Certificate Lifecycle Management Reading Time: 9 minutes

Google’s 90-Day Certificates: Quick and Effective Transition to 90-Day TLS/SSL Certificates

The validity period of Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates has long been a topic of interest among cybersecurity professionals. Google’s recent proposal to limit the validity of TLS certificates to 90 days has generated discussion regarding the benefits and drawbacks of such a change.

The current industry standard is generally a one-to two-year validity span, or 398 days. However, this extended validity period can leave organizations vulnerable to outdated encryption techniques and undiscovered breaches. In this article, we will try to dive deep into how to tackle shorter validity certificates and what shorter validity certificate management demands from organizations.

By reducing the validity period of TLS certificates, Google aims to promote enhanced security and encourage more frequent certificate renewals.

The proposed change would require organizations to renew their certificates more frequently, thereby ensuring that they stay up to date with the latest security measures. This would also reduce the window of vulnerability, making it more difficult for attackers to exploit undiscovered vulnerabilities.

While Google’s proposal has been met with some resistance, many experts agree that increasing the frequency of certificate renewals is a positive step towards better cybersecurity practices. By implementing this change, organizations can reduce their risk of exposure to cyberattacks and ensure that they are always using the latest security measures.

How Could Google’s Proposed Change Impact Your Organization?

Google’s proposal to reduce the validity of TLS certificates to 90 days carries significant implications for organizations reliant on manual certificate management processes. Manual certificate management already poses various challenges, and this proposed change further amplifies the difficulties organizations face.

With the shortened validity period, organizations will need to renew their certificates more frequently, potentially exacerbating the complexities and risks linked with manual management. The shorter validity window burdens IT teams, who must diligently track expiration dates, initiate renewal processes, and ensure the timely deployment of updated certificates across various domains, subdomains, and servers.

Manual certificate management typically includes tedious tasks like tracking expiration dates through spreadsheets, manually installing and configuring certificates, and ensuring compliance requirements are met. These manual processes are prone to errors, consume significant time, and may result in problems such as expired certificates, misconfigurations, and compliance breaches.

Furthermore, the proposed change requires increased attention to security updates and patches. Organizations must remain vigilant in staying abreast of the latest security vulnerabilities and encryption algorithms to ensure their certificates adhere to evolving best practices.

Neglecting to keep pace with these updates may expose organizations to potential compromises and exploitation of outdated encryption standards.

Given Google’s proposal, organizations dependent on manual certificate management processes will encounter heightened pressure to modify their workflows and embrace automated certificate lifecycle management solutions.

What will be the advantages of shorter validity TLS/SSL Certificates?

  • Enhanced Security

    In the event of a compromise, a shorter validity certificate period shrinks the window of vulnerability. Because a compromised certificate expires sooner and requires regular renewals and cryptographic key refreshes, the impact is minimized even in cases when the certificate is compromised.

  • Enhanced Conformance

    Short validity certifications motivate companies to adhere to industry norms and laws. Frequent certificate updates guarantee that security protocols are current and efficiently satisfy regulatory requirements.

  • Adaptability and Agility

    Short validity certificates facilitate adaptability in the face of changing cryptographic standards and security risks. Without being locked into long-term certificate commitments, organizations can quickly implement new security measures and encryption technique

  • Decreased Risk of usage

    Unauthorized certificate usage is less likely with short validity certificates. Because certificates expire more quickly, there is a reduced chance that they will be used maliciously, improving overall security posture.

  • Effective Key Management

    Short validity certificates make key management procedures more effective. Organizations can rotate cryptographic keys more frequently with more frequent renewals, lessening the impact of possible key compromises and improving overall cryptographic security.

  • Simplified Certificate Lifecycle Management

    Short-validity certificates make the process of managing certificates easier. To minimize administrative costs and guarantee more seamless certificate operations, organizations can optimize the procedures for certificate issuance, renewal, and revocation.

  • Enhanced Assurance and Trust

    Users’ Assurance and Trust can be bolstered with short validity certificates. Frequent certificate updates show proactive steps to safeguard sensitive data and indicate a commitment to security.

How to deal with short validity Certificates?

The answer is simple. Certificate Automation is the key! Although a shorter certificate validity period presents notable benefits, it also carries drawbacks that, if not managed effectively, can lead to adverse consequences. Waiting until the last moment to renew a certificate and failing to meet the deadline can result in severe repercussions.

An expired certificate can cause numerous issues that harm the organization :

  • Data Breaches

    The expiration of SSL Certificates renders a site vulnerable to external attacks, as the secure connection is terminated upon certificate expiry. Once breached, attackers can access sensitive information like credit card details transmitted over the connection.

  • Service Interruption

    Expired certificates result in site downtime, preventing user access and potentially causing financial and reputational losses. Error messages indicating an unsafe site deter users from engaging with the site, leading to revenue loss.

  • Search Engine Penalties

    Expired SSL certificates may lead to search engine penalties, adversely affecting website rankings and traffic. Search engines like Google prioritize secure websites and penalize those with expired certificates, impacting visibility and credibility.

  • Reputation Damage

    Expired certificates diminish the organization’s reputation, eroding user trust. Rebuilding trust after such an incident can be challenging and may take significant effort.

Pros of Certificate Renewal Automation

Automation in certificate renewal offers great advantages over manual certificate renewals. Automation not only affects your productivity and resources but also greatly streamlines your certificate management.

The list of pros offered by automation is endless, but if I have to point out a few of the major advantages of automation, they would be :

  1. Time and Cost Savings

    Automation streamlines the certificate management workflow, eliminating the need for manual intervention and switching between systems to enforce the certificate. This significantly reduces the time and resources required to manage certificates, allowing IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

  2. Minimizing Human Errors

    Manual Certificate Renewal is too prone to human error which can prove to be very fatal to organizations. A single misconfiguration/typo may lead to inappropriate certificate renewal and downtime. Additionally adding another tedious job of manual certificate renewal.

