There was a time when most trust transactions involved an ink signature on paper and a handshake. Today, most trust transactions are digital. As Deepika Chauhan, chief product officer at DigiCert, says, “Digital trust is the foundation of the connected world.”
Thanks largely to digital transformation and the growth in the use of software around the world, Kingpin Market Research expects the digital certificate management market to grow from about $625 million in 2022 to $1.8 billion by 2023.
How do people ensure they trust their workloads, software components, transactions, or devices they use and depend on? One of the primary reasons such digital trust matters to organizations is that without it, downtime is often the result. “With increasingly complex IT infrastructure, they want to limit any outage. There's huge economic loss [at risk],” Chauhan says.
The increased architectural complexity within enterprises is also increasing the attack surface. The ability to trust traffic — the digital trust — of applications and software components that are trusted and authentic keeps that attack surface manageable, she says. Finally, digital transformation is driving innovation and requires trusted transactions. “With increasing digitization, more and more companies are looking at new ways to innovate, whether securing elections or providing patient care and medical infrastructure,” she adds.
“That’s our core mission,” she says. Chauhan explains the core building blocks of digital trust in any organization.
Digital trust’s essential building blocks
The first building block, she says, is adhering to regulatory compliance within transactions, including those transactions that occur across organizations. Many organizations help establish such regulations, including the CA/Browser Forum, various organizations within the European Union and other nations, and policies specific to initial security operation centers and organizations. “Customers have to make sure that they are in compliance with the standards and are providing industry-standard PKI certificates to protect their users, servers, and devices,” Chauhan adds.
The second building block, Chauhan explains, is operational. “When talking about key transactions being secure, the availability of the infrastructure support is critical. It's very important that there’s basic infrastructure availability,” she says. Part of that availability includes periodic validation of digital certificates. “Just like your driver's license has to be renewed on a periodic basis, your trust elements have to be renewed,” she adds.
The third building block is managing digital trust. As Chauhan explains, organizations must know what assets they have in their organization and when their digital certificates expire.” “Organizations [often] don't even know what certificates are available across [their organization],” she says. It’s essential that they do, however, because expired digital certificates means additional downtime and outages.
The final building block to digital trust across the enterprise is understanding digital certificates across the extended ecosystem, which Chauhan says includes signed binaries. “Is the binary even signed? Are we running malware on our systems,” she asks. “You need to be able to manage trust. You need to know what's out there. And you need to know when certificates are expiring,” she says.
DigiCert recently announced a partnership with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) that will add native availability of DigiCert ONE on OCI, bringing together OCI’s secure, scalable cloud infrastructure with the best-in-class benefits of DigiCert’s digital trust portfolio. Because of the cloud-native architecture of DigiCert ONE, it provides fast time to value with simple deployment so that customers can protect all that their digital assets in the cloud.
By George V. Hulme