Not to pat ourselves on the back, but this article serves the purpose of helping out our readers and clients. Many of them have expressed confusion about what FedRAMP is and what it does. If you’re one of these people, you’re in the right place. This article’s designed to give you a quick overview of FedRAMP. Are you ready to learn about cloud storage topics? Let’s dive right into it.
You might have no clue what FedRAMP is, and that’s okay. So, what is FedRAMP? Let’s start with the name. FedRAMP stands for “Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.” It’s designed by the United States government. Why? To provide a standard approach when it comes to internet security. This includes three important factors. 1. Security authorizations. 2. Security assessments and acquisitions. 3. The monitoring of any cloud service or product.
This government program helps businesses apply best practices to their cloud technology techniques. This is so companies can maintain a high level of protection and security. That security prevents federal information from getting into the wrong hands. It also assists in ensuring cloud solutions get handled in an appropriate manner.
Let’s go back to the year 2011. This was when the OMB began to create the Federal Risk and Authorization Program. OMB stands for “Office of Management and Budget.” Why did the OMB decide to create FedRAMP? Many parties had been complaining for a decade about cost and risk issues. As you may know, operating a cloud service can carry a series of big risks and costs. But FedRAMP’s creation was not only for the benefit of cloud service parties. It was also designed to assist government agencies/departments with cloud service needs. The GSA made FedRAMP official in June of 2012.
Despite its cost to join, the program was an immediate success. Cloud services that applied to the government program soon became easier to manage. Finally, some structure was in place. Risk assessments became easier to maintain. The OMB then alerted all relevant parties of an important notion. All cloud services with access to government information must get authorized by FedRAMP. FedRAMP’s security requirements simplified many processes for cloud providers. There was a lot of confusion before FedRAMP existed.
Why? Because each federal agency had its own guidelines. The agencies were operating with independent methods about cloud service operations. This was due to 2002’s Federal Information Security Management Act. The creation of FedRAMP made that act obsolete.
Almost all popular cloud solutions providers have secured FedRAMP certification. Once a company has FedRAMP certification, it can sell products with relative ease. That’s because the products become authorized by FedRamp in an official manner. Contact our firm for a complete list of all companies and services. We can go over every single one that has FedRAMP certification. Sure, we could list the companies in this article.
But it would take quite some time to read such a long list. Companies like Accenture and Adobe come to mind. They both have many of their products certified by the government. For example, Accenture has two major products with FedRAMP certification. They have a Federal Cloud ERP and Insights Platform (API) for Government. Even Accenture’s Xtended Detection & Response (XDR) for Government has gotten certified.
Adobe has two important products with FedRAMP certification. Adobe Analytics and Adobe Campaign have gotten certified by the US federal government. One of the companies with the most FedRAMP certification is Amazon. That’s because Amazon is developing many cloud technology services. Amazon intends to compete with all cloud agencies in the coming years. This will impact cloud companies in every region of the globe. Amazon even created a division called AWS. AWS stands for Amazon Web Services. AWS has already become a leader when it comes to many cloud computing functions.
This is one of the most common questions John Adams IT receives about FedRAMP. FedRAMP authorizations have gotten required in an official manner for years. The authorizations apply to all federal agency cloud deployments. This refers to cloud deployments of any impact level. Deployments of Low, Moderate, and High levels of impact must adhere to FedRAMP. You might wonder if there are any exceptions or exempted services. There are, but they refer to private cloud deployments. The private cloud deployments have to apply to single agencies.
But that’s not the only concept to keep in mind. The private cloud deployments must get implemented top-to-bottom inside federal facilities. Does your private cloud deployment follow these regulations? If so, there’s a good chance that FedRAMP is not mandatory for your organization.
Yes, that’s correct. FedRAMP is a cyber security program that concerns risk management. In this case, risk management does not refer to all cloud services and products. Instead, it refers to cloud services and products that US federal agencies use. This means that most cloud service providers (CSPs) cannot work with government agencies. CSPs must have prior FedRAMP approval. That needs to happen before they can assist any US government agency.
