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Nov 01, 2021

Zero Trust Strategies Must Look Beyond the User

Too often, zero trust strategies overlook the critical importance of evaluating the endpoint device

By Matt Marsden, Vice President, Technical Account Management, Tanium

Escalating cybersecurity threats — combined with government mandates — are driving federal agencies to develop a zero-trust strategy. However, discussions about its architecture often center around the user — evaluating individual credentials, location and reasons for accessing specific data.

In a recent GCN byline, I discuss how zero trust strategies often overlook the critical importance of evaluating the endpoint device in addition to the user. While an authentication test might find that a user is legitimate, we must also determine if their device is safe. Without endpoint visibility, devices at the edge remain exposed to threats via unpatched vulnerabilities and insecure configuration settings.

The increased number of employees working on remote devices has made endpoint security a top concern. A user might access their agency’s network using a personal computer that hasn’t been patched in years, increasing the risk of breach.
Endpoint visibility is critical for government agencies to be confident that these endpoint devices have not been compromised. A zero trust strategy can examine these endpoint devices, and users, using real-time data, in order to make more informed decisions about allowing access.

What to look for in a zero trust solution

In their zero trust journey, government organizations need solutions that provide:

  • Real-time visibility of assets, both on and off-network
  • Clarity on the dependencies between assets, applications and services
  • Assurance that enterprise security policies remain applied to endpoints, regardless of whether or not they are domain-joined
  • Visibility into the trusts and permissions granted to users and assets in an active directory environment
  • Improved general cyber hygiene and insight into network-connected devices

The Tanium platform enables agencies to make informed decisions and act with speed to minimize the number of disruptions they may face. It helps agencies to manage end user, server and cloud endpoints with speed, scale and reliability. With ultimate visibility, agencies can reduce risk, detect threats and recover from security breaches within seconds.

To learn more about how Tanium can help government agencies to increase endpoint visibility and implement a zero-trust strategy, read my recent article on GCN.com.