COVID-19 accelerated many agencies’ timelines for IT modernization. One of the top priorities for agencies was the implementation of Zero Trust Networks. With the switch to remote work, agencies had to find ways for workers to continue to deliver on the mission while remaining secure. In a recent Federal News Network discussion, Christopher Cleary, CISO, Department of the Navy, Alma Cole, CISO, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Brian Campo, Acting CTO, Department of Homeland Security, Junaid Islam, Director, Public Sector, Verizon, along with other industry leaders came together to explore Zero Trust Network strategies that are being implemented throughout the federal government.
Verizon’s Islam stated that there are two implementations, “Zero Trust as a product and Zero Trust as-a-Service. [Our] focus [is] on Zero Trust as-a-Service so that vendors, contractors, and consultants will be able to securely connect in.” CBP’s Cole also shared that a “solid identity within the cloud” is an important building block for the future of Zero Trust.”
Cole explained that with current technology, agencies are able to implement the principles of Zero Trust that previously seemed unattainable. With current abilities and the issues with remote work, “Zero Trust can help increase capabilities while also reducing risk,” said Campo. However, while Zero Trust has been vital to enabling the immediate transition to remote work, its value will be fully realized in years to come.
Cleary, CISO of the Navy, stated that the pandemic has almost certainly changed the way we work permanently. Thinking of what has been enabled is that a Zero Trust environment “monitors every keystroke and connects people with the information they need to have in a secure way.”
From the CTO perspective, Campo stated that “they are trying to develop a strategy and understand how does Zero Trust fit into all of the goals that the CIO wants to do,” which is focused on risk reduction and implementing security.
“Zero Trust as-a-Service is going to become one of the most important implementations, because in terms of how people are going to work, the ability to integrate Zero Trust into your wireline and wireless service is key,” added Islam.
The need for agencies to create a secure, accessible environment for workers has never been more important. Through Zero Trust Networks, this is achievable. Security industry leaders are “making a huge investment in Zero Trust as-a-Service” by creating a service model, just like computing, in order for the “federal government to buy what they need,” said Islam. For instance, the ability to create “different Zero Trust Networks for different departments and teams.” Agencies will be able to easily acquire and deploy Zero Trust as-a-Service and avoid lengthy procurement cycles. This will allow for secure networks across agencies that continue with telework.
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