FedRAMP certification/approval is never a fast process. There is no set timeframe by the government for how long the certification process takes. CSP supplied packages often get completed in two to three months. If you need an agency ATO, that’s going to take longer. The average agency ATO takes about four to six months before completion. Many people complain about FedRAMP’s JAB P-ATO assessment. The reason is simple. The JAB P-ATO assessment takes over half a year to complete. Most companies get it completed within seven to nine months.
Sure, these statistics are alarming for many companies. But try to remain patient. It’s well worth it in the end to get FedRAMP certified.
Are you a cloud provider seeking to become a CSP for FedRAMP? If so, there is plenty of information that you will need to read. Your first step should be to access GSA’s official guide. It’s called the “Guide To Understanding FedRAMP.” Set aside an hour or two of your time so that you can read it. This is because the PDF is fifty-eight pages long. But if you are serious about becoming a FedRAMP CSP, it is well worth your time. Otherwise, FedRAMP’s requirements may appear too ambiguous in other resources.
Let’s now go over the main requirements for your organization to become a CSP. First of all, you must be able attend to all types of electronic discoveries. Plus, you must be able to attend to all types of litigation holds. You also must be able to communicate what your specific system boundaries are. But the US government needs proof. You have to provide proof that you know how to recognize client responsibilities.
Plus, you must also submit proof that you can operate controls. You’ll need two-factor authentication for access to the network for privileged accounts. The same two-factor authentication for network access also applies to non-privileged accounts.
But wait- there’s one more two-faced authentication concept you must understand. There’s two-factor authentication for access to the following network. It’s for any network that has privileged account local access. Your team will need the ability to conduct code analysis scans. It also must have the ability to secure boundary protections with assets isolated. When it comes to skills, you or your team will need remediation skills.
The remediation skills that apply to all high risk issues within one month’s time. Plus, your team must convey a willingness to provide build standards for any type of device. Do you have system safeguards in place? You’ll need system safeguards that stop information transfers that haven’t gotten authorized. You or your team will also need cryptographic safeguards. What are cryptographic safeguards? They are safeguards that ensure data remains private during all transmissions. As you know, it gets harder by the day to keep data secure.
Yes. FedRAMP applies to any service models/cloud deployments that work with federal agencies. The level of risk impact makes no difference. It could below. It could be moderate. Or it could be high. But in all cases, the models and deployments have no choice but to work with FedRAMP. There is only one exception to this. Your organization must meet all the following criteria. 1. You must work for a private cloud deployment 2. That deployment can only apply for specific organizations. 3. The deployment must get 100% implemented inside a federal facility.
FedRAMP also requires that every agency has to send out a report once per quarter. The report has to get featured in PortfolioStat. Each report should list every cloud service that doesn’t meet the standards of FedRAMP. A detailed reason should get written next to each cloud service. Agencies are welcome to also write a proposal for how they can get in good standing with FedRAMP.
There are two major entities associated with FedRAMP. The first one’s known as the JAB. JAB stands for “Joint Authorization Board.” CIOs serve as the major figures that are members of this board. CIO stands for “chief information officer.” The CIOs travel across three US government institutions. 1. The Department of Homeland Security. 2. The Department of Defense. 3. The General Services Administration.
JAB plays a crucial role in governing the actions of FedRAMP. In fact, the members of JAB serve as the official decision-makers of FedRAMP. Most online applicants get their cloud services authorized through JAB. JAB takes part in the policymaking process by applying P-ATO. P-ATO is the government’s official way of abbreviating “provisional authorization.” But keep in mind you can get your cloud services authorized through other means.
There are other individual government agencies that can assist you. But JAB is often the easiest route to take. Programs like these have become very popular. That’s why the government continues to build more cloud agency buildings. The buildings go to show how important the management of cloud data has become.
Let’s now discuss the second major government entity that applies to FedRAMP. It’s called the PMO. PMO stands for “Program Management Office.” This entity operates inside the region of the GSA. GSA stands for “General Services Administration.” What is its mission? To lend a helping hand toward cloud service providers and various support agencies. This takes place through FedRAMP’s official authorization process.
