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Zero Trust Architecture

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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Zero Trust – uncomplicating public sector


As with most larger corporations and public organizations, the City’s infrastructure and technical complexity has been overwhelming, preventing efficient introduction of new technology, services and solutions.


While Smart products is a simple sensor and a control unit and a Smart building is several sensors and several control units, we complicate Smart city initiatives by pretending it is more technically challenging. A Smart city is a place where quality of life exists, technology assisted or not.


To lower the bar for innovation we have built a Zero Trust Network (https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/cyberpedia/what-is-a-zero-trust-architecture) in all public buildings like schools, nursing homes and offices. In short, a Zero Trust Network is a network without any security enabled. Open for everyone. We have also covered the city with an open Long Range sensor network (https://lora-alliance.org/).


To succeed in such a strategy, the plan and implementation needs to consider all parts of the organization, hence the word “gestahlt” in our plan. It means “an organized whole”. We moved the Norwegian public sector 20 years ahead in a few months.


As all City services now depends on a cloud based open infrastructure, there were a few challenges we had to overcome. First is printing to local printers. We have solved this by implementing a common printer service in the whole city. All employees now print to only one server, and you will get your print when scanning the QR code on a specific printer. Although everything is now open and cloud based, this is even more secure than before, as you will have to be physically present to get your prints.


The other challenge is to authenticate users when all you need to access all the citys services and applications is a browser. In this instance, we have not reinvented the weel, but reused the multi-factor authentication known from Google, Microsoft, Amazon and its like. The innovation lies in marrying these methods with the national authentication component (ID Porten).


The end result is that all employees, citizens, politicians and businesses can use their cellphone to authenticate to all the citys services in a secure manner, even if they all live in the cloud and are being accessed by any brower from anywhere in the world. Embedding the national authorization component was vital since a lot of our services include managing patient, emergency and other critical and sensitive data.


You can compare our setup to online banking, just that you get everything you need to get your job done in your browser instead of only your bank.


This technical achievement combined with some innovative financial instruments has given us the ability to introduce new ways of operating, new ways of collaborating with citizens and a more agile organization. We are now able to keep up with the pace of the evolving society around us.


Having this capacity, with our new low bar for innovation, makes the City of Kristiansund very appealing to the global front runners, as they can get a reference customer in days or weeks instead of months or years. We constantly have executives and upper management from these companies meet in our tiny city on the west-coast of Norway, cheering us on, and helping in every way they can.


We see the same effect in academia. Researchers and multi-national programs invite us in as a contributor in a myriad of projects.


We currently work with NTNU (Norway), University of Groningen (Netherlands), University of Copenhagen, University of Queensland and several centers of national and global expertise.


Our public health initiatives are organized with staff hired from the Moser’s Nobel institute.


Our school initiatives were presented on stage at ICSEI, International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement.


Lately we have been invited into the research arena “ecosystem for innovation in the sector”.


For the last year we have been on the board of “The human side of digitalization”. The goal of this research project is to document the expectations and requirements our future work force has for the public sector to be an appealing workplace.


Everything Kristiansund does is rooted in the UNs Sustainability goals. The citys overall strategic plan is based on the sustainability goals and the strategies are divided into a 4 city focus, the warm, the smart, the wise and the brave city. All of our supporting plans in schools nursing homes and other institutions will have to answer for the 4 city perspectives in their plans. This way, the schools should not only be wise, but also brave and smart. The nursing homes should not only be warm, but also brave, wise and smart. Actions is taken to fulfill these strategies yearly. Forcing a diverse focus drives innovation at each location. This uncommon approach to public strategies is also giving us visibility in the more overall public governance spectrum.


Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - a public sector citizen-centric, sustainable and fit for the future - supra-local and local level
Award type: nominee
Award year: 2019
Project type
Sector: cross-sectoral
Type of activity:
Keywords: Public zero trust architecture health child and smart city
Short English description: To lower the bar for innovation we have built a Zero Trust Network (https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/cyberpedia/what-is-a-zero-trust-architecture) in all public buildings like schools, nursing homes and offices. In short, a Zero Trust Network is a network without any security enabled. Open for everyone. We have also covered the city with an open Long Range sensor network (https://lora-alliance.org/).
Further information
Organisation: City of Kristiansund
Other applicants:
Homepage: https://www.kristiansund.kommune.no/tjenester/politikk-og-administrasjon/by-og-samfunnsutvikling/pakobla-kristiansund/
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Norway
EU membership: other European country
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Zero Trust Architecture (63.111736198965005, 7.7316659688949585)
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