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Zero Trust in Government

Cybersecurity is a constant struggle, with governments at every level under siege from persistent, evolving threats. The public’s data hangs in the balance, with agencies that fail to protect this sensitive information losing the public’s trust.

Despite such high stakes, traditional cyberdefenses aren’t keeping agencies safe. Typically, agencies have protected their networks by guarding their perimeters from attack. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t shield data from internal threats or external ones that breach agencies’ perimeter defenses. Once inside agencies’ perimeters, bad actors can cause irrevocable damage.

To address these challenges, many agencies are segmenting their networks and authenticating the devices and users accessing them. Although these methods provide some safety, they unfortunately don’t provide agencies with real-time insights about their network’s processes. For example, authentication can’t prevent malicious software from running on a network after bypassing an agency’s defenses.

Fortunately, a zero trust approach to cybersecurity offers agencies a strategy for detecting and mitigating cyberthreats from both inside and outside their networks. A zero trust approach to cybersecurity combines specific people, processes and technology to make security pervasive networkwide using two techniques. The first is continuous monitoring of all activities across the network. The second applies least privilege access principles, managing which devices and users are authorized to join specific resources when, where, and how they connect.

This GovLoop e-book explains how to enforce a zero trust approach to cybersecurity and the philosophy’s evolution. The following pages also contain interviews with federal, state and local leaders about a zero trust approach to cybersecurity. Finally, we’ll interview experts who are successfully defending government networks with a zero trust approach to cybersecurity.

Ultimately, a zero trust approach to cybersecurity requires more than fancy firewalls, multifactor authentication and network access control; it’s a mindset that must govern an agency’s people, processes and tools to endlessly shelter citizen data.