Secure government, enabled by Zero Trust and shared services

Central government is one of the most commonly targeted walks of life when it comes to cybercrime. The volume, value and sensitivity of the information that government bodies deal with every day means that the potential rewards for sophisticated, well-resourced cybercriminals are substantial. It’s for that reason (amongst others) that the government, through organisations such as the National Cyber Security Agency, works tirelessly to safeguard data, systems and applications.

What has made this undertaking much more difficult in recent years – aside from the increasing capabilities and organisation of cybercriminals – is the changing world of work. Through the pandemic and beyond, remote and hybrid working has become much more commonplace, along with greater use of cloud computing, and in some cases Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) arrangements. This has enabled far more flexibility and productivity for government bodies and their workforces alike, but has brought with it some new security implications – and the need for a new security approach.

Key challenges to central government security

The Government’s Cyber Security Strategy has pinpointed some areas for improvement that need to be made in order to maximise cyber resilience. With so many attacks being waged against governmental systems, and the scale of their capabilities, the risk of major disruption to public services and functions is substantial. However, achieving this in practice can be difficult for a number of different reasons:

Making the most of Zero Trust and shared services

One cost-effective way of enhancing security provision in a more flexible world of work is to adopt shared services. This is where many back-office operations are consolidated into a central hub, used by many different departments. These shared services have already been implemented by central government in a number of areas, but their value is even more apparent in an era of financial constraints, rising security threats, and increased use of the cloud from remote locations.

From a security perspective, instead of each department investing in its own security provision, they can all contribute to a much stronger shared solution, which provides better protection for a lower outlay by each department. However, this should also come in conjunction with a new approach to security, one that protects all data, systems and applications, however, wherever and whenever they are accessed.

That approach is Zero Trust, where all access and usage is assumed malicious until it can be proved otherwise through the use of authentication and verification tools. It’s a philosophy that is gaining traction with governments around the world, including in the United States, where the use of a federal Zero Trust architecture strategy has been mandated by 2024.

Zero Trust means that complete control over access and authorisation can be provisioned and monitored across all data, systems and applications. This allows remote workers, operating outside the traditional network infrastructure and security framework, to be productive through easy access – without any risk of unauthorised users gaining access at the same time.

How SCC can help

SCC has decades of experience working with central government bodies to keep all their technology and digital information secure. We’re in tune with the evolution of the digital world, across both the public and private sectors, and have developed a suite of Zero Trust solutions for shared services with modern challenges in mind. These include:

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