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Zero Trust Necessary to Protect Critical Data, Says DISA Deputy Director


Zero Trust Necessary to Protect Critical Data, Says DISA Deputy Director

Christopher Barnhurst, deputy director at the Defense Information Systems Agency, said protecting data from sophisticated cyberattacks is the main goal of adopting the zero trust cybersecurity principle to ensure warfighters can access critical information securely anywhere in the world. 

DISA has started implementing a prototype version of its Thunderdome zero trust security and network architecture program in various locations, including in the Pacific and the Pentagon, in early 2023.

Speaking at the Federal Networks 2023 conference in Virginia, Barnhurst noted that Thunderdome is just a part of a larger zero trust ecosystem and architecture in the Department of Defense but it is still a key component that enables secure data transmission, DISA .mil reported.

Booz Allen Hamilton built the Thunderdome prototype under a $6.8 million contract to replace the Joint Regional Security Stacks, which the DOD has used since 2013. 

Brian Hermann, the director of DISA’s Cybersecurity and Analysis Directorate, also spoke at the conference and explained that eliminating JRSS will enable the DOD to simplify data management and user experience.

Replacing the JRSS is also seen as a necessary move to improve the DOD’s cyber defense. According to a 2019 DOD inspector general report, the security system has weaknesses that malicious actors can exploit to access the DOD’s information network.

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Category: Cybersecurity

Tags: Booz Allen Hamilton Christopher Barnhurst cybersecurity Defense Information Systems Agency Department of Defense Federal Networks 2023 Thunderdome zero trust architecture