The fiscal year end of the U.S. Federal government is weeks away, and with it the final push of spending to help agencies achieve their FY2022 goals.
The FY2022 appropriations includes significant funding to boost the federal government’s cyber posture, including for zero trust and other initiatives aligned with President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order (EO) 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. Yet federal agencies operated under continuing resolutions (CRs) for half their fiscal year before the $1.5 trillion FY2022 appropriations bill was signed into law on March 15, 2022.
Federal contracting officers will be working hard up to the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2022, to obligate funding in support of agencies’ missions.
At the same time, federal agencies are already planning their FY2024 budget requests. In a July 22, 2022 memorandum Administration Cybersecurity Priorities for the FY2024 budget, the White House OMB Director and National Cyber Director (NCD) reminded agencies that the Cybersecurity EO calls for “bold changes and significant investments” to “lead by example in the strengthening and modernization” of federal IT systems and networks,” including prioritizing zero trust implementation.
With cybersecurity and IT modernization initiatives a top priority, agencies can invest year-end funds to support Zero Trust Implementation. How is a zero trust architecture implemented? Through Zscaler’s Zero Trust Exchange. This integrated platform of services protects users and workloads using identity and context to securely broker user/device, IoT/OT, and workload communications over any network from any location. The Zero Trust Exchange architecture secures users, applications, and data, rather than the network. How does this benefit federal agencies?
Secure your users
In today’s world, the workforce is dispersed and applications no longer reside solely in the data center. Users of government systems can include federal workers, citizens, contractors, and industry partners. These users are accessing the agency network through a spectrum of devices and often connecting through the internet. The result is increased security threats as the attack surface expands, and poor user experience while access to applications and data is backhauled through on-premises data centers.
Zscaler operates the world’s largest security cloud, with over 150 data centers around the world handling approximately 250 billion transactions per day, blocking over 7 billion security violations per day, and experiencing over 200,000 unique security updates per day. The Zero Trust Exchange enforces security policies at the edge, near the user, to eliminate backhaul latency and provide a faster and more reliable user experience.
Secure your workloads
Workload protection involves securing the communications that occur between applications, such as ERP software in one cloud that communicates with a database in a legacy payment collection system.
By adding controls around the specific applications, instead of around every device or user, workload protection helps you answer questions, such as, “Which applications are communicating? Which ones should be communicating? Are the right systems talking to one another without allowing malicious traffic to persist?”
With insight into these questions, you can allow only verified workloads to communicate in your public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, mitigating risk, and offering the highest level of data breach protection. Organizations can build and run secure cloud applications as well as secure multi-cloud connectivity.
Secure your IoT/OT
Unsecured IoT devices are especially at risk for cyberthreats because they maintain connectivity to digital infrastructure. Zscaler released a study in 2021 which showed that IoT malware attacks rose 700% during the pandemic. Applying the same zero trust architecture protects IoT/OT vulnerabilities by enforcing strict policies so that users and devices can access only what they need, and only after authentication.
Securing IoT/OT requires making sure you are considering the security around all of your infrastructure. Manufacturing and plant operations, healthcare devices, barcode readers, payment terminals, smart watches, and smart TVs are just some of the many “smart” devices that are entering your organization.
Implementing a zero trust solution can mitigate the threat of IoT malware, both on managed and BYOD. Zscaler works to secure access for any device to both private applications and the internet, easily scaling up or down with changing requirements.
Choosing the right zero trust partner
When it comes to government security, working with an industry leader who can meet required Defense Information Systems Agency’s impact levels is critical. Whether your agency has a requirement for FedRAMP High, FedRAMP Moderate or DoD Impact Level 5, cloud service providers must be trusted to store and process data that is considered at the very highest level of unclassified but controlled. Zscaler is committed to meeting the government’s requirements to manage data in the unclassified environment with the most stringent of security controls. The recent FedRAMP high authorization for Zscaler Internet Access is the latest in a series of accreditations across federal, state and local government that ensure your zero trust journey is secure with Zscaler.
Paths to procurement
With agencies required to obligate their 2022 fiscal funds, an easy path to procurement is even more important than usual. One way Zscaler helps to shorten procurement times is availability through AWS Marketplace, an online curated software catalog that helps customers find, buy, and immediately start using the software and services that run on AWS. Also, through our partnerships with Carahsoft and other systems integrators and resellers, government agencies have access to leverage government contracting vehicles including GSA 2GIT, GSA MAS, NASA SEWP V, ITES-SW2, and ESI BPA.
Ease of deployment
After you select a zero trust platform, deployment is where the rubber meets the road. Look for a deployment team that supplements your own technical team to minimize the learning curve and free up IT, security, and audit team resources. Built on best practices from implementations across the Fortune 500 and public sector entities, Zscaler helps organizations efficiently and quickly leverage a zero trust architecture. But best practices are just a springboard, as Zscaler's team works with your staff to find your key use cases and your key metrics. From presale architecture discussions to post sales implementation, Zscaler guides your staff and shows how easy zero trust can be to deploy with the right partner.
The pivot from legacy security architectures to zero trust can seem daunting, so let our team show your staff how big changes are as easy to make as small ones. Zscaler allows you to focus on the whats and “whys” of security policy—not the “hows.”
The stakes have never been higher for government agencies to prioritize their digital transformation to ensure data integrity, provide an optimal user experience and thwart the attempts of bad actors to compromise national security. Whether you are taking the first steps toward implementing a zero trust architecture, or you are already building a zero trust strategy that allows for the network and security transformation that ultimately enables digital transformation, Zscaler will partner with your agency to successfully navigate the journey.
What matters most is getting started. Every day that passes is a risk to cyber vulnerabilities that can be countered. We’ve already helped more than 300 public sector organizations and we’re ready to be of service. Complete this form to speak with one of our federal experts to help with federal year-end funds planning.