Education Dept’s Steven Hernandez: AI Deployment Key to Building Zero-Trust Infrastructure

Steven Hernandez
Steven Hernandez

Steven Hernandez, chief information security officer at the Department of Education, said that implementing artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation will support the foundations of a zero-trust architecture, Federal News Network reported Monday.

Hernandez told the publication in an interview that establishing zero-trust concepts is crucial to implementing outsourced services such as cloud computing that entail a “certain amount of trust” with agency contractors.

“One of the foundational pieces of zero trust is the more data you have, the better you understand it,” he said. “The more history of data you have, the better decisions your automation can make.”

Hernandez noted that collaborations between data officials such as general counsels and chief data officers are also key to developing a zero-trust infrastructure and training the “trust engine” through datasets such as attendance records.

He added the Education Department is also working to deploy qualitative metrics as employees continue to operate in telework settings.

Hernandez’s comments come after the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released its Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) 3.0 guidance last month and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established a working group for zero-trust implementation.

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