KeyTalk CKMS: A Compelling Alternative to Microsoft AD CS

KeyTalk CKMS: A Compelling Alternative to Microsoft AD CS
08 Mar ‘24


Since Microsoft’s Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) was first released in 2000, many companies have relied on it to build their internal PKI infrastructure. Initially, its appeal stemmed from its inclusion with MS Server editions at no extra cost, ease of setup, and seamless integration into the Microsoft ecosystem. However, as technology has evolved, so have the challenges faced by organizations seeking modern PKI management solutions.

Challenges with Microsoft AD CS

While AD CS has served its purpose for many years, it struggles to meet the demands of today’s hybrid and cloud-based IT environments. Some of the key challenges include:

  1. Complexity: Setting up and configuring AD CS can be daunting, especially for organizations with limited PKI experience.
  2. Limited platform support: AD CS primarily integrates with Microsoft products, leaving non-Microsoft platforms and applications with limited support.
  3. Single point of failure: Dependency on Active Directory means that any issues or outages with AD can disrupt certificate services.
  4. Lack of granular control: AD CS may lack the customization options needed for specific certificate-related tasks.
  5. Performance issues: High demand for certificate issuance and revocation can strain the performance of AD CS, particularly in large-scale deployments.
  6. External trust issues: Certificates issued by AD CS may not be trusted by external entities without additional trust relationships.

Microsoft’s AD CS Roadmap

Despite updates over the years, recent releases of AD CS have not addressed the need for hybrid or cloud-compatible features. Microsoft’s announcement of Microsoft Cloud PKI offers some hope, but details on its capabilities remain scarce and it comes at a significant cost as part of the Intune Suite.

Why Consider Alternatives?

Organizations that have relied on AD CS for decades, now face the challenge of expiring root certificates and a dwindling pool of IT staff with expertise in AD CS management. Additionally, with Google advocating for shorter TLS/SSL certificate lifetimes, a PKI management system capable of handling both private and public certificates becomes essential.

Introducing KeyTalk CKMS

KeyTalk’s Certificate & Key Management System (CKMS) offers a clear path forward for PKI management. It seamlessly integrates with existing AD CS environments, allowing for a gradual transition away from Microsoft’s solution. KeyTalk CKMS boasts full support for leading public CAs such as DigiCert, GlobalSign and Sectigo, along with comprehensive ACME automation for TLS/SSL certificates.

Contact Us to Learn More If you’re considering a move away from Microsoft PKI to a modern PKI management platform, the KeyTalk Team is here to help. Reach out to us today to discuss your organization’s unique challenges and how KeyTalk CKMS can address them.


The KeyTalk Team