On May 12, US President Biden issued a landmark executive order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity that signals the need for governments and enterprises alike to boost their cyber defenses around the principles of zero trust in their fight against cybercrime. In the wake of recent high-profile attacks such as the Colonial Pipeline incident and the SolarWinds breach, this expansive initiative lays the foundation for new cybersecurity best practices, increased communication between federal and private sectors, and new standards around cybersecurity incident handling.
This executive order comes at a time where cybercrime is becoming more lucrative. Today the impact of cybercrime is estimated to cost over $1 trillion annually or 1% of US GDP. In particular, the average cost of ransomware payments has more than doubled over the past year– with a stunning 92% of companies who pay the ransom never getting their data back. This fact alone should force a rethink of security ROI - particularly in today’s reality of cloud services, hybrid workforces and complex digital transformation initiatives.
A key aspect of the executive order requires agencies to move toward “secure” cloud services in a way that enables them to prevent, detect, assess, and remediate cyber incidents:
“As agencies continue to use cloud technology, they shall do so in a coordinated, deliberate way that allows the Federal Government to prevent, detect, assess, and remediate cyber incidents. To facilitate this approach, the migration to cloud technology shall adopt Zero Trust Architecture, as practicable. The Secretary of Homeland Security acting through the Director of CISA, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services acting through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) within the General Services Administration, shall develop security principles governing Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) for incorporation into agency modernization efforts.”
Cloud computing fundamentally alters traditional identity and security models, introducing multiple providers with greater points of risk and points of failure. With sensitive data increasingly outside the enterprise data boundary of firewalls and legacy security tools, dedicated cloud security platforms, such as a multi-mode cloud access security broker (CASB), are essential to secure cloud migration.
At the same time, this executive order will require organizations to implement a modern approach for distributed organizations with remote workforces accessing on-premise resources, going beyond traditional VPNs. With most organizations around the world shifting to remote working - securing access to internal resources on the network within a framework of zero trust is fast becoming not only a reality, but a requirement.
To learn how Bitglass is helping government agencies move toward Zero Trust Architecture, while avoiding the need to build out VPN infrastructures, download our brief on Bitglass Zero Trust Network Access for Government.