locked network (sdecoret/Shutterstock.com)

Can TIC 3.0 and zero-trust co-exist?

As the concept of zero trust gains traction in government, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is working to make the strategy mesh with the third version of the Trusted Internet Connection policy.

Some commenters on the TIC 3.0 draft said they were concerned about how the policy would work with emerging zero-trust cybersecurity frameworks that don't automatically admit users inside network perimeters.

Under TIC 3.0, agencies can assign security "zones" of varying degrees of trust from high to low. Within those zones, some TIC 3.0 draft commenters said, users can share data. That capability, they said, is at odds with the "trust no one" interconnection approach of zero-trust principles.

Although TIC 3.0 is more aligned to zero-trust frameworks than TIC 2.0, CISA is thinking about how to bring it closer, said Sean Connelly, CISA's TIC program manager, speaking at a Feb. 20 FCW cloud security conference.  “The trust zones," he said, "are elastic and dynamic. It can be networked. It can be used with containers, an app, a user. We hope that that is understood by the greater community."

When CISA releases its final draft of TIC 3.0 guidance, the agency will also issue a separate "lessons-learned" document distilled from the comments as a whole, Connelly said.

Additionally, he said CISA might take up zero trust in coming use cases it is developing with agencies.

"We understand the interest in it. It's possible we may be able to tie to the remote-user use case, which is in the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] memo," he said.

CISA's draft handbook release in December, contained two kinds of use cases, "traditional" and "branch office--remote."

Although Connelly said CISA is hoping to publish the final draft of the documents this spring, he declined to give FCW a specific publication date, citing OMB and others' review of the document.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/Shutterstock.com)

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected