Implementing a Zero Trust Architecture

Conventional network security has focused on perimeter defenses, but many organizations no longer have a clearly-defined perimeter. To protect a modern digital enterprise, organizations need a comprehensive strategy for secure “anytime, anywhere” access to their corporate resources (e.g., applications, legacy systems, data, and devices) regardless of where they are located.

End-to-end zero trust architecture implementations to help industry and government reduce the risk of cyber attack

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) aims to remove the shroud of complexity around designing for zero trust with “how to” guides and example approaches to implementing a zero trust architecture for several common business cases.
Status: Preparing Draft

This project is currently in the build phase. We have selected the technology collaborators, who have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST.

Project Abstract

The proliferation of cloud computing, mobile device use, and the Internet of Things has dissolved conventional network boundaries. The workforce is more distributed, with remote workers who need access to resources anytime, anywhere, and on any device, to support the mission. Organizations must evolve to provide secure access to company resources from any location and asset, protect interactions with business partners, and shield client-server as well as inter-server communications.  

The NCCoE initiated this project in collaboration with industry participants to demonstrate several approaches to a zero trust architecture applied to a conventional, general purpose enterprise IT infrastructure on premise and in the cloud, which will be designed and deployed according to the concepts and tenets documented in NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-207, Zero Trust Architecture. The example implementations will integrate commercial and open-source products that leverage cybersecurity standards and recommended practices to showcase the robust security features of zero trust architectures.  

This project will result in a NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide, a publicly available description of the practical steps needed to implement the cybersecurity reference designs for zero trust. 

The proliferation of cloud computing, mobile device use, and the Internet of Things has dissolved conventional network boundaries.

Collaborating Vendors

Organizations participating in this project submitted their capabilities in response to an open call in the Federal Register for all sources of relevant security capabilities from academia and industry (vendors and integrators). The following respondents with relevant capabilities or product components (identified as “Technology Partners/Collaborators” herein) signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to collaborate with NIST in a consortium to build this example solution.

 

Federal CIO Council Efforts 

Since late 2018, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and NCCoE cybersecurity researchers have had the opportunity to work closely with the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council, federal agencies, and industry to address the challenges and opportunities for implementing zero trust architectures across U.S. government networks. This work resulted in publication of NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-207, Zero Trust Architecture.  

In November 2019, the NCCoE and the Federal CIO Council cohosted a Zero Trust Architecture Technical Exchange Meeting that brought together zero trust vendors and practitioners from government and industry to share successes, best practices, and lessons learned in implementing zero trust in the federal government and the commercial sector. 

The NCCoE project builds on this body of knowledge. We continue to share lessons learned with the Federal CIO Council and look forward to their continued feedback to inform NCCoE cybersecurity guidance and identify future challenges in this space. 

Join the Community of Interest

A Community of Interest (COI) is a group of professionals and advisors that share business insights, technical expertise, challenges, and perspectives to guide NCCoE projects. COIs often include experts, innovators, and everyday users of cybersecurity and privacy technologies. Members typically meet monthly by teleconference. Share your expertise and consider becoming a member of this project's COI.

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