Laura Stanton, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), recently posed the question on her weekly blog: What does the future of cybersecurity look like? The article highlighted the high priorities and top drivers likely to impact federal agencies’ cybersecurity strategy and spending plans in the months and years to come. First on the list: Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA).
What is Zero Trust Architecture?
Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is a paradigm-shifting cybersecurity framework that challenges the long-held notion of trust within network security. The conventional model of network security operates on the principle of “trust but verify.” Under this model, once a user or device gains access to the network, they are often granted extensive privileges and are trusted implicitly until they prove to be untrustworthy through anomalous behavior or security incidents. This approach is inherently flawed, as it leaves networks vulnerable to internal threats and lateral movement by malicious actors who have breached the perimeter.
In contrast, ZTA is a cybersecurity framework that inverts this traditional trust model. It operates on the premise of “never trust, always verify.” In essence, it assumes that no entity, whether a user, device, or application, should be trusted by default, even if they are inside the network perimeter. Instead, ZTA requires continuous verification and authentication for every access request, regardless of the entity's location within the network. Key principles of Zero Trust Architecture include:
- Multifactor authentication to verify identity
- Granting least privilege access to accomplish tasks
- Micro-segmented networks to prevent lateral movement of threats
- Continuous monitoring and real-time analytics
- Data encryption in transit and at rest
As Stanton describes, ZTA “provides agencies with the foundation to build a strong security posture that evolves with the ever-changing technological environment of dynamic and accelerating threats.” For good reason: traditional security models are proving to be inadequate while instances of data breaches and cyberattacks accelerate. As the sophistication of threats continues to evolve, so must our approach to protecting sensitive information.
Stay at the forefront with ZTA
ZTA provides a more resilient defense against today's evolving cyber threats. While implementing ZTA requires a concerted effort and investment, the long-term benefits in terms of improved security and reduced risk are undeniable. That’s why GovDataHosting provides full-service, managed government cybersecurity compliance – to support agencies looking to safeguard digital assets and maintain public trust. Ready to get started? Reach out today to speak with a cybersecurity specialist.