(Contact our team today if you’d like to learn more about the GSA and its data policy.) The PMO also keeps secured online storage of authorizations approved by FedRAMP. This ensures that security packages can get re-used whenever necessary. But authorization must exist first.
US federal agencies are the most relevant and important FedRamp partner. No entity has benefited more from FedRAMP than all the federal agencies. FedRAMP ensures that each agency saves two crucial factors: time and money. This is due to the innovations FedRAMP has helped stimulate for many cloud services. Any federal agency can now get their needs taken care of faster thanks to FedRAMP.
The second major partner of FedRamp is 3PAOs. 3PAO stands for “third-party assessment organization.” What do these organizations and their acquisition do? They conduct regular cloud system assessments. This is to make sure that all cloud companies conform to FedRAMP rules and regulations.
So, who is the third and final major partner of FedRAMP? Cloud service providers. FedRAMP guidelines assist cloud service providers of all shapes and sizes. Vendors now have an official resource for how to conduct best practices. Almost all federal agencies now depend on FedRAMP’s cloud service providers. The quality of most cloud services has improved since FedRAMP’s creation.
FedRAMP features its own online marketplace. It is a database in which people can locate the best CSOs. Every CSO in the marketplace has official FedRAMP certification. Besides CSOs, accredited auditors are also featured in the FedRAMP Marketplace. Each accredited author first has to take a FedRAMP assessment. What are these assessments called? “3PAOs.” You can access more information about taking assessments on the FedRAMP website. The PMO of FedRAMP operates and maintains the FedRAMP Marketplace.
It’s important to understand all FedRAMP compliance requirements. This process must take place before a CSO can work with any federal agency. CSO stands for cloud service offering. There are many compliance stipulations associated with commercial CSOs. So, where can you view the requirements? They are all outlined in the NIST 800-53. It’s a special catalog featuring privacy and security controls. They apply to every US federal information system. The only exception is for CSOs that focus on national security.
You can also view the requirements by contacting the FedRAMP PMO. PMO stands for Program Management Office. One of their representatives can go over all the basic requirements. Plus, you can also learn more about authorization policies for CSPs. That authorization gets granted through the FedRAMP ATO. ATO stands for Authority to Operate. Make sure that you and your team learn about every high-level requirement. Otherwise, you might not gain authorization and compliance.
Many of our clients get confused about who operates the cloud security controls. Here is the short-answer. It depends on the situation. To be a little more specific, it depends on the proposed solution. Both third-parties and the CSP must take care of certain security controls. Understanding this policy of shared responsibility can seem confusing. If you are uncertain of your organization’s role, you should contact FedRAMP.
Keep in mind that the CSP has created a CIS. CIS stands for “Control Implementation Summary.” It features an outline of the common controls that the CSP operates. It also introduces you to the main responsibilities of hybrid-controls and third-party controls.
Keep in mind that the CSP does not stop there. It has also created an SSP. SSP stands for “System Security Plan.” This plan has answered a lot of third-party questions. The SSP details the key control responsibilities. It also explains how each control can affect certain common entities. You might want to have your team take a look at some SSP and CIS templates. Both of which are always featured on FedRAMP’s official government website.
FedRAMP isn’t the only federal program that can benefit CSPs across the United States. To learn more about your cloud security options, please contact our firm at any time. We can help you begin any application process to get your product or service authorized. Once you have authorization, you’ll have the opportunity to partner with organizations. After all, the US federal government isn’t the only agency that could benefit you.
There are many other cloud security programs and services that can benefit you. To find out more about the programs, our CSP experts are standing by. They maintain compliance with a variety of cloud programs, both gov and non-gov. But also feel free to contact us if you have any questions about anything related to cloud services. Our team is ready to lend our services to any cloud process. Our team has helped major companies like Amazon (AWS) receive CMMC certification. And we’re ready to help with every cloud service need.