Cyber threats are on the rise and expanding more than ever, and the United States Space Force has taken significant steps toward bolstering the nation’s cybersecurity defenses.
Among these steps is the recent awarding of Xage Security, a leading player in the cybersecurity field, a whopping $17-million contract to reinforce the service’s cyber defenses through a cutting-edge “zero trust” access control and data protection system.
Zero Trust: A Paradigm Shift in Cybersecurity
The Pentagon has long recognized the need for a more proactive approach to cybersecurity, which led to the adoption of the “zero trust” strategy.
Unlike traditional cybersecurity models that often focus on addressing issues after they occur, zero trust revolves around the continuous validation of users and devices to safeguard sensitive data.
Through this approach, it ensures that every individual and device accessing critical systems is meticulously authenticated and authorized, minimizing vulnerabilities.
Geoffrey Mattson, CEO of Xage Security, succinctly articulated the philosophy behind their approach, cited by Defense Scoop:
“We have this identity-first approach where we make sure if you are touching anything, we know who you are — and we know who you are really well. We make sure you’re a privileged user, we verify your level of privilege, we strictly control what you can do and monitor what you can do right now.”
Extending Zero Trust to Space Force Infrastructure
Under this groundbreaking contract, Xage Security will deploy its identity-based Xage Fabric across the entirety of the Space Force’s ground and space-based architectures. This includes satellites and other critical assets in both ground stations and space environments.
The implementation of Xage’s technology is poised to revolutionize how the Space Force handles cybersecurity threats, particularly as its collaboration with commercial space firms expands, thereby increasing the risk of cyberattacks.
Mattson emphasized the holistic nature of this solution, explaining how “[b]oth of these things require that they have a solution where they’re able to secure this entire chain, from the satellite to the base station to the network to the data itself.”
It’s an all-encompassing strategy aimed at safeguarding the entire digital ecosystem within the Space Force.
Three Key Priority Initiatives
The $17-million contract between Xage Security and the US Space Force encompasses three vital initiatives:
1 | Cyber Strengthening of Terrestrial-based Systems
This initiative focuses on reinforcing the security of terrestrial systems, including ground stations and modems. By applying zero trust principles to these foundational elements, the Space Force aims to create a robust defense against potential threats.
2 | Zero Trust Capabilities for Next-Generation Systems
As the Space Force evolves, it is crucial that its next-generation ground and space systems incorporate zero trust capabilities from the ground up. This proactive approach ensures that future assets are better equipped to withstand cyber threats.
3 | Secure Data Exchange
Securely sharing data is paramount in modern military operations. This initiative aims to ensure that data exchange within the Space Force is fortified against potential cyberattacks.
DoD’s Zero Trust Vision
The Department of Defense (DoD) has set ambitious goals in its pursuit of a comprehensive zero-trust approach.
In line with its vision, it is conducting assessments of zero trust plans from various components to ensure alignment with the department’s strategic objectives.
Randy Resnick, director of the zero trust portfolio management office within the DoD’s Chief Information Officer’s office, is leading these assessments.
As John Sherman, the DoD Chief Information Officer, explained at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit last month, these plans will adhere to the 91 capabilities needed to achieve a “targeting” level of zero trust by fiscal 2027.
Zero trust is predicated on the assumption that a network is already compromised, with recurrent user authentication and authorization thwarting adversaries and quickly identifying potential threats.
Unifying Zero Trust Efforts
Orchestrating the various military service’s individual zero trust initiatives into a cohesive whole has proven to be a complex task.
To address this challenge, the DoD has initiated weekly “huddles” and larger monthly meetings with services and communities of interest.
These sessions aim to educate stakeholders on how to implement the department’s zero trust strategy effectively.
Resnick described these meetings as “deep dives into the technology and successes that some of our folks in the DoD have achieved up to this point.”
Xage Security: A Pioneering Player
Xage Security is a trailblazing cybersecurity company that specializes in zero trust solutions. Their identity-based access management, secure remote access, and zero trust data exchange capabilities, all powered by the Xage Fabric, are at the forefront of cybersecurity innovation.
Xage’s expansion into the government sector, with Xage Security Gov, LLC, underscores its commitment to meeting the unique security needs of government customers.
Today, Xage Security Gov announced that the U.S. Space Force (USSF) has awarded us a $17 million contract to provide zero trust access control and data protection across current and next-generation ground and space architectures. Read the press release https://t.co/d3s1ErEf9b pic.twitter.com/8WUaz3KDzk
— Xage Security (@xageinc) September 27, 2023
Matthew Heideman, an industry veteran, leads Xage Security Gov as its President. The Xage Fabric is readily available to provide identity-based access management, secure remote access, and zero trust data exchange to communication satellite operators and mission operators.
Furthermore, it is available to the Federal Government for mission-critical systems, ensuring that the nation’s most vital assets remain protected.
With cyber threats and evolving digital landscapes becoming more and more heightened than ever, Xage Security’s partnership with the US Space Force represents a significant stride towards securing the nation’s space-based assets and operations. Through the implementation of zero trust principles, the Space Force is positioning itself to defend against current and future cyber threats effectively.