Digital Trust 10-12-2022

How Zero Trust Can Enable Digital Trust

Jason Sabin
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Digital trust and zero trust are both common cybersecurity phrases, but what do they mean and what is the difference between them?

In our connected world where everything is online, traditional boundaries no longer apply and neither do traditional means of security. The lines between personal and work are blurring, and people are online constantly. As digital transformation has accelerated, we have replaced face-to-face interactions with digital communications requiring a multitude of devices, systems and networks. However, at the same time, the threat vector has also expanded. So knowing when and what to trust during digital interactions is more difficult than ever before.

Users must feel confident that their data is safe and secure, and that they can trust the companies with which they interact digitally, whether that’s online, with IoT devices, street signs or digital documents. Thus, digital trust is required to enable individuals and businesses to engage online with confidence that their footprint in a digital world is secure, and zero trust is one way to accomplish that.

Digital trust vs. zero trust

Digital trust is the thing that enables us all to have confidence that the things we are doing online are secure. It’s the backbone for the connected world, including for securing users, software, servers, devices, documents, digital content, identity and more. To create and maintain digital trust, companies must demonstrate their ability to provide safety, privacy, security and reliability to their users. Digital trust requires several building blocks, including adherence to standards, maintaining compliance and operations, using trust management and extended trust into connected ecosystems. So while there are a lot of aspects involved in building digital trust, one of the ways to accomplish digital trust and assure users of security is to use a zero-trust architecture.

Zero trust is a security approach that requires verification of every access request by default. In a zero-trust approach, instead of verifying digital identity based on IP addresses, digital identities must be regularly verified based on adaptive authentication methods such as public key infrastructure (PKI), multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO). Zero trust has been increasingly adopted in recent years, including a 2021 U.S. executive order directing the federal government towards a zero-trust approach. That’s because zero trust can help mitigate security risk and reduce the time it takes to detect a breach.

Thus, when zero trust is the requirement of never-trust, always verify, digital trust is the result accomplished when every connected device, server or document is authenticated for trust. In other words, implementing a zero-trust policy is one way of achieving digital trust.

PKI at the heart of digital trust and zero trust

PKI is central to enabling both digital trust and zero trust. PKI provides the authentication, integrity and identity needed for a zero-trust architecture and delivers digital trust to people, systems and organizations. PKI delivers the authentication needed to identify every user or device on the network and the encryption of communications across the organization, and it maintains data and system integrity. As PKI is a tried-and-true method for proving identity needed in zero trust, 96% of IT security executives believe that PKI is essential to building a zero-trust architecture. 

DigiCert can help you enable zero trust, and as a result, digital trust

By establishing and maintaining digital trust, companies can create a more secure and trusted online experience for their users. DigiCert is the leader in digital trust and can help companies apply the building blocks of digital trust (standards, compliance and operations, trust management and connected trust). DigiCert® ONE, the platform for digital trust, provides organizations with centralized visibility and control over a broad range of public and private trust needs, securing websites, enterprise access and communication, software, identity, content and devices. DigiCert pairs its award-winning software with its industry leadership in standards, support and operations, and is the digital trust provider of choice for leading companies around the world.

For instance, we are collaborating with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on a zero-trust consortium to produce an example of a zero-trust architecture that uses modern best practices. Additionally, at DigiCert we have experience deploying a zero-trust architecture and we understand the challenge of simplifying identity and access management across large enterprises with hundreds of thousands of workers and connection points.

If you’re looking to implement zero trust to achieve digital trust, or to learn more about DigiCert’s platform for digital trust, email us at for more information or to set up a sales consultation.

Get the IDC whitepaper Digital Trust: The Foundation for Digital Freedom | DigiCert to read more about digital trust—what it is, how it works, and why it must be a strategic initiative for any organization, including yours.