How certificates work

SMC servers and NGFW Engines use certificates to identify each other in system communications, and to secure communications to external components.

Note: Do not confuse certificates with licenses. Certificates are proof of identity that components use to authenticate themselves in communications. Licenses are a proof of purchase used for ensuring that your organization is a legal license holder of the software.

To be able to communicate with other SMC components, each SMC server and NGFW Engine must have a valid certificate. The certificates used in system communications are always generated by the internal certificate authority (CA) that runs on the Management Server.

Certificates can also be used:

  • For communication with some external components.
  • In VPNs for authentication between remote gateways.
  • By NGFW Engines for TLS inspection.