Nowadays it is a rising trend that public key infrastructure is getting applied in more and more fields, even in our everyday lives, so having basic knowledge about it – at least for professionals of the information technology industry – is getting essential and unavoidable. Learning about PKI is benefical for pretty much everyone, however it is more necessary for providers than everyday users; that was the main reason why Microsec started offering one-day-long education events with the goal of teaching IT and finance experts the basics, theory and various usage fields of PKI. The most recent one of such trainings took place on 17th of October, 2019.
But is it even possible to pass enough information about PKI for someone who has never even heard about it before in only in a single day? The short answer is that it depends, mainly on what are we calling enough information. Obviously, people attending such an event will not get to be qualified PKI experts at the end of the day, but the training provides the attendants with the necessary basics for understanding the main aspects.
What these trainings consist of and how the particular topics are ordered is the key for the education to be successful. Many components of PKI are built on each other, so if the order is somehow not exactly right, the audience may lose the thread in a short time, so everything taught after the first composition mistake becomes useless.
Regarding the structure, firstly an introduction is needed both about the main approach of PKI, and the basics of cryptography. The attendants need to understand concepts like symmetric and asymmetric key cryptography, public and private keys and many more. After these principles are explained, it is important to clarify the main methods associated with PKI (such as signatures, authentication and encryption) and the related terms.
In accordance with explaining digital signatures, concerning national and international legal frameworks like eIDAS also need to be presented as well as the main participants (certification authorities, timestamp service providers etc.) of such acts. After all the essential knowledge provided, the next topics can be the step-by-step explanation of using digital signatures or real-life examples of public key infrastructures like vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication or e-ID cards, e-Dossiers and more.
In spite of the thematics listed above, logically, the sequence of particular elements can vary while keeping this kind of step-by-step approach not to confuse the respected audience.
Summarizing the above, PKI education can be really useful and it can encompass a very wide spectrum of knowledge, especially if one works in a related industry. However, learning PKI is not easy and altogether one can not obtain all the knowledge about it not even in one or more days but months either, so in case a real-life PKI-related situation is present, it is best if one asks for the help of professional PKI-experts.
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