GCIO Focus: Winning the Cyberwar with Zero Trust

The old perimeter-centric security strategies no longer work.

The sustained high frequency of successful cyberattacks against corporations and government agencies has made one thing clear: Perimeter-centric security strategies are no longer effective.

With insider attacks, data and IT infrastructure residing in multiple locations, and data traveling across the internet, relying on one layer of security at the perimeter is no longer an option. Zero Trust is an alternative security model that addresses the shortcomings of failing perimeter-centric strategies by removing the assumption of trust from the equation.   

With Zero Trust, the focus shifts from thinking about security in terms of “trust but verify” to approaching security from the stance of “never trust, always verify.” Google and many other security forerunners have successfully adopted this model, which was also recommended for federal implementation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2016.  

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A Zero Trust network treats all traffic as untrusted and focuses on creating barriers that compartmentalize different parts of the network. To embrace the tenets of Zero Trust of the network, security architects must redesign their segmentation around business needs to effectively protect against attacks. This approach protects data from unauthorized applications or users.

When implemented properly, the Zero Trust architecture:

  • Ensures all resources are accessed securely regardless of location

  • Employs a “least privilege” strategy that strictly enforces access control

  • Inspects and logs all traffic

While other benefits exist, implementing Zero Trust provides:

  • Significant improvements in mitigating data loss and detecting and averting future threats

  • Material cost savings for IT security

  • Enhanced capabilities for digital transformation initiatives such as mobility

  • Efficiency in meeting security and privacy mandates

Zero Trust is a new weapon in winning the cyberwar and is “the first step in restoring confidence and security in federal information technology.” To schedule time to learn more about the steps to Zero Trust success, please contact Mark Western, mwestern@governmentcio.com

101 Constitution Ave NW, Suite 100 West Washington, DC 20001

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