What are the use cases of SCEP?

SCEP can simplify the process of issuing certificates for several networking systems. The use cases of SCEP are listed below:

  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems use SCEP to issue PKI certificates to the huge number of growing mobile devices and smartphones in their network. Issuing a certificate to each mobile or smartphone with the normal PKI certification process can be time-consuming. SCEP provides a viable alternative, thus reducing the workload of network managers.
  • Router-based systems use SCEP to issue certificates to the growing number of devices that connect to it.
  • Load balancers, Wi-Fi® hubs, VPN devices, and Firewalls issue certificates through SCEP to the network nodes connected to the wider network.
  • SCEP also uses RADIUS authentication to issue a trusted certificate to all the devices that communicate with the RADIUS servers. 

What are the benefits of using SCEP?

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PKIs offer the most robust authentication mechanisms for digital identification. Yet, the process gets complex when the scale of the network devices and the network they’re connected to grows. In this situation, manually setting up and managing the PKI certificates becomes a time-consuming job that not only reduces productivity but also becomes prone to errors that need constant corrections. 

It can easily take hours to issue, implement, and configure the certificate on a device. Yet if manual errors are made, the entire network may be subject to future attacks. Enterprises also tend to forget about the certificate's expiration date. This results in system downtime because of the delay in issuing certificates and allowing network devices to connect to the network again. 

Hence, the manual certificate issuance process is not just cumbersome but can also have security-related implications. SCEP provides the following benefits to organizations:

  • Hassle-free certificate issuance.
  • Correct issuance and configuration of certificates on many devices.
  • Automated process of certificate issuance that requires little to no manual intervention.
  • A time-saving protocol that reduces operation costs and indirectly improves productivity by allowing IT administrators to focus on other tasks at hand.
  • SCEP supports most device and server operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS, macOS, Linux, and directory systems like Active Directory, making it a versatile solution for all your network management needs.

SCEP: How can Foxpass help?

You can experience all the benefits of SCEP through Foxpass’s SCEP endpoints through your Apple or Windows devices.

Foxpass's SCEP endpoint allows you to perform PKI-related operations effortlessly. For ease, we issue the certificates with a 5-year validity period compared to the hassle of a yearly renewal. If you have Foxpass’s RADIUS server infrastructure, you can use SCEP with it. Both RADIUS and SCEP together keeps you safe from attacks, as it lets you reject unwanted authorization attempts to your network. 

You can also view the issued certificates by their serial information, issue, status, and expiry date from the Foxpass console. And if you believe that unnecessary activities are taking place while the network node’s certificate is in place, you can easily revoke the certificate.  

Ease your security woes with Foxpass’s well-rounded security solution. Book a demo and check out Foxpass in action today!