Siemens automates public key infra with Red Hat Ansible

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Mumbai: Red Hat said Siemens has adopted the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to modernize its public key infrastructure (PKI).

With the Ansible Automation Platform, the Munich, Germany based company is now able to automate administrative tasks. It helps increase configuration quality and help improve communication security throughout the company.

Siemens AG is an international technology group focused on various aspect of electrification along with medical imaging and laboratory diagnostics.

Given the sensitive nature of its business, staying at the forefront of security technology is a top priority at Siemens. In order to reliably protect access to confidential information, the company’s 295,000 employees and 100,000 employees from its business partners use public key infrastructures (PKIs), checking the certificates and identity of public keys.

Siemens increasingly uses PKIs to secure Internet-of-Things (IoT) communication, and now maintains two PKI environments for different application use cases. Additionally, communication between service teams within the organisation is expanding.

These changes have created configuration complexity and increased workloads for Siemens’ PKI team. To support this demand, Siemens replaced its legacy automation solution with the Ansible Automation Platform.

Red Hat Consulting provided Siemens with implementation support to help ensure that using the PKI environment would be more secure and efficient. Siemens worked with Red Hat architects and consultants to learn how to write Infrastructure-as-Code. And embrace continuous integration practices, and test playbooks, so that hardening measures would be written in Ansible.

While Siemens’ PKI team previously spent hours manually searching for unintended changes to its environment configuration, it has now avoided configuration drifts by deploying most changes as code using the Ansible Automation Platform.

“We have been able to count on support from experts at Red Hat through face-to-face workshops. It helped provide our engineers with a deeper understanding of the automation tools and processes so that they could more quickly and successfully utilize the technology,” said Rufus Buschart, Head of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) – Siemens.

“This is especially important since infrastructure-as-code with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is more than the introduction of a new tool– it requires a fundamental change in the mindset of system administrators,” added Buschart.

Siemens uses Ansible Playbooks to independently implement and remove development environments where necessary, as well as automatically install and test PKI software versions before publication.

Along with the automation of manual administrative tasks, Siemens benefits from improved configuration quality and stronger communication security throughout the company. In the near future, Siemens plans to work with Red Hat to explore automating testing processes, with the ultimate goal to establish a common blueprint for continuous deployment.

“The Siemens PKI team impressed us with their dedication to delivering automation best-practices, and we are happy to have collaborated closely to enable their workforce to take advantage of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to help them scale automation while improving operational efficiency and reducing risks,” said Robert Lindner, Country Manager – Germany, Red Hat.

“The PKI group at Siemens have shown how a highly motivated team can quickly implement Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. To automate manual management tasks and improve communication security throughout the company helping save both time and money, freeing up the business to focus on shaping the next generation of industrial technologies,” added Lindner.

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