Trusted Internet Connections


The Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) initiative, since its establishment in 2007, has moved the government from a period of uncontrolled and unmonitored internet connections to a controlled state, reducing the .gov’s attack surface. In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum (M) 19-26: Update to the TIC Initiative, TIC 3.0 expands on the original initiative to drive security standards and leverage advances in technology to secure a wide spectrum of agency network architectures. This new version of TIC is highly iterative, which means the guidance will better reflect modern processes and technological innovations compared to previous iterations of the program. TIC 3.0 recognizes shifts in modern cybersecurity and pushes agencies toward adoption, while recognizing their challenges and constraints in modernizing IT infrastructure. 

Latest Updates:

On April 7, 2021, CISA released finalized versions of the TIC 3.0 Traditional TIC Use Case and TIC 3.0 Branch Office Use Case. The documents are the first official TIC use cases approved by the Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Council for TIC 3.0.

Check out the TIC Guidance Repository here for the current versions of the guidance!

    Core Guidance Documents

    OMB M-19-26 tasks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) with modernizing the TIC initiative to help accelerate the adoption of cloud, mobile, and other emerging technologies. To further this effort, CISA has released guidance to assist federal civilian agencies in their transition to contemporary architectures and services.

    The updated TIC guidance provides agencies with the flexibility to secure distinctive computing scenarios in accordance with their unique risk tolerance levels. Agencies are expected to reference the initiative’s Program Guidebook, Reference Architecture, and Security Capabilities Catalog to determine how to protect their environments to conform with their risk management strategy and the security considerations outlined in TIC use cases.

    Check out the TIC Guidance Repository here for the current versions of the guidance!

    The following TIC guidance documents are sequential in nature and should be read in the following order to gain a complete understanding of the modernized initiative:

    1. Program Guidebook (Volume 1) – Outlines the modernized TIC program and includes its historical context
    2. Reference Architecture (Volume 2) – Defines the concepts of the program to guide and constrain the diverse implementations of the security capabilities
    3. Security Capabilities Catalog (Volume 3) – Indexes security capabilities relevant to TIC
    4. Use Case Handbook (Volume 4) – Introduces use cases, which describe an implementation of TIC for each identified use
    5. Overlay Handbook (Volume 5) – Introduces overlays, which map the security functions of a service provider to the TIC capabilities

    The use cases, overlays, and security capabilities will continue to be developed, including those listed in OMB M-19-26. CISA expects to post updates to the Security Capabilities Catalog, and additional TIC use cases, to this site as they become available. CISA is coordinating with the Federal Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) Council TIC Subcommittee to develop use cases above and beyond those listed in the memoranda, including use cases for zero trust, partner networks, and other pertinent scenarios. The TIC use cases posted to this site are not an exhaustive representation of all the scenarios agencies may wish to consider when securing their environments. Agencies are encouraged to combine uses cases, as appropriate, to suit their needs.

    Note: Historical TIC program documentation has been archived to the TIC page on OMB MAX.

    Complementary Implementation Guidance

    In addition to the core guidance documents, CISA has developed and released complementary guidance to address exigent needs or support agencies during TIC 3.0 implementation.

    TIC 3.0 Interim Telework Guidance

    The TIC 3.0 Interim Telework Guidance was produced to support OMB M-20-19 and the surge in teleworking. This document provides security capabilities for remote federal employees securely connecting to private agency networks and cloud environments. The guidance is short-term for Calendar Year (CY) 2020. Best practices from this guidance have been incorporated into the draft Remote User Use Case.

    Capacity Enhancement Guide for Remote Vulnerability and Patch Management

    In support of the TIC 3.0 Interim Telework Guidance released in April 2020, CISA released a Capacity Enhancement Guide (CEG) for Remote Vulnerability and Patch Management. The purpose of this document is to assist federal agencies with patching roaming devices (i.e., remote devices outside agency campus networks). This guide assists federal agencies in leveraging the TIC 3.0 Interim Telework Guidance to improve remote vulnerability management efforts to meet the growing demands on network capacity that may otherwise require an increase in bandwidth for existing internet service providers (ISP) or virtual private network (VPN) services.

    Guidance Release Schedule

    The TIC 3.0 guidance is designed to be dynamic and readily adaptable to keep pace with technological innovation. CISA will continue to produce and update the guidance through collaboration with agencies and vendors to maintain relevancy.

    While most of the TIC 3.0 guidance will be updated on an annual or semiannual basis, some of the TIC guidance documents will be updated on a more regular or ongoing basis, namely the Security Capabilities Catalog. The table below indicates the current versions and statuses of the TIC 3.0 guidance.

    Document

    Status

    Version and Released Date

    Program Guidebook (Volume 1)

    Final

    1.0 (July 2020)

    Reference Architecture (Volume 2)

    Final

    1.0 (July 2020)

    Security Capabilities Catalog (Volume 3)

    Regularly Updated

    1.1 (April 2021)

    Use Case Handbook (Volume 4)

    Final

    1.0 (November 2020)

    Traditional TIC Use Case

    Final

    1.0 (April 2021)

    Branch Office Use Case

    Final

    1.0 (April 2021)

    Remote User Use Case

    Draft (RFC Completed January 2021)

    Draft (December 2020)

    Overlay Handbook (Volume 5)

    Final

    1.0 (November 2020)

    Pilot Process Handbook

    Draft

    Draft (December 2019)

      TIC Pilots

      Agencies are encouraged to participate in TIC pilots that may be developed into use cases to help identify the security capabilities required to protect different types of modern computing scenarios. CISA, in coordination with the OMB and the Federal CISO Council, established a framework for agencies to execute pilots. Each pilot is expected to:  

      • Address technology that can be used by the broader federal government,  
      • Identify applicable security capabilities to secure their environments, 
      • Explain how the applicable security capabilities requirements are met, 
      • Follow a defined and structured timeline, 
      • Be carefully considered and planned, and 
      • Be supported by agency leadership. 

