Today, Digital Trust Is a Strategic IT Imperative
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Today, Digital Trust Is a Strategic IT Imperative

Deepika Chauhan, Executive Vice President at DigiCert
Deepika Chauhan, Executive Vice President at DigiCert

Deepika Chauhan, Executive Vice President at DigiCert

Ensuring trust for digital processes and interactions has been a concern for cybersecurity organizations for years. But today, as more organizations embrace digital transformation and increased connectivity, the need for trust for data integrity and identity is more critical than ever. For IT, ensuring digital trust has become not just a security concern, but a top imperative for the entire business.

Why is it so important to ensure digital trust?

Establishing trust in data and identity creates the foundation that makes all of today’s digital interactions possible. For example, we see it in Internet of Things (IoT) use cases in industries like healthcare, manufacturing and transportation. These use cases are all about acquiring data in real time, so people can make smarter, faster decisions. Trusted data is the fuel that powers the decisions in these environments. If we can’t be certain that the telemetry we’re getting from connected devices and sensors is dependable and coming from a verified source, then the basis of trust falls apart, the system becomes vulnerable and all of the decisions it supports are questionable.

The stakes are getting higher, because the applications and interactions that require a strong level of trust are growing fast. According to one recent survey, the number of IoT devices could reach 125 billion by 2030.  Hybrid and remote work initiatives driving change as well. According to 360 Research Reports, the worldwide digital transformation market size is expecting a CAGR of 13.0% during 2021 to 2026.

What challenges are these changes introducing for increasingly digital organizations?

The challenges extend across a variety of roles and processes. For example, cybersecurity professionals focused on identity and access management are tasked with secure a growing array of methods and devices for remote work, even as the volume of users and devices is growing.

DevOps, network and OT Sec professionals have distinct challenges as well. More organizations are adopting cloud initiatives, making traditional methods of securing the network perimeter less effective. Each user, connection point and device needs to be uniquely identified and authenticated.

What exactly do we mean by digital trust?

Digital transformation is enjoying wide, rapid adoption in every industry, which is making digital trust more critical to online operations. In a highly connected world, trust is the backbone for security. We rely on digital trust as the fundamental quality that keeps users, their devices, software, identity and other elements of the experience secure.

Confirmed identity lies at the core of a trusted relationship, so digital trust starts with authentication of identity for users, devices, as well as services and workloads. To ensure that an object has not been tampered with, digital trust also requires integrity. The third key element for digital trust is encryption to secure data as it is in transit.

What are some of the components that make up digital trust and how does PKI fit in?

Public key infrastructure (PKI) is already widely used by organizations to establish the trusted identity, integrity and encryption that we discussed above. Digital trust builds on that PKI foundation utilizing four key building blocks. Together, they provide the fabric of trust that organizations rely on for digital interactions and processes.

The first building block of digital trust is industry and technology standards. These standards let organizations meet requirements associated with web security, IoT applications, government policies, code signing, DevSecOps, financial PKI and many other use cases. Industry groups like the CA/Browser Forum, ASC-X9 and NIST define and support these standards.

Next, compliance and operations play a key role. Organizations need to ensure that all the policies, audits and other operations comply with laws, regulations and industry requirements. In a federated ecosystem and multinational operations, maintaining compliance is no small feat. 

Trust management is another key aspect to implementing digital trust. For example, certificate management solutions and other software enable organizations to enforce corporate security policies, reduce rogue activities and minimize certificate expirations that can interrupt business processes. Automation solutions can also help minimize the time and expense of managing certificate lifecycles manually. Achieving unified management across different divisions of the company and multiple use cases is essential.

 ‚ÄčOrganizations often need to extend digital trust into complex ecosystems and supply chains. If the organization is a device manufacturer or application developer, that continuity of trust is essential throughout a device lifecycle or a software supply chain 

Finally, organizations often need to extend digital trust out into complex ecosystems and supply chains. If the organization is a device manufacturer or application developer, that continuity of trust is essential throughout a device lifecycle or a software supply chain.

How can organizations take steps to strengthen digital trust?

Implementing digital trust requires a strategic approach. It won’t work as an overlay initiative but must be embedded deeply within IT architectures and business processes. For an organization like a device manufacturer with complex supply chains and manufacturing processes, that means incorporating digital trust across the full lifecycle of each product.

A good technology partner that understands the complexities, such as DigiCert, can help. By implementing a strong strategy for digital trust within your organization now, you can set the stage to unlock the full potential of your digital transformation initiatives. Better yet, you can help support a more secure, connected environment for all parties in the future.