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The US Government Wants You(r) Cloud Application!

Have a great cloud application that is successful in the private marketplace and considering selling to the federal government? There is a proven path to do this that could propel your company to financial success and reputational notoriety by getting a Federal cloud authorization! Government sales of cloud applications and cloud services can be very lucrative - but first, let’s answer some basic questions about this process to understand it more.

Who is interested in getting FedRAMP authorized?

Cloud Service Providers (CSP) interested in selling their cloud application to government must have a FedRAMP authorization. Government agencies wanting to use and procure cloud systems must use cloud service providers that are FedRAMP Authorized.

 

What is a FedRAMP authorization?

FedRAMP is a cybersecurity program that was established by the US Federal Government to provide a standardized approach to the assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring of cloud products and services. It is designed to help federal agencies assess the security of cloud services and ensure that they meet the required standards for the handling of sensitive information.

 

When should a cloud service provider get a FedRAMP authorization?

Most cloud service providers that are interested in selling to government agencies are aware of the market and understand what the government is looking to procure for specific services. A cloud service provider should work with agencies and other entities that work with agencies to evaluate the need for their specific application or service. The provider works closely with the agencies authorizing official contact once there is serious interest in pursuing FedRAMP authorization early on in the process, since the authorization is required for the authority to operate on the cloud service.

 

Where is a FedRAMP authorization conducted?

There are three core steps in a FedRAMP authorization consisting of:

  1. System Security Plan package documentation
  2. Security Assessment Plan including audit by an accredited third-party auditor (3PAO)
  3. Security Assessment Remediation

To remediate any existing vulnerabilities and gaps found in the audit, much of the work is done remotely with recurring meetings during the process. The audit is conducted in person, with the auditor doing a review of the system and audit interviews with key personnel.

 

Why do cloud service providers want to get FedRAMP authorized?

One of the main benefits of FedRAMP is that it provides a framework for evaluating and approving cloud products and services that can be used by multiple federal agencies. This helps to streamline the process of adopting cloud technology and can reduce the time and cost associated with evaluating the security of different cloud services.

 

How does a FedRAMP authorization help improve cyber security?

Another benefit of FedRAMP is that it helps to improve the security of cloud services used by the federal government. The program requires cloud service providers to meet rigorous security standards and undergo regular assessments to ensure that they continue to meet these standards over time. This helps to reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents, which is particularly important given the sensitive nature of the data that is often handled by federal agencies.

 

Key takeaways and final thoughts

Despite the benefits of FedRAMP, there are also challenges associated with the program. One of the main challenges is that it can be time-consuming and costly for cloud service providers to become FedRAMP compliant. The process of completing the required documentation and undergoing assessments can be complex and may require the investment of significant resources.

Overall, FedRAMP is an important program that helps to ensure the security of cloud services used by the federal government. While it may present challenges for some cloud service providers, the benefits of increased security and streamlined adoption of cloud technology make it an important consideration for any company looking to do business with the federal government.

Finally, and most importantly, a cloud service provider should conduct a serious due diligence exercise to ensure a FedRAMP authorization is right for them with expert consulting as needed. This will ensure time and money are spent effectively rather than losing opportunity time and creating unnecessary costs trying to understand how the authorization process works. 

Want to determine if FedRAMP authorization is right for your company? Contact Silent Sector today to speak with an expert. 

About the Author

Written by Eric Adams

In 2013, Eric started building the FedRAMP Fortify SaaS cloud for HP, which completed with FedRAMP JAB authorization in 2015 - (now Microfocus owns Fortify). In order to do this, Eric completed a large amount of system security plan documentation of the cloud system, upgraded security controls to meet standard with new technologies that did not exist previously, built product security for a new design with software engineers, trained teams to support the system, passed the third party audit with the 3PAO, and trained business sales to sell it, assisting in the sales and communication process. Eric did this for IBM Watson and Cloud later, for 30 SaaS applications, and automated the process to build the system security plan package in a few weeks rather than months. Additionally, Eric has built and lead worldwide teams as a CISO the last 5 years, building security technology to meet business risk and pass audits for SWIFT, ISO 27001, SOC1 / SOC2, and PCI compliance.