Data security issues affect businesses in nearly every industry. However, when government data is involved, these concerns can increase exponentially due to the increased risk to national security. To help guard against these threats, the U.S. government now requires all cloud services used by federal agencies to meet a strict set of security standards referred to as FedRAMP.
What Is FedRAMP?
The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a type of cybersecurity risk management program designed for the purchase and use of cloud services and products used by federal agencies in the United States. Only cloud service providers (CSPs) who have met FedRAMP compliance requirements can work with government agencies. FedRAMP was originally initiated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to the 2011 Cloud First Policy.
FedRAMP Compliance Requirements
Commercial cloud services must demonstrate that they meet all FedRAMP compliance requirements before they can be used by a federal agency. These requirements can be found in NIST 800-53 and are supplemented by the FedRAMP Program Office (PMO). To earn FedRAMP authorization and compliance, a cloud service provider must meet the following high-level requirements:
- Complete FedRAMP documentation, including an FedRAMP System Security Plan (SSP)
- Implement controls that meet FIPS 199 categorization compliance
- Develop a Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M)
- Have cloud offerings assessed by a FedRAMP Third-Party Assessment Organization (3PAO)
- Implement a Continuous Monitoring (ConMon) program that includes monthly vulnerability scans
- Acquire Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Agency ATO or Provisional ATO
Becoming FedRAMP authorized can be highly challenging but essential to meet the level of security standards required by law. This rigorous software-as-a-service certification consists of 14 applicable laws and regulations, in addition to 19 guidance documents and standards, making FedRAMP one of the most difficult certifications in the world.
FedRAMP is controlled by a Joint Authorization Board made up of representatives from the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. It was put in place to enforce consistency in the security of cloud services used by government agencies and provides a single set of standards that can be used by all cloud providers and government agencies. Once a cloud service provider becomes FedRAMP certified, they are listed in the FedRAMP Marketplace which is the first place that government agencies go when sourcing new cloud-based solutions.
Inquire About FedRAMP Compliance Services
Before the JAB accepts the residual risk of a system and confirms an Authority to Operate (ATO), a business must provide documentation that thoroughly details the systems, authorization boundaries and controls. To help organizations pursue an ATO and meet FedRAMP compliance, we have developed services designed to streamline the FedRAMP process.
SeaGlass Technology is a leader in IT cloud services and security. Our NYC team of experienced and certified technicians can help your organization become compliant through services like readiness assessments and advisory consulting. For more information about our FedRAMP compliance services or to schedule a consultation with our expert IT professionals, contact SeaGlass Technology today.