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The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a compliance framework established by the US government, which details requirements for cloud services offering and requirements for approved cloud service offerings for Federal Government Agencies. FedRAMP-compliant mandates strict compliance for cloud products and services regarding their authorization, security assessment, and continuous monitoring approach to their respective offerings.
Students pursuing a degree in Cybersecurity and a CISSP certification from CIAT.Edu should continue researching the FedRAMP requirement for cloud providers.
This San Diego-based education institution offers several programs to assist students with the knowledge in pursuing a career in Federal Government Security and Cloud Technology, including:
Applied Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems – Cybersecurity Concentration
Applied Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems – Cloud Concentration
This article will discuss the need for FedRAMP, which cloud providers are FedRAMP certified, and what steps these providers need to take to become FedRAMP-approved and authorized.
Why is FedRAMP Important?
The Federal Government developed FedRAMP to provide a standardized approach with enhanced transparency, including completing a security assessment of agreed-upon standards, documentation of the current security posture, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services used by Federal entities. This mandate supported the Federal Government’s ‘cloud first’ initiative by allowing agencies to contract with approved cloud providers to best secure government information. All approved cloud providers that meet FedRAMP standards become listed in the FedRAMP marketplace.
In 2011, the FedRAMP security assessment framework offered a cost-efficient and risk-sensitive approach to cloud adoption for Federal Government Agencies. Its development drew upon the Risk Management Framework (RMF) consistent with FISMA (Federal Information Security Modernization Act) regulations, and NIST SP 800-53. Through FedRAMP, cloud service providers (CSPs) can get assessments and authorizations from federal agencies.
The goal of FedRAMP, as stated by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), is to improve the adoption of cloud computing through reusable assessments and a rigorous authorization process in compliance with extensive security control requirements. Achieving FedRAMP authorization will provide further assurance of the security and effectiveness of cloud solutions for organizations. Becoming FedRAMP authorized is both a business and technical achievement for cloud service providers.
Why is FedRAMP Authorization Valuable to Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)?
Cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Blackberry, all hold FedRAMP certifications. Chief Information Officers focusing on digital transformation supporting their Federal Government customers must ensure their cloud provider complies with FedRAMP.
Being FedRAMP authorized is critical for cloud providers wanting to capture Federal business. Many DoD, Federal departments, and civilian agencies still run legacy applications within their data centers. Moving to the cloud is less likely to happen if it jeopardizes U.S. secret or top-secret data.
FedRAMP Authorization Process
Cloud service providers who want to provide products and services to the US government must have FedRAMP compliance. The cloud providers must follow the NIST-800 series framework and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Cloud providers must adhere to the FedRAMP framework, including hiring an approved FedRAMP third-party assessment organization (3PAO) and assessment firm to receive the authority to operate as a FedRAMP Secure cloud offering.
Third-party assessment organizations (3PAO) are integral to the FedRAMP security assessment process. Their domain expertise around FedRAMP security requirements, modern cloud technologies, and FedRAMP’s continuous operations models is essential for cloud providers looking to meet Federal Cybersecurity requirements for their secure cloud products.
FedRAMP 3Pao organizations are accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and must exhibit independence and a technical understanding to assess security implementations and produce evidence. These auditors validate that the cloud providers have deployed, updated