What Is a Credential Service Provider?
A credential service provider is an independent third-party organization that issues electronic certificates or security tokens to authorized subscribers. Typically, a CSP forms a part of a wider authentication system, typically identified as an enterprise-level authentication platform. A client application creates a digital signature with the digital certificate and associates this signature with an IP address. The server then authenticates the digital certificate and the IP address and creates an opaque block, referred to as a digital certificate.
The question here is how the identity provider can validate the issuer of the digital certificate. It does so by verifying the IP address in the opaque block and verifying whether the IP address is registered with the proper authorization. In other words, the credential service provider ensures that the proper authentication algorithms are employed and that the client software matches with the appropriate server. Once these processes are completed successfully, the client computer stores the resulting digital certificate and secret key in an offline vault.
The trust relationship between the identity and trusted entity becomes established when the identity provider issues digital certificates. This trust relationship is established by the procedure called digital certificate matching. Digital certificate matching establishes that two entities have created the same trust model dictated by the rules specified in the Digital Certificate Standards. Both entities are intended to act by this model. Digital certificates serve as digital signatures that are transmitted to the receiver so that the receiver can verify the authenticity of the entity issuing them.
Let’s take a closer look at how credential services operate. When a client application requests a set of digital signatures, the identity and trusted entity must respond with a list of approved signing identities and trusted entities. If the request is not approved, then the client application will fail. The process continues with the server responding to the client application with a message indicating that the requested signature has declined. This is where the verification services would come in.
The verification services that issue security tokens to authorized subscribers are typically implemented as part of the subscriber’s browser. Once the authentication process is complete, the subscriber logs into the website and accesses the website using his or her electronic credential; at this point, the website’s authenticity is again verified against the information contained in the digital certificate.
Once the entire process is complete, the client receives a confirmation that authenticates the list of digital signatures and the list of electronic credentials. The credential service provider then sends an email to the authorized subscriber informing him or her that his or her authorization for accessing the site was revoked due to an illegal access attempt. In most cases, the client will not be able to log in to the site and be prompted to enter a password to access the website. This email also contains a link for the authorized subscriber to return to the issuer’s website to sign in using another form of a digital certificate.
The issue of unauthorized access to a website is a growing concern for many organizations today. As a result, many businesses are making every effort to establish trust between their employees and other business associates. The development of digital certificates and smart cards can help establish a higher level of trust between a subscriber and a service provider. A good credential security service provider should be capable of managing a variety of digital certificates and issuing them to appropriately authorized subscribers. In addition, these providers should be capable of issuing different credentials for different purposes, such as authentication, digital signature, challenge-response authentication, password authentication, etc.
A good credential security service provider should be capable of issuing a wide range of digital certificates and maintaining a record of such certificates. They should also be able to automate the renewal process of such certificates and provide advanced reporting. The issuer should also have the option of generating a wide range of custom credentials and provide authentication at the server and browser level.