The Department of Justice (DoJ) chief information officer (CIO) said today that the agency’s component offices have provided “overwhelming” feedback to Zscaler’s zero trust network access (ZTNA). 


“We actually have a couple of component offices – including our own Office of Inspector General – I think they’re 100 percent on zero trust broker on ZScaler at this point,” Melinda Rogers said at Zcsaler’s March 8 Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C.


In conversation with Zscaler’s Founder, Jay Chaudry, Rogers explained that the company’s ZTNA has allowed DoJ to begin to phase out VPN – an application that was described as slow and not simple or easy to use, which poorly affects the customer’s experience. 


“The feedback is overwhelming. We have frankly a lot of component offices that are lined up ready to go, and they are moving as fast as our headquarter’s function is able to support them,” Melinda said of adopting Zscaler’s ZTNA. “This is a priority for us.” 


Rogers explained that the key to the success of transformation and growth within any organization is focusing on the customer’s needs and wants. 


“It’s ultimately about knowing what it is your customers are looking for, and then how do you bring in the latest technology and the latest security and put it together in a way that solves your customer’s business problem,” Rogers said. 


“And you do so by enabling the mission, you want to optimize that user experience, and you do all that with the best safeguards, you can put in place,” she added. 


The Federal CIO said that cybersecurity is something the DoJ always takes seriously and is integral to the transformation journey. 


“It should be at the beginning of any ideation if you want to deliver a new solution,” Rogers explained. “Security should be looked at at the front end, instead of something that you bolt on at the backend and you end up with a sort of Frankenstein-like tub of solutions.” 


Chaudry pointed out that a major part of an agency’s transformation journey is the culture shift.


“Technology is only one piece of it,” Zscaler’s founder and CEO, Chaudry, said. “What we’re talking about with the zero trust architecture is an architecture change, which is a big piece of culture change and mindset change – which is much harder.”


“Change is discomforting,” he added.


Rogers said that, as a CIO, she has driven the culture shift at DoJ by engaging people at all levels – from stakeholders to end users – and showing how the transformation will optimize their experience. 


“If you can show how that change makes their world a better place, it’s going to be more natural of a transition than saying, ‘Here’s the policy, you must do this.’” 

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.