Fed Agencies under a Cloud

Monday, December 12, 2011 @ 02:12 PM gHale


The Cloud will fall under a government-wide security standard for assessing, authorizing and monitoring products and services for federal agencies.

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), establishes a set of baseline security and privacy standards that all cloud service providers will need to meet in order to sell their products to government agencies, said Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.

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All federal agencies must use only FedRAMP-certified cloud services and technologies for public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds and community clouds. The program also covers all cloud service models, including Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

FedRAMP will also provide federal agencies with standard procurement language to use in requests for proposals from cloud service vendors.

A Joint Authorization Board, consisting of security experts from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense will be responsible for updating the FedRAMP security requirements on an ongoing basis.

A group of third-party assessors hired from the private sector will be responsible for independently assessing cloud service providers and certifying their compliance with the standards.

The Federal CIO council, a group of government IT executives that set federal IT management practices, will publish an initial set of baseline security and privacy controls for cloud providers within 30 days, VanRoekel said.

FedRAMP will allow the federal government to cut the cost of securing cloud deployments, VanRoekel said. The program should help government agencies avoid the inconsistent, duplicative and time consuming processes that each uses today for security assessments and authorizations, VanRoekel said.

“FedRAMP is a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and monitoring,” he said. It will establish a “do once, use many times” framework that could reduce by up to 40% the cost of securing cloud environments, VanRoekel said.

The DHS, the GSA, the Defense Department, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) have been jointly working on the FedRAMP specifications for close to two years, he said.



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