FedRAMP logo as moon in cloudy sky

INDUSTRY INSIGHT

3 major advantages to FedRAMP

According to a Gartner report, government spending on IT services is expected to rise 5.4% to $168.63 billion in 2021. As innovation transforms industries, government agencies are faced with not only implementing new capabilities but ensuring they keep up with current standards -- and it often falls on IT managers to find and educate decision-makers on viable solutions.

Enter the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. First conceived a decade ago, FedRAMP  seeks to deliver a cost-effective, risk-based approach that facilitates federal agencies’ adoption of cloud services.   

Today, FedRAMP provides a standardized governmentwide approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring of cloud products and services. Once a provider is FedRAMP authorized, federal agencies can be sure their partner offers known levels of security, flexible deployment and subscription models -- and often cost savings. The program’s “do once, use many” framework provides tremendous value.

Below are a few other ways that the program works to help empower government agencies.

Streamlines cloud compliance efforts

As the push for cloud migration grows, implementing new systems will become critical for agencies. Compliance officers are increasingly rolling out cloud smart solutions that can help agencies follow cybersecurity executive orders.

FedRAMP-authorized cloud service providers are required to file annual independent audit reports with sponsor agencies (or the Joint Authorization Board) to document that they are adhering to the program’s rules and standards. In addition, CSPs are required to conduct monthly continuous monitoring sessions, disclose any findings and review milestones and action plans. 

Meanwhile, federal agencies that are still using on-premises, server-based applications are required to file documentation every six months explaining why they are not using a cloud-based system.

FedRAMP-authorized systems help agencies reduce paperwork for compliance documentation, as well as access logs, security scans, intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS/IPS) logs and physical and logical access controls, all of which is updated regularly.

By providing a readily accessible set of compliance documents compiled by the CSP, FedRAMP gives government IT managers planning cloud migrations a streamlined approach to compliance.

Creates efficient workflows

FedRAMP also helps to limit duplicative efforts by providing a common security framework, enabling agencies to review their requirements against a standardized set of security profiles. Agencies can use these well-documented profiles to determine the type of security needed for their data, creating efficiencies during the initial selection and analysis process. As a core design aspect of FedRAMP, a CSPs solution is authorized once, continually maintained and, after achieving authorization, can be reused by any agency -- making it adaptable and reusable.

Similarly, FedRAMP helps to minimize the documentation review process by allowing CSP teams to submit full packages at once for approval, rather than piecemeal, often resulting in more efficient program management across functions.

Ensures data protection

The FedRAMP process helps ensure that authorized services are regularly monitored and scanned for vulnerabilities and that staff are alerted to potential risks and errors in real-time using detection tools. Security experts at the CSPs ensure their solutions comply with FedRAMP requirements, including protecting the infrastructure, by creating a multitier defense perimeter with authentication barriers for data and applications. With an approach that includes security tools, multifactor authentication, vulnerability detection, log offloading, file integrity monitoring, IDS/IPS, web application firewalls, anti-malware/ransomware/virus and offsite disaster recovery, FedRAMP can help agencies streamline their needs without losing sight of security.

Cloud compliance is essential, and agencies must ensure that any CSP they work with can offer solutions with features that are matched to their data protection needs. Without robust security profiles and rigorous cloud compliance efforts, sensitive data can potentially fall into the wrong hands. However, leveraging FedRAMP-authorized services can provide organizations with solutions that can help them protect data in the cloud.

FedRAMP forward

While the program can seem complicated, learning the ins and outs of FedRAMP can help drive efficiency in security and compliance efforts. And, of course, innovation is never static -- the experts behind FedRAMP are already exploring using automation and artificial intelligence tools to help streamline the program. With their constant innovations, FedRAMP-authorized solutions are a smart choice for federal agencies. 

About the Author

Brad Arrington is senior manager of vertical marketing, integrated federal and special account channel, with Canon U.S.A., Inc.

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