The five stages of PKI

Mexican actor Ricardo Montalbán, who might be best known for playing either Mr. Roarke in the TV show Fantasy Island or for playing Khan Noonien Singh in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan often described "the five stages of an actor:"

  1. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
  2. Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
  3. Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
  4. Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
  5. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?

It seems that it's easy to make a similar "five stages of a technology." For example, we might have:

  1. What is PKI?
  2. Get me PKI.
  3. Get me something like PKI.
  4. Get me a better version of PKI.
  5. What is PKI?

In this particular case, we're probably now at stage 4 for PKI technology. Outside of government agencies, PKI is now rapidly being replaced with better alternatives that overcome some of the many practical difficulties that plagued the early adopters of the technology.

In not too many years, we'll probably move to stage 5, and people will once again be asking "What is PKI?" If it wasn't for the use of PKI in government agencies, we might actually have moved to that stage a few years ago, but it's probably only a matter of time until we reach it.

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