Why digital trust should be a strategic imperative for your business

It’s no secret that digital interactions have extended to every aspect of our professional and personal lives. Connectivity is skyrocketing and digital transformation is accelerating, making it essential for the tech community, governments and corporate boards to invest in digital trust.

We are witnessing an explosion of connected objects, with the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to grow from 8.74 billion in 2020 to more than 25 billion in 2030. Hybrid and remote work initiatives are placing a diverse range of devices in more work environments than ever before. Remote employees need the right policies to ensure that they establish reliable connections to the network and that the data they share is protected.

Digital transformation initiatives are also changing the nature of digital interactions. Deloitte recently reported that 77% of CEOs say the pandemic has accelerated their digital transformation plans. Organizations are adopting new types of deployment architectures, including cloud hosting, containers, cloud services, and DevOps cultures.

Society is now digitally connected, with online interactions fundamental to individual and business communication, transactions and processes. In this dynamic environment, the need for digital trust has become more important than ever. Gartner reports that 53% of organizations have yet to be tested against today’s digital challenges, making their readiness for digital transformation uncertain.

Ensuring trust has become more complex

As digital transformation continues to accelerate, digital trust has become an essential requirement for online operations. Trust is the backbone of security in the connected world. It is fundamental to secure users, software, servers, devices, content and digital rights, identity, etc. However, enterprise-wide initiatives around digital trust face an increasing array of IT and security challenges.

Identity and access managers are challenged by the increase in volume and access methods for remote work and other use cases. More and more organizations are adopting Zero Trust policies as the foundation of their corporate identity and access security.

Network, DevOps and OT Sec professionals also face new challenges as the attack surface increases. Securing the network perimeter alone is no longer effective as cloud initiatives, DevOps, operational technology and connected devices challenge traditional security approaches.

Many organizations are turning to public key infrastructure (PKI) to establish trusted identity, integrity, and encryption between people, things, and systems. It is widely adopted to secure not only public web pages, but also private internal services, including device authentication. Scalable, customizable and cost effective, it is rapidly being adopted for IoT use cases.

The evolution of digital trust

Together, these new challenges and trends have redefined our notions of trust. In the early days of the Internet, digital trust focused on securing interactions and transactions between users and websites. Trust was established through TLS/SSL and other digital certificates.

As environments and interactions became more complex, the level of risk increased. The focus has shifted to software that provides visibility and control over public and/or private trust management, such as certificate lifecycle management.

Today’s IT administrators face more complexity and risk than ever, as the volume of PKI use cases increases and data validation requirements increase. These problems are compounded by the reduced validity periods of certificates which add to their administrative workloads.

With today’s larger attack surfaces, expanding confidence is the new imperative. Today, smart solutions extend trust delivery and management across supply chains and entities such as consortia, connected devices, software supply chains, and more.

Digital trust: the basis for securing the connected world

Digital trust relies on identity authentication, for users, devices, workloads and services. It also requires integrity, to provide assurance that objects have not been tampered with, as well as encryption to secure data in transit.

Digital trust is achieved through four key building blocks that help ensure the fabric of trust we depend on for today’s digital transactions and interactions.

Four building blocks

Industrial and technological standards: Industry and technology standards meet requirements for web security, government policies, IoT applications, code signing, DevSecOps, financial PKI, and more. They are supported by industry groups such as the CA/Browser Forum, IETF, ASC-X9, NIST, and the Matter standard for IoT use cases.

Compliance and Operations: Compliance refers to policies, audits and other activities that confirm that an organization’s operations meet the standards set by the relevant governing body. Operations activities in the data center establish trust by checking the status of certificates, using protocols such as Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP).

Connected trust in ecosystems: Organizations must also extend digital trust beyond their own processes and into complex ecosystems and supply chains. For example, they need to ensure continuity of trust throughout a device’s lifecycle or across a software supply chain.

Trust management—public and private: To support trust management in both public and private environments, organizations implement specialized certificate management solutions and other software. These solutions minimize certificate failures that can impact business processes, a growing concern as certificate volume increases. They also help organizations enforce corporate security policies and reduce malicious activity. These technologies automate business processes to reduce the time associated with manually managing certificate lifecycles.

Clearly, digital trust is essential not just for security, but as the foundation for digital transformation. Organizations looking to implement digital trust must take a strategic approach, integrating it into increasingly complex IT architectures and processes. Device manufacturers need to embed digital trust throughout the lifecycle of their products.

Choosing the right technology partner is essential for a digital trust initiative. Digicert is the world’s leading provider of digital trust, enabling businesses and individuals to securely engage online and maintain full confidence that their digital footprint is secure. Companies that take a strategic approach to investing in digital trust today will position their organizations to unlock the potential of digital transformation and help support a more secure and connected world for their customers and the world at large in the years to come. .

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