  3. No last-minute renewals

    Automated certificate renewal takes out the risk of impending certificate expirations. Keeping manual track of every certificate in your environment is a very tough job and forgetting the renewal of a few among many certificates can always be a case. Also Waiting till the last moment for certificate renewal is always a bad idea. Automation takes care of last-minute renewals.

  4. Enhanced Security

    The risk of expired certificates and potential security flaws is decreased by automatically renewing certificates on schedule. Organizations can enhance the security of their confidential information and fend off intrusions by keeping their certificates current.

Tackling the 90-day renewal challenge

90-day renewal may seem to be big of a challenge for a company where proper certificate management is missing and the certificate inventory is too large to handle manually.

Risks associated with expired certificates, whether we talk about financial losses, reputational damage, service downtime, or data breaches, are too grave to ignore; therefore, a prominent action plan is needed to avoid such accidents.

Here are a few steps which can help you tackle the risks and challenges associated with 90 day renewal.

Implement a Certificate Lifecycle Management(CLM ) solution

Implementing a CLM solution is the one-stop way to manage your internal and external facing certificates as well as to take care of any other factors like cryptographic compliance, certificate inventory, reports, and other essential must-haves when certificate management is concerned.

Deploying a full-fledged CLM solution, like CertSecure Manger, will empower you to have minute details that, under any manually supervised certificate management, takes lots of effort and is very cumbersome to get.

CLM enables users to get the following features that mitigate the risk of certificate outages and ease their management:

  • Inventory

    The CLM solution provides a complete inventory of certificates deployed on your organization’s environment. Having a complete inventory is more than crucial to identifying and flagging certificates that need to be worked upon along with identifying the owners of the certificates. Inventory is of grave importance for organizations where the certificate count is too large for manual handling and monitoring.

  • Monitoring and Reports

    To manage 90-day certificate lifespans, you must manage an ongoing stream of temporary certificates. Therefore, you must spot anomalies or instances when certificate usage deviates from expected behavior right away. Continuous Monitoring of the certificate allows us to see through such anomalies at the right time and take appropriate actions.

    Reporting also enables organizations to do in-depth analysis of certificates via audit reports and other crucial reports like the expiration, key length reports, etc.

  • Automation

    Automating renewals not only saves time but also ensures that your certificates remain current and prevents downtime from expired ones. You may create a sequence of notifications for expiring certificates after determining the locations and owners of your TLS/SSL certificates.

    But when certificate lifetimes go shorter, it becomes riskier and impracticable to rely solely on manual renewal, which means you have to manually follow up with certificate owners for days or weeks at a time.

  • Certificate Discovery

    Certificate Discovery is one of the greatest things that you can add to your environment. Certificate Discovery provides you with the hidden certificates that may be deployed in your environment which you are unaware of and many times these certificates are generally self-signed certificates which are potential points of compromise.

    Certificate discovery enables the true power of certificate inventory providing true worth of certificate information.

  • Workflows and Policies

    To ensure certificates adhere to most stringent attributes, global policies should be implemented. Centralized workflows should be created to enforce compliance for shorter certificate lifespans. The renewal process should be aligned with shorter lifespans by setting correct validity periods for new certificates.

  • Integrations with DevOps tools

    DevOps teams consume the largest number of certificates, especially in CI/CD environments. Considering the risk of improper certificate renewals and the tedious way through which certificate request needs to be performed, DevOps teams may find themselves in a pinch regarding management and issuance of certificates.

    Integrating your certificate lifecycle management solution with your developers’ current tools will make their lives easier.

    API-driven interfaces allow certificates to be automatically provisioned in continuous deployment settings, guaranteeing that the validity periods of certificates used in both new and old applications are strictly adhered to.

CertSecure Manager

Encryption Consulting’s CertSecure Manager is an advanced solution designed to address the challenges of manual certificate management and assist organizations in meeting these upcoming requirements.

With its comprehensive features, including lifecycle management, certificate discovery, inventory management, issuance, deployment, renewal, revocation, and reporting capabilities, CertSecure Manager streamlines the entire certificate management process through end-to-end automation.

Additionally, CertSecure Manager’s built-in alerts provide timely notifications for critical events such as upcoming certificate expirations, allowing organizations to take proactive measures and prevent service disruptions. With a focus on security and compliance, CertSecure Manager helps organizations meet the highest industry standards, such as NIST, HIPAA, and GDPR, CA/B, ensuring a secure and compliant certificate infrastructure.

By leveraging CertSecure Manager, organizations can effectively manage their certificates, enhance security, save time and resources, and maintain a strong online presence while aligning with Google’s proposed TLS certificate validity reduction.


Google has proposed reducing the validity of TLS certificates to 90 days. This change will significantly impact organizations, particularly those that rely on manual certificate management processes. To ensure a secure and streamlined online environment, organizations must adapt their certificate management practices. This involves careful planning, investing in automated certificate management tools like CertSecure Manager, and making changes to processes and procedures.

Adapting to shorter SSL certificate lifecycles can be challenging, and mishandling this transition could have serious consequences. However, the benefits of improved security, compliance, and agility make it worth the effort to adapt.

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About the Author

Akashdeep Kashyap is a cybersecurity enthusiast who views the field not just as a profession, but as a pathway to unlocking the true essence of technology. His journey in cybersecurity is driven by a profound belief that understanding and securing digital systems illuminates our understanding of the broader tech landscape. Akashdeep approaches cybersecurity as a means of enlightenment, constantly seeking to unravel the complexities of digital security while embracing the ever-evolving world of technology.

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