Google Cloud targets Biden’s zero trust order with new services

In addition to a suite of new security tools and services, Google Cloud today unveiled new offerings aimed at helping government organizations accelerate their implementation of zero trust architecture. Announced at the company’s Government Security Summit, the offerings include a planning tool, threat detection services, and a container-based solution for secure application access and monitoring.

Mike Daniels, VP of global public sector for Google Cloud, kicked off a news conference about the announcements by reflecting on Google’s own journey to zero trust.

“It started 10 years ago when we realized our systems were compromised by a nation-state actor,” he said. “We knew where they were, and we knew that we needed to change the way we approach security, kind of from the ground up.”

Now, these new offerings come on the back of a global uptick in cyberattacks by nation-state actors and a mandate from the White House to start migrating the government to zero trust security. In May, President Biden issued an executive order and gave all government agency heads 60 days to develop a plan to implement the architecture.

Zero Trust Assessment and Planning

To kick things off, Google Cloud announced a new service aimed at helping government agencies navigate step one. The Zero Trust Assessment and Planning offering consists of assessments, workshops, and strategy development, and it entails Google Cloud’s professional services organization (PSO) directly advising government organizations.

“Zero trust is something that everyone wants to get to but no one knows where to begin,” Daniels said. “That ‘how’ step is incredibly important, and it’s different for each one of our government organizations based on the IP landscape they have and what are the most pressing threats.”

From core applications to data, the company says the advising will be done in phases and address both core applications and data. The culture changes, policies, and technologies needed to achieve a zero trust framework are all part of the curriculum, and Google Cloud will help with the transition for existing assets and infrastructure in cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid environments.

Secure Application Access Anywhere

Additionally, Google Cloud also announced Secure Application Access Anywhere, a container-based offering for secure application access and monitoring. Leveraging Google Cloud’s Anthos, it’s intended to deploy and manage containers that provide secure access and monitoring for applications in cloud or on-premises environments.

The offering is being delivered in partnership with Palo Alto Networks and Google Cloud’s PSO team, and the company says it can serve as a “scalable, highly responsive alternative to government network boundary systems.”

Already, Google Cloud tested Secure Application Access Anywhere with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), an organization within the Department of Defense. Google Cloud reports the prototype of this solution helped accelerate DIU’s zero trust journey, specifically in regards to accessing software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps directly over the internet.

Daniels said the pilot started before the pandemic, but that “the timing was absolutely spot on.”

“They were exploring alternatives to this CAP system with respect to access, and we completed that prototype with a success letter from the IU just recently,” he said. “So [it’s] a great offering, and I think extraordinarily timely for our government customers.”

Active Cyber Threat Detection

Rounding out the announcements is a new service called Active Cyber Threat Detection. Delivered through a partner, Fishtech Cyderes, Google Cloud says it can help government organizations quickly determine if they may have been compromised by cyberattacks that they have not yet detected.

Steeped in threat hunting and detection, the service also leverages the capabilities of Google Cloud’s Chronicle. What’s more, both historic and current log data can be analyzed to detect threats.

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