What Is FedRAMP and Its Impact on Government Cloud Security

What Is FedRAMP and Its Impact on Government Cloud Security

Nowadays, more and more government agencies have switched to cloud-based solutions. However, this move also brings forth significant downsides, such as exposing critical federal data to cybersecurity threats, which could drastically escalate into a matter of national security.

For this reason, a critical program known as FedRAMP has been established to help government agencies secure their data on the cloud.

What Is FedRAMP and Its Impact on Government Cloud Security

What Does FedRAMP Mean?

FedRAMP or the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. 

What is it, and why should it matter?

FedRAMP overview

FedRAMP is a United States government initiative established in 2011 that standardizes the security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring of cloud products and services. It helps federal agencies adopt modern cloud technologies without sacrificing data security and privacy. 

Who manages FedRAMP?

According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), FedRAMP is managed by two entities: the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) and the Program Management Office (PMO). The JAB is the program’s main decision-maker and includes the Chief Information Officers (CIO) from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and the General Services Administration.

Meanwhile, the FedRAMP PMO is located within the GSA. It helps government agencies and cloud service providers throughout the authorization process. It is also responsible for maintaining a secure archive of FedRAMP authorizations. Once a cloud service provider (CSP) has been FedRAMP approved, their assessment and authorization information (security packages) can be used again by other federal agencies. This means that each agency can conduct its own security assessment for a different service.

What Is FedRAMP and Its Impact on Government Cloud Security

What does it mean to be FedRAMP compliant?

What does being FedRAMP certified mean, and what is FedRAMP compliance? 

FedRAMP certified means that a CSP has undergone the FedRAMP security assessment and is allowed to provide its services to federal government agencies.

There are two ways to get a FedRAMP JAB authorization. You can get provisional authorization through JAB or an agency. JAB reviews and selects around 12 CSPs annually to undergo a JAB Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO). The JAB P-ATO is a preliminary authorization that allows a CSP to offer its services to federal agencies while undergoing the FedRAMP authorization process.

See also: FedRAMP vs ISO 27001

Impact and Benefits of FedRAMP on Government Cloud Security

To sum it up, FedRAMP protects sensitive federal information and speeds up the use of secure cloud solutions within government agencies. Here’s a detailed explanation of how it impacts government cloud security:

Standardizes cloud security assessments

FedRAMP provides a consistent security framework that standardizes the security and risk assessment of cloud services and federal agencies. This means that cloud service providers and federal agencies should meet the same high standards when it comes to cloud security.

Improves data security

FedRAMP’s strict requirements improve the security measures of cloud services used by government agencies. CSPs are required to implement strong controls that protect against increasing cyber threats so federal data remains confidential, complete, error-free, and available to authorized persons.

What Is FedRAMP and Its Impact on Government Cloud Security

Minimizes redundant work and lowers expenses

A standardized process like FedRAMP means multiple agencies don’t have to perform the same security assessments independently. Instead, they can rely on a single, comprehensive evaluation and avoid repetitive efforts. Each agency can save money and spend resources on other critical initiatives by reducing redundancies.

Increases the use of cloud services

Cloud services offer numerous advantages to organizations. They are more cost-effective, flexible, scalable, and environment-friendly than traditional, on-premise infrastructure. With FedRAMP certification, CSPs can show they’re committed to cloud security, making it easier for government agencies to adopt their technology and experience the multiple benefits of cloud services.

Encourages collaboration on cloud security

FedRAMP helps government agencies and cloud service providers collaborate to achieve high standards in cloud security. It encourages CSPs to innovate measures that improve security and meet government requirements. Through FedRAMP certification, government agencies gain access to secure technologies, while CSPs benefit from government contracts and increased credibility.

Risks of Noncompliance With FedRAMP Standards

Failing to comply with FedRAMP standards can pose several risks for government agencies and CSPs. In essence, noncompliance:

  • Increases the risk of sensitive federal data being exposed to malicious actors
  • Results in legal penalties, including fines and loss of contracts.
  • Security incidents can lead to disruptions in critical government services.
  • Erodes the trust between CSPs and government agencies, making it difficult for providers to secure government contracts.

Use Cloud Services With FedRAMP Compliance

FedRAMP is an important government program that enhances the security of cloud services used by U.S. government agencies. It provides a standardized assessment and requires CSPs to follow strict standards in cloud security. Using FedRAMP certified services offers numerous benefits, including increased trust and cost savings. Conversely, noncompliance leads to significant risks, including data breaches and legal consequences. 

Cloud services with FedRAMP compliance are the best choice for government agencies that want to maintain data security. 

Kent Cañas

Kent is a content strategist currently specializing in HIPAA-compliant online fax. Her expertise in this field allows her to provide valuable insights to clients seeking a secure and efficient online fax solution.

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