February 23, 2024

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U.S. Strengthens Zero-Trust Security

The U.S. government is facing mounting pressure to improve its cybersecurity defences. Recent cyberattacks have shined a harsh spotlight on the need for agencies to better protect their data. At the same time, both the public and private sectors have been re-evaluating traditional security approaches that focus on the network perimeter to keep intruders out. There is wide recognition that these tactics alone are no longer sufficient to guard against cybercriminals and insider threats.

In the light of this, the U.S. government has resorted to zero-trust security, a model that assumes all traffic on a network could be a threat and requires every user to be authenticated and authorised before being granted access to any sensitive application or data.

While zero-trust security doesn’t protect networks from every possible attack, it reduces risk, speeds up threat detection and closes gaps in visibility. It is tailor-made for a world where cloud computing and an ever-increasing number of mobile devices are increasing the network attack surface and demanding finer-grain security controls.

The U.S. President has signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that included $1 billion for the Technology Modernisation Fund (TMF). It will give agencies a unique opportunity to make strategic investments to strengthen the federal government’s cybersecurity posture and help agencies develop state-of-the-art tools and infrastructure for a changing world.

Cybersecurity projects, including zero-trust efforts, take top priority for resources and funding available through the TMF. Federal agencies would be required to take a zero-trust approach to software vendors under a new executive order aimed at strengthening cybersecurity. Despite all this momentum, zero-trust security has been confusing and worrying some federal IT staff.

Implementing zero-trust seems less daunting when broken down into three smaller steps that federal IT organisations can take to get started:

  1. Be honest about the security in place now: If an agency is still relying on basic techniques like ID/password, this security is no longer good enough. Additional tactics such as two-factor authentication will help verify that users are who they say they are and what data and applications they should be allowed to access.
  2. Get a handle on where data resides: Zero-trust security requires a deep understanding of the data landscape and strict controls over who can access every piece of information. It is not possible without a precise inventory of what information is out there and where it lives.
  3. Look for opportunities to automate manual processes: A zero-trust architecture should include automation and orchestration technology that intelligently identifies and analyzes all this data and helps security teams rapidly address any threats.

Various federal agencies have published guidance in recent months on how to implement the zero-trust model. As reported by OpenGov Asia, The Defense Information Systems Agency is laying the foundation for next-generation cybersecurity with the release of the initial Department of Defence Zero Trust Reference Architecture (Dod ZT). Zero Trust is a cybersecurity strategy and framework that embeds security throughout the architecture to prevent malicious actors from accessing the most critical assets.

The document states the foundational tenet of the Zero Trust Model is that no actor, system, network, or service operating outside or within the security perimeter is trusted. Instead, they must verify anything and everything attempting to establish access.

The reference architecture describes seven zero-trust pillars – user, device, network/environment, application and workload, data, visibility and analytics and automation and orchestration – and outlines the zero-trust capabilities aligned with each.

The capabilities for the device pillar, include identifying, authenticating, authorising, inventorying, isolating, securing, remediating and controlling all devices. The architecture also outlines the technical, legal regulatory and procedural standards that apply to each pillar.

The intent and focus of zero-trust frameworks are to design architectures and systems to assume breach, thus limiting the blast radius and exposure of malicious activity. Moving from network-centric to data-centric cybersecurity model, zero-trust is a paradigm shift that leverages three guiding principles: never trust, always verify; assume breach; and verify explicitly.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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