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Policy-driven authorization and the U.S. Federal Government

Learn three reasons why federal agencies should consider policy-driven authorization to help them modernize their approach to access control.

The federal government is faced with a unique set of challenges as they are tasked with guarding a large volume of top secret and classified data (which includes personally identifiable information or PII) as new threats emerge daily.

Because of this, ensuring secure access for the right users, at the right time and under the right circumstances is a top priority. This is where policy-driven authorization plays a critical role.

For federal agencies that want to modernize their approach to access control and adhere to the federal government’s Zero Trust mandate, here are three reasons to consider policy-driven authorization.

1. Compliance

There’s not always a clear path for federal agencies when it comes to compliance. There are often mandates with broad deadlines, which don’t provide many details on how to achieve the goal.

In the case of the Zero Trust White House mandate, the Department of Defense (DoD) turned to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) when determining how to proceed in implementing a Zero Trust framework.

The government is looking to implement Zero Trust because of its “never trust, always verify” mindset.

The mindset requires people to take responsibility for the security of their devices, applications, assets, and services; users are granted access to only the data they need and when needed – need to know.

Working with a policy-driven authorization vendor like Axiomatics federal agencies can develop a pragmatic, targeted strategy to implement Zero Trust and meet with other regulations.

Zero Trust enables agencies to get more fine-grained, which can help improve auditing.

2. Security

Security is always important, especially when an organization holds so much sensitive data that needs to be protected. This is why federal agencies must know who gets access at the right time as it can reduce insider and outsider threats.

Security clearances change all of the time, with some officials getting increased clearance and others getting less clearance also known as provisioning and de-provisioning.

Though it is important for clearances to be changed on demand, the issue of standing privileges – where officials maintain privileges they no longer need/should have – can and does happen.

Policy-driven authorization can ensure real-time analysis of access requests, eliminating the risk from provisioning.

Working with Axiomatics, authorization policies can be created easily and enable access control in real-time with specific permissions to ensure compliance without affecting the flow of business. This provides a safety net of knowing that access is based on real-time information and mitigates the risk of error.

3. Efficiency and Scalability

When information in the government is siloed (either across agencies or even within a single department) it can be difficult to know who has access to what.

It also means, in a lot of cases, that there are multiple copies of the same information within different government applications, which is a risk. The fewer copies of the information, the safer and easier it is to protect.

This means that to reduce the risk, the information would need to be stored in one place and shared with the people who are supposed to have access to it.

>As agencies reduce the amount of silos, it makes it easier to audit and protect the information, the system becomes more efficient and it becomes more scalable for the future. It also provides a better user experience for citizens, employees and vendors using the applications.

Plus, isolated authorization does not work with a Zero Trust strategy, which agencies must implement by the 2027 deadline.

What about FedRamp?

The Axiomatics solution is not a hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS), so we are not required to be FedRamp certified.

However, we have served civilian, military, and intelligence agencies in the U.S. government for a number of years.

We are on the General Services Administration (GSA) and also offer an air-gapped solution for sensitive installations. Our product is cloud-native and can be installed with the flexibility that your environment requires.

Take the next step

For more than a decade, Axiomatics has worked with civilian, military, and intelligence agencies in the US government to help them with their authorization.

Download our solution brief to learn more about our approach to enabling Zero Trust within your organization, and request a demo to meet with our experts for a deeper dive into our policy-driven authorization solution.

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About the author

Steve has more than 30 years of IT and Security experience, working at companies including EMC, CA, and IBM prior to joining Axiomatics as VP of Sales. He has worked with all industries - from Wall Street to Major Pharmaceuticals to the Public Sector. His recent focus has been with the US Federal Government, due to the clear direct ties to Federal regulatory requirements with the Axiomatics solution.