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Want improved cybersecurity? Use the Zero-Trust method

Nearly all private sector organizations and all federal government agencies are trying to adapt to the Zero-Trust methodology. This involves hardening the network to where proof of identity authentication must be performed successfully. It embraces the hybrid workplace, protects cloud migration, and protects devices, apps, and data wherever they’re located.

The federal government is pushing hard for agencies and federal government contracting companies to adopt Zero-Trust cybersecurity architectures based upon the Office of Budget Management (OBM.) Zero-Trust architecture essentially resets the security posture of the organization to act as if hostile insider attacks and external adversaries have access to the network. For example, the attacks tend to look like internal actors until forensic investigations reveal that the actor is indeed an external threat that infiltrated the internal network.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework heavily emphasizes the Identification and Authentication (IA) domain. This uses Multi-Factor Authentication for local and network access to privileged and non-privileged accounts alike. As cyber breaches continue to rise at an alarming rate, the principal interests of these attacks have been centered on stolen credentials and identify theft, such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII).

The CMMC is heavily geared to the Zero-Trust cybersecurity model. CMMC’s goal of ensuring Zero-Trust posture within an organization is a huge task, but an absolute necessity. This is to gain confidence in the security of hardware and software which is used by many contracting companies seeking CMMC accreditation.

Many contracting companies seeking CMMC accreditation are working with largely outdated network systems that have significant vulnerabilities to breeches by attackers within the software and hardware of their network system. With CMMC 2.0 coming out, the Department of Defense will require contracting companies and third-party accreditation vendors to strive to meet the Zero-Trust endeavors.

As federal agencies rush to adopt Zero-Trust architecture, contracting companies who desire work will be required to meet the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity signed by President Biden earlier this year. Many contracting companies who desire to do business with the federal government will be required to meet National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) Special Publications 800-27 for implementing a Zero-Trust architecture.

For private sector companies confronted with CMMC 2.0, many contractors will be forced to acknowledge the years of underinvestment regarding their network system. They’ll also be required to meet all security controls regarding the IA, and it will be mandatory that all cloud-based information systems enforce the Zero-Trust methodology.

In the coming months, all CMMC authorized accreditations will enforce the Zero-Trust methodology and require those organizations seeking CMMC approval to provide evidence of all IA security controls. This will be mandatory to obtain business from the federal government. Private sector companies should adjust their budgets accordingly for the 2022 fiscal year to account for this new methodology enforced by the Biden administration. Those organizations will need to work closely with reputable third-party assessment firms to ensure their business model adheres to the Zero-Trust methodology to obtain business contracts. This is not only advisable; it will be an absolute necessity. Embrace and prepare for it.

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