Understanding United States’ Zero Trust Mandate

December 5, 2022

Understanding the United States Zero Trust Mandate can be challenging. First, zero trust is not an overnight fix. It is a long-term security strategy. Zero trust architecture must design with data development in mind. This article covers the Office of Management and Budget memo, Microsoft Identity, CISA’s Zero Trust Maturity Model, and the Federal agencies’ requirements for zero trust.

Microsoft Identity

The federal government has made a major commitment to adopt zero trust technology, but it faces several challenges in implementation. One of the biggest is the lack of funds. Implementing zero trust will require rethinking digital architectures. However, the federal government is making progress and is working with state and local governments to develop compliance measures.

Understanding the mandate’s requirements is crucial for several reasons. For one, it is possible to move towards zero trust while still maintaining user convenience. Zero trust can lock out non-compliant users while allowing authenticated users to work without interruption. In addition, implementing zero trust is not difficult, but it will take some planning and brain power.

As a result of the executive order, the federal government must transition to a zero-trust architecture. In addition, the order requires federal agencies and their suppliers to modernize their cybersecurity to address the growing threat of cyberattacks. Zero trust requires continuous verification of an operational picture and the use of real-time information from various sources to determine access and response to threats.

Zero trust has a very broad definition. The concept is a strategic initiative that designed to help organizations avoid data breaches. It helps organizations protect their assets by assuming that no entity can trusted. Unlike traditional perimeter security concepts, zero trust recognizes that trust is a vulnerability. Traditional perimeter security approaches have considered all users trusted once they entered a network, which made them vulnerable to malicious insiders and threat actors.

Office of Management and Budget memo

Understanding the United States’ Zero Trust Mandate is an important step in combating cyberattacks. This executive order mandates impactful cybersecurity measures for all government agencies. This mandate will require Federal agencies to secure cloud services, centralize cybersecurity data, and hire new personnel. As a result, the government will have to invest in multiple applications and hire employees who are knowledgeable about Zero Trust.

In June, the CISA drafted a Zero Trust Maturity Model that the government could use to guide its zero trust initiatives. The model distributed to agencies and released for public comment. The CISA is currently passing on judicially the comments and producing updated guidance. In addition, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains a central repository for zero trust guidance.

The mandate requires the federal government to adopt a zero-trust cybersecurity model, and this should do as soon as possible. A zero-trust model will accelerate the move to secure cloud services, increase the consistency of foundational security tools, and increase supply chain security. In addition, zero-trust will establish baseline security standards for software development and require developers to publish security data publicly.

The Zero Trust Mandate was issued by the Biden Administration as part of an executive order that addresses the nation’s cybersecurity. The executive order requires federal agencies to strengthen cybersecurity by modernizing their cybersecurity frameworks and implementing Zero Trust architecture. It also requires federal suppliers to adopt zero-trust architectures for cloud infrastructures.

Implementing zero trust can be daunting for many organizations, but it is impossible to make the transition successfully. A few small steps will help ease the process and help your organization feel more confident. It’s important to start by making sure your organization has an effective identity management and authentication system.

CISA’s Zero Trust Maturity Model

The Zero Trust Maturity Model provides agencies with a roadmap for achieving zero trust. The model outlines the objectives agencies must achieve, outlines CISA’s role in the implementation, and outlines ways in which agencies can support each other. The Office of Management and Budget has also set a timeline for implementing zero trust technology, including enterprise-managed identities, a complete inventory of government devices, and encryption of network traffic.

Zero trust is a rigorous approach to cybersecurity that assumes no user, device, or network can trusted. It blocks any attempts to access internal IT resources without authentication, ensuring complete security and an impenetrable barrier against unauthorized access attempts. CISA released an initial version of the Zero Trust Maturity Model in June 2021, and it is now available for public comment. The agency plans to review the document and make any needed changes.

Identity is an increasingly important issue in today’s zero trust environment. Identity-based attacks are on the rise, and compromised identities make it easier for attackers to compromise corporate networks. To prevent this from happening, zero trust architecture should provide visibility into all user identities and their permissions and potential exposures. SentinelOne’s solutions treat identity security as the foundation of Zero Trust architecture. They provide a unified identity management solution that gives organizations visibility across their organization. The platform also offers cloaking technology for identity protection.

Zero trust is a growing priority in government and the private sector. Federal agencies are attempting to implement zero trust security in their operations. To achieve zero trust, agencies must determine what their priorities and challenges are and how they will address them. The CISA Zero Trust Maturity Model outlines five pillars that organizations should address.

The White House has released a memo urging federal agencies to adopt zero-trust security models. The memo calls for agencies to implement zero-trust architectures and adopt zero-trust policies and practices. While enhancing security standards is a huge task, a solution like Axiad’s all-in-one authentication service can make the transition to zero-trust security easier for businesses.

Federal agencies’ requirements for implementing zero trust

Implementing zero trust will require significant cultural change. Agencies should identify technologies and create a collaborative model before starting implementation. Then, they should work on operational and administration changes. Finally, they should evaluate existing test environments and develop plans for the transition. The goal is to implement zero trust by 2024.

Federal agencies should start by defining the zero trust architecture that they want to implement. The zero trust architecture should integrate multi-factor authentication across all applications and enforce it in all systems. It must also enforce the authorization protocols to identify authorized devices. Those tools should be secure, maintain an inventory of authorized devices and prevent incidents.

The zero trust approach prevents unauthorized access to services and data by enforcing access control as granular as possible. The Office of Management and Budget has given departments until 2024 to implement zero trust. However, the federal government faces several challenges in implementing zero trust. One of the main challenges is lack of funding. The Office of Management and Budget must fully understand appropriations to ensure that departments allocate the appropriate funds to implement zero trust.

Despite the difficulties, many respondents were confident that their agency would meet the zero trust requirements on time. In fact, 14% of federal IT leaders expected their agency to meet the requirements ahead of schedule. However, only 8% of staff believed their agency would be able to meet the deadlines.

After receiving the memo from the Office of Management and Budget, agencies must designate a lead who will oversee the implementation of the zero trust strategy. This lead will work with CISA, the OMB, and other government agencies to ensure compliance. They will also have to submit an implementation plan. The plan must include budget planning for the next two years.

The executive order calls for agencies to implement zero trust, a cybersecurity strategy that relies on stringent authorization and authentication processes to limit damage when data compromised. The executive order also directs CISA and OMB to develop zero trust cybersecurity initiatives. Federal agencies must draw up a zero trust maturity model by November 6, and they must designate a lead for its implementation.

Finished: Understanding United States’ Zero Trust Mandate.

Ammar Fakhruddin


Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.

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