Applying zero trust in federal IT

Patrick Sullivan, CTO of Security Strategy at Akamai Technologies, joins host John Gilroy on this week's Federal Tech Talk to discuss Zero Trust and how to appl...

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This week on Federal Tech Talk, host John Gilroy speaks with Patrick Sullivan, chief technology officer of Security Strategy at Akamai Technologies. He will give listeners a well-respected opinion on applying zero trust to federal information technology.

Patrick Sullivan, CTO, Security Technology, Akamai Technologies

The discussion began by contrasting network segmentation to micro-segmentation. This is an essential prelude before beginning the conversation about zero-trust architecture. One way Sullivan describes the benefits of micro-segmentation is that it limits the “blast radius” of a cyber attack.

He draws a parallel with ship construction. Independent parts are designed to survive autonomously if there is an attack. The same applies to a cyber attack: micro-segmentation will limit the damage to a specific, defined area.

Sullivan also suggests that concepts like “orchestration” and automation will enable systems administrators. There is no way a person can manually configure a system into microsegment without taking advantage of automation capability.

Probably the highlight of the interview was the observation that the path to zero trust is not a “one size fits all.” Every federal agency varies with legacy systems and current migration. A customized approach that is based on compliance and best practices for deploying zero trust.

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