General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) President Amy Gilliland talked about the vital role that system integrators play for Federal agencies, along with growing agency appetite for zero trust security technologies, during an address to the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) on Jan. 14.

During a wide-ranging interview at the NVTC event, Gilliland shed light on the continuing importance of system integrators especially amid increased uptake by Federal agencies of cloud services.

Using defense agencies as an example, she said that “system integrators have literally been sitting next to the warfighter in missions for decades,” As a result, they can bring to the table an advanced degree of mission knowledge, the nuances of an agency’s environment, and the customer’s concept of operations, she explained.

“We have great partnerships with technology companies … and through those partnerships, we train our employees on what capabilities they can come and bring to the environment,” Gilliland said. “At the end of the day, we can be an independent arbiter [and] vendor-agnostic in terms of looking at our customer and saying, ‘Hey, based on decades of knowing what happens in your environment, this is the best option for you.’”

“And once they make that decision – commercial off-the-shelf products don’t just plug into the customer environment, and so it is our job to then use that knowledge to help integrate them,” she said. “So whether you’re talking about cloud or zero trust or 5G or whatever it is,” the integrator’s role “is that important seam between the mission environment and the commercial technology … It is our job to make those two interfaces work.”

Asked about customer demand for technologies to accomplish zero trust security objectives, Gilliland said GDIT has seen agencies accelerating their transition to zero trust, either on their volition or with a push from the Biden administration’s cybersecurity executive order issued in May 2021.

“We have a whole stack, a cyber stack that we have tested in our own labs that we can tailor for those environments,” she said of GDIT’s capabilities.

“We’re delivering zero trust … at DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] through ICAM – the credentialing and access management tool that DoD will use for their unified environment from a communications perspective,” she continued.

Gilliland also pointed to zero trust-related work that the company is doing for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Department of Veterans Affairs. “There’s definitely a focus point on zero trust, and frankly, appropriately so,” she said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.