      The piloting process is a collaborative and iterative process that ensures consistency in the execution of each pilot. Sponsoring agencies are the primary executors of this process, while other key stakeholders, like CISA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Council TIC Subcommittee, will review submissions, provide feedback and offer ongoing support in accordance with OMB M-19-26.

      Following the conclusion of TIC pilots, CISA leverages the findings and lessons learned to develop TIC use cases. It should be noted that the TIC use cases are agency-agnostic and technology-agnostic to provide the broadest applicability across the .gov.

      Pilots and agency best practices combine to result in TIC use cases. One pilot could include CSP #1 and agency A. A second pilot could include CSP #2, agency B, and a CASB.

      Agencies interested in piloting TIC 3.0 architectures in diverse scenarios should review the process outlined in the draft Pilot Process Handbook. Pilot proposals should be submitted to the Federal CISO Council TIC Subcommittee. Additional pilot information can be found on the TIC Pilot Process page on OMB MAX.

      This graphic shows TIC use cases becoming agency solution architectures. The graphic shows solution architectures for agency A, agency B, agency C, agency D, and agency E.

      TIC Use Cases

      The modernized initiative, M-19-26, no longer requires agencies to route traffic through TIC access points if they have a TIC alternative. The purpose of TIC use cases is to provide agencies with guiderails for implementing TIC 3.0 in scenarios that do not necessarily require the use of a TIC access point. The use cases supplement the guidance detailed in the Reference Architecture.

      TIC use cases provide guidance on the secure implementation and configuration of specific platforms, services, and environments. The guidance is derived from TIC pilots and best practices from the public and private sector. Each use case identifies security architectures, data flows, and environments applicable in a given scenario and describes the implementation of relevant TIC security capabilities. TIC use cases articulate:

      • Network scenarios for TIC implementation,
      • Security patterns commonly used within the federal civilian enterprise, and
      • Technology-agnostic methods for securing current and emerging network models.

      TIC use cases are designed to be general architectures for securing specific scenarios that agencies can use as a framework to build their own use cases custom to their mission needs and risk tolerances.

      Agencies must understand the inherent risks in implementing scenarios that do not leverage TIC access points. Agencies must leverage the use cases, in coordination with guidance from their senior officials accountable for risk management, to implement compensating controls that fortify their network and cloud environments. Additional information on use cases can be found in the Use Case Handbook.

      CISA expects to continuously generate TIC use cases as new and emerging technologies are implemented across the .gov.

      The TIC Use Cases available to agencies for reference are listed below.

      CISA is actively working to develop additional use cases. CISA is prioritizing the development of the use cases outlined in M-19-26. After those use cases are complete, CISA will work with agencies to develop other use cases widely applicable across the .gov.

      The upcoming use cases outlined in M-19-26 include:

      • Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IaaS)
      • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
      • Software-as-Service (SaaS)
      • Email-as-a-Service (EaaS)

      Other use cases under consideration for development include:

      • Zero Trust Architecture
      • Internet of Things (IoT)
      • Partner Networks
      • General Services Administration (GSA) Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Managed Security Service (MSS)
      • Unified Communications

      TIC & National Cybersecurity Protection System

      As outlined in the TIC 3.0 Program Guidebook, TIC and the National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) initiatives will continue to support and complement each other in accordance with the Federal Cybersecurity Act of 2015. However, CISA will provide independent guidance for each of the respective programs.

      NCPS is supporting the TIC modernization efforts via the release of its Cloud Interface Reference Architecture (NCIRA). NCIRA is being released as two individual volumes. The first volume provides an overview of changes to NCPS that accommodate collection of relevant data from agencies’ cloud environments and provides general reporting patterns for sending cloud telemetry to CISA. This second volume (currently in draft) builds on the concepts presented in NCIRA Volume One and provides an index of common cloud telemetry reporting patterns and characteristics for how agencies can send cloud-specific data to NCPS. Individual cloud service providers (CSPs) can refer to the reporting patterns in this volume to offer guidance on their solutions that allow agencies to send cloud telemetry to CISA in fulfillment of NCPS requirements.

      As agencies architect their networks to adopt the TIC 3.0 use cases, agencies are required to engage with the NCPS program to determine the appropriate telemetry that is being shared with CISA. Additional information concerning NCPS can be found on CISA's NCPS page.

      FAQ

      CISA encourages agencies to read and review the core guidance for TIC 3.0 linked above as the primary avenue to answer outstanding questions. However, to aid agencies in implementing the guidance, CISA maintains a list of frequently asked questions for agencies’ reference.

      Contact

      For questions concerning the TIC Program, please contact: tic@cisa.dhs.gov

      Sean Connelly, Trusted Internet Connections Program Manager

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