Dell launches Project Fort Zero to deliver validated Zero Trust military grade solution

Project Fort Zero quietly got underway last year, and included a new Dell Zero Trust Center of Excellence, and a partner ecosystem announced in April to accelerate Zero Trust adoption, and based on this momentum, Dell intends to deliver a validated, advanced maturity Zero Trust solution within the next 12 months.

Herb Kelsey (L) and co-COO Jeff Clarke onstage

LAS VEGAS – Today, Dell Technologies announced the introduction of Project Fort Zero Trust, which pledges to deliver an advanced maturity Zero Trust solution that will be validated by the U.S. Department of Defense within the next 12 months. This key expansion of Dell’s security portfolio is intended to help organizations reduce the risk of cyberattacks, and accelerate the adoption of Zero Trust solutions generally.

“With Project Fort Zero, what we have been doing is working with the U.S. Federal Government since the time that they put out an executive order asking that the entire U.S. government look at Zero Trust as their security framework,” said Herb Kelsey, industry chief technology officer, government, at Dell Technologies.

“So we have been working with the Department of Defense,” Kelsey said. “We just announced that we have over 30 partners that are involved with us to accelerate the U.S. Government’s adoption of Zero Trust through this Project.” This includes Microsoft, NVIDIA, Palo Alto Networks, and other major players in the space.

Kelsey then laid out how all of this will work.

“The keys for this are that it’s going to be an end-to-end solution,” he said. “It’s going to meet the Advanced Zero Trust criteria that the department of Defence and Intelligence Community have published, and we will be validating that solution early this summer.”

Kelsey said Dell and its security strategic partners have already completed the pre-work that was done before they announced this as a Dell project.

“In this first phase, we established a Center of Excellence, where we could do the integration work of our capabilities with 30 plus partners,” he indicated. “At the same time, we were working within our services organization to build the advisory services. So that’s phase one, which was completed in October.” Then in April. we just announced our partner ecosystem, which completed the second phase.” This is why Dell is so confident that the project will be completed within the next twelve months notwithstanding its difficulty – a good part of the work has already been completed.

“What we’ve also been doing in that timeframe is going through our design and build phases for this solution,” Kelsey indicated. “We’re in the test phase now and then, as we move into 2,024, what we’ll be able to do is to show that we’ve been validated to meet the U.S. Government standard for either a target maturity or advanced maturity of Zero Trust, and we’ll be making this available for both our commercial customers and for our government customers.”

Kelsey noted how a truck behind him during his presentation was important, and served as an example of what Project Fort Zero will produce.

“The truck behind me is one of the form factors for this Zero Trust capability,” he said. “It’s one of the main use cases that governments and commercial entities will have around the world. This truck will be a Zero Trust platform transmitting a 5G signal, and will be on the show floor during the event.”

Other use cases include on-premises data centers for organizations where data security and compliance are key, remote or regional locations like retail stores where secure, real-time analysis of customer data can deliver a competitive advantage, and scenarios like where the truck fits in, in the field where a temporary implementation is needed in places with intermittent connectivity for operational continuity.

Kelsey also stressed that Project Fort Zero will overcome a key issue with the adoption of Zero Trust, that while it is designed for decentralized environments,  integrating it across hundreds of point products from dozens of vendors, which are not uncommon in enterprise deployments, has been too complex.

“This makes it out of reach for most organizations,” he said. “We’re helping global organizations solve today’s security challenges by easing integration.”

In addition to Project Fort Zero itself, Dell is expanding its security portfolio with Product Success Accelerator [PSX] for Backup, a new service to help organizations protect and recover data in the event of disruption, and is now available in locations across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. It follows the recent release of PSX for Cyber Recovery, which implements and helps operationalize an isolated cyber recovery vault.

“We have been doing a lot of work around developing a Zero Trust architecture with Project Fort Zero, which puts us many years ahead of the marketplace,” said Rob Emsley, Director of Product Marketing for Data Protection at Dell Technologies. “John Roese [Global Chief Technology Officer Products and Operations at Dell Technologies] is driving our Zero Trust strategy, which we started to roll out last year. Project Fort Zero is putting a guardrail behind the solutions set that we can offer, but there’s still no such thing as absolute security, which is why you need good backup and recovery solutions.”