Updating an expiring AS2 Organization certificate: Part 2, Automatically
John Perry in Michigan 270004Q6G1 Visits (3109)
Automatically updating expiring AS2 cert
This blog is intended to provide steps to aid in replacing an AS2 certificate used in your profile Organization. In it, I describe a method which can be used to replace the certificate automatically on a specified date.
AS2 requires users to replace expired system certificates configured in the profile Organizations, and defined as the Exchange and Signing certificates. All certificates, used for any purpose, have an expiration date. An expired certificate cannot be used for Exchange (encrypting inbound data) or Signing (signing a document that is being sent outbound).
Please note that as of IBM Sterling B2B Integrator 6.0, there is a limitation on using this method. There is no way in the product to specify the time for this switch. It will take place at midnight of the specified date, using the time for the server on which Sterling B2B Integrator is executing. For that reason, I normally recommend using the Manual method that I describe in this blog entry:
However, that may not work for everyone. Sometimes you may need to do a change in an automated manner. This blog will help you to use that method.
I will outline creating a new certificate, updating it in the profile Organization, and explain how to have Sterling B2B Integrator switch over to the new certificate on a date you specify.
A note about testing: You can ensure a smooth transition if you can test your new system certificate in a non-production environment with your partners. I will assume the following steps are performed first in a non-production environment. I include a note at the end with instructions for exporting a new system certificate from your test environment to your production environment.
Clients often tell support analysts that testing is painful. Please note that production-down issues are also painful!
The profile Organization is found under Trading Partner > AS2. This image shows some Partner profiles and a couple of Organization profiles:
The certificates to be replaced in John_oxnard_4300_ID are shown in this image:
I used the certificate Temp
And here is the certificate as viewed if I click on the underlined name:
This cert will expire on September 28. 2018 (as I write it is September 19), so it’s pretty urgent to replace it soon!
1) Creating a new certificate
A new certificate can be purchased through a Certificate Authority, or by creating a self-signed certificate which is done within Sterling B2B Integrator. Note that some partners will require using a certificate purchased through a Certificate Authority.
A) Instructions for purchasing a certificate through a Certificate Authority are found here:
B) Creating a Self Signed Certificate:
To create a self-signed certificate, go to the Sterling B2B Integrator dashboard, then navigate to Trading Partners > Digital Certificates > System Certificates.
Here is an example of a new certificate to be used as the Exchange and Signing certificate in a profile Organization:
That is the end of the information on creating a new certificate.
2) Preparing to update your AS2 certificate
Having the new system certificate activated automatically means you will have to coordinate the change with your partners. You will select a date when the new certificate will become active, and then must notify your partners when this will happen.
The certificate specified in the Exchange certificate field is used by partners to encrypt data to send to you. If they do not encrypt the data using the correct certificate, your system will reject it and return an error message to your partner.
The certificate specified in the Signing certificate field is used when you send data to your partners. Your system will create a Signing string using this certificate. Your partners must be able to validate the signing string, or they will reject the data you send to them.
A) Check out the new certificate from Trading Partner > Digital Certificates > System Certificates, and send the resulting file to your partner.
Note: Checking out a system certificate allows you to send the public part of the certificate.The private part is a secret of your company, and should not be shared with anyone.
D) Note that you can use any part of the certificate name in the Search box.
For example, if my new certificate is called “Manually exp June 30 2020” I can search for “Automatically”, “September” or “2020”. That may help a lot if I had a lot of certificates.
E) Then check out the certificate using the “check out” button:
Select Base64 (to create a file with a .cer extension), then save the certificate to a location where it is easy to find.
As explained above, as of IBM Sterling B2B Integrator 6.0, this technique does not allow you to specify the time when the transition will occur.It will happen at midnight according to the server on which Sterling B2B Integrator is running.
3) Update your AS2 certificate
A) You can specify the new certificate in your profile Organization as follows:
Go to Trading Partners > AS2 and search for your Organization profile using Search Profiles by Identity:
Select the Configure Certificates buttons for both the Exchange and Signing certificates.
C) Click on the Configure Certificates selection for the Exchange Certificate.
You will see a screen that looks something like this:
Note that you should also keep the existing certificate selected (on the right). We are going to configure both certificates.
Here is what the screen will look like when you do this:
E) Now we will configure the dates in the “Go Live DateMM/DD/YYYY” and “Not AfterDateMM/DD/YYYY fields”.
We will configure the “Go Live” date for the new certificate to be the first day when we want it to be activated. We will configure the “Not After” date for the old certificate to be the last day when we want it to be active.
We must be careful to ensure the new certificate does not have a “Go Live” date before the first date when it is valid.We also must be careful to ensure the old certificate does not have a “Not After” date that is after the last day that it is valid.
I hope this image will help to illustrate that point.
F) When the new certificate becomes active, there may be a transition period during which some partners cannot send or receive data
4) Migrating your new certificate to production
Once the steps have been completed in a test environment, you can use the same certificate in production as follows:
A) On the non-production environment, navigate to the Deployment > Resource Manager > Import/Export > Export screen
Select XML Document
Answer “No” to the question, Do you want to export resources based on a tag name?
Select “Standard” for “Which type of export should be performed on versioned resources?”
Select Digital Certificates then click on Next
Select System Certificates
Select the new system certificate and make sure it appears in the “To Be Exported” section
Create a simple Passphrase that you can type in again on the production environment.
Click on Finish
Click on “Download” and save the file Export.xml to a directory
B) Copy the file Export.xml to a directory which you can access from the user interface for your production instance
C) Navigate to the Deployment > Resource Manager > Import/Export > Import screen
Browse to the Export.xml file location and select it.
Enter the Passphrase you created when exporting the certificate
Do NOT enter a Tag Name or Description
When prompted “Some objects being imported may exist in the system. Do you want to update them?” select “Yes”
Select the certificate that was exported from your non-production environment
D) In your production environment, execute the steps in section 3, “Update your AS2 certificate” which are in this document
You should be all finished.
In the event of any problems, please open a case with Support.We will be very happy to assist you with them.
If this blog is helpful, or if you have any suggestions for improving it, please add a comment to the end of it.I will appreciate anything you have to say!