Dell Launches Project Fort Zero Service to Accelerate Zero-Trust IT Shift

Dell Technologies today launched a Project Fort Zero cybersecurity services initiative that promises to make it simpler for organizations to transition to zero-trust IT environments. The initiative is based on a reference architecture defined by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Announced at the Dell Technologies World conference, Dell will formally define this architecture in collaboration with 30 other companies in the next 12 months.

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In addition, Dell also launched a Product Success Accelerator (PSX) for Backup service which will help organizations implement best practices to ensure data is available and recover it in the event of a disruption or cybersecurity attack. Organizations can choose from three service levels including workshops and configurations, assessments and simulations and ongoing operational assistance.

Herb Kelsey, industry chief technology officer for government for Dell Technologies, said organizations are finding that implementing zero-trust IT requires a level of cybersecurity expertise many of them lack. Dell’s Project Fort Zero will define and create an end-to-end zero-trust IT environment that a government assessment team will then evaluate for accreditation and certify for compliance.

The fully-configured Project Fort Zero solution will also lower the barrier to zero-trust adoption, noted Kelsey.

In general, the U.S. federal government is making it clear that a more prescriptive approach to cybersecurity is required, not only for federal agencies but also for individual organizations, said Kelsey. The federal government is now moving beyond merely making suggestions as it crafts new regulations, he added.

That shift will bring with it a greater appreciation for IT architecture to ensure there are no dependencies that could inadvertently lead to an IT environment being compromised, said Kelsey. In fact, organizations now require a data-centric approach to cybersecurity; cybersecurity policies applied to any data set must move with it as that data migrates across an IT environment, he noted.

It’s not clear how quickly organizations are planning to embrace zero-trust IT architectures, but the one thing that is certain is that it will require a significant amount of time and effort. The one mistake many organizations are already making is adopting a piecemeal approach to making that transition. That will result in only modest gains over a longer period of time versus opting for a more comprehensive approach to ensuring cybersecurity resiliency faster, said Kelsey.

One way or another, a wave of regulations will require organizations to make significant investments in strengthening the overall security of their IT environments. In many cases, those investments are long overdue. Many organizations have been committed to little more than complying with mandates that only specify minimal cybersecurity requirements. That’s clearly in the process of changing, so organizations would be well-advised to start transitioning to zero-trust IT architectures today in anticipation of more stringent requirements that will inevitably be required.

Organizations will probably need some time to get used to the idea that they are going to be held accountable for how they build and deploy software and how they store data collected via the applications they deploy. However, it’s also apparent that the regulatory clock is ticking.

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Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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