US Air Force Adopts Zero Trust to Secure Flightline Operations

Zero trust is an important part of business transformation. As the information infrastructure expands with new technologies and locations, zero trust allows organizations to focus on protecting the data, regardless of where it is sourced or how it is used.

Now the U.S. Air Force has adopted zero trust to improve and protect its flightline. 

The flightline, strictly speaking, is the aircraft’s maintenance area; either an area of runway or a hanger. It effectively includes any part of the airfield where an aircraft is being prepared for flight. However, data from each aircraft in the flightline must be returned to a central repository for analysis and to ensure that enough parts are available to guarantee – quite literally – the uptime of each machine.

Typically, in the past, data from the aircraft would be transferred to a USB drive and literally walked to applications in the hanger, or further afield to the central repository. The flightline consequently would comprise the aircraft in its maintenance position, a maintenance engineer with a USB drive, and the central server. This is what is being updated to zero trust.

The primary driver for the move to zero trust is the digitization of workflows. This allows processes that had previously been done on paper to be done digitally – but requires a new level of digital protection to protect the data and the workflows. 

“You could describe the adoption of a zero-trust model as part of the digitization of aircraft maintenance,” said Duncan Greatwood, CEO of Xage. “The key parts,” he continued, “are firstly the movement of data – often by the physical carriage of a USB drive.”

This is neither efficient nor ultimately ..