Leading to Zero Trust through Culture Shift

By Donna Roy

At the top of a summit, the view is clear. You can see in all directions, and all paths, allowing you to guide your team toward achieving their goal, while steering them clear of major obstacles as they trek forward. Whether scaling a large summit or implementing the new Zero Trust principles, these feats require leadership and guidance at every step to ensure a clear path forward for the team that embarks on the journey.

A successful journey to adopting Zero Trust principles requires an established foundation to guide people, processes, and technology through a significant transformation.  A surplus of recent Executive Orders surrounding cyber threats has left many agency leaders uncertain of the most effective starting point and how they can successfully navigate the change within their organization with minimal disruption to their mission and users.

To begin your journey, you must first understand the importance of assessing risk inherent to your organization. Managing and mitigating the risk to your enterprise means understanding the data, the value it has to your daily operations, and the means of protecting it from cyber threats.  Whether it is reputational risk, disruption of critical operations, or loss of revenue, the role of the C-suite leadership team is to develop balanced strategies to mitigate what are determined to be the greatest risks. Strategies may include securing funding for new investments, aligning current investments, hiring and/or developing new skill sets, and navigating the obstacles within your workstreams so your enterprise will achieve the goals set forward.

At the trail head, your team will not have visibility of the full path. They may not have the same understanding of impending risks and how to best mitigate them. Their view is localized. They have a great perspective on the obstacles directly in front of them, and localized approaches to overcome them. While they battle the day-to-day obstacles, you can help your team achieve the goals you set forth for Zero Trust if you guide them through alternate approaches and encourage collaboration across the enterprise. Here are some ideas on shifting culture to increase adoption of the Zero Trust principles:

  • Adopt an identity-centric approach in the services built out for people, devices, applications, and other service capabilities with your chief information officer (CIO), chief data officer (CDO), and chief information security officer (CISO) working together
  • Build or curate a data asset inventory focused on risk and operational value, and working with your senior risk official, chief financial officer and CDO to invest in data management and data literacy practices for the highest value assets
  • Implement data governance in your centralized identity services: people, devices, applications, and service capabilities, including the log data needed to understand the inner workings of your ecosystem, then assess how your Zero Trust initiatives are generating an impact within your senior infrastructure teams, CISO, and CDO
  • Evaluate how IT modernization underway is tied to your high value assets and find opportunities to align business process improvements to changes associated with Zero Trust


Implementing large-scale transformation requires an extensive change management plan.   Securing the trust and cooperation of your team may require defining your success through incremental progress and the achievement of short-term targets. This will foster an environment that holds leaders accountable and minimizes distractions along the way.


What is (re)Vision™?

The Guidehouse methodology for addressing large-scale change initiatives such as an IT modernization implementation is called (re)Vision™. Our (re)Vision methodology is our way of leading change through a people-centric framework and design process using behavioral science techniques. In doing so, we guide clients in the transformation of their strategy, structure, people, processes, and technology at every stage. By applying the (re)Vision methodology, we work collaboratively with clients, typically as an integrated team.


Why Guidehouse?

Guidehouse understands the complexity, time, and financial constraints of implementing the Zero Trust principles as part of IT modernization. Guidehouse has successfully led the Zero Trust deployment at the enterprise level for federal organizations. Guidehouse will present time-saving strategies, approaches to avoid financial pitfalls, develop change management systems, and ensure compliance throughout the process.

Let Us Help Guide You

Complexity demands a trusted guide with the unique expertise and cross-sector versatility to deliver unwavering success. We work with organizations across regulated commercial and public sectors to catalyze transformation and pioneer new directions for the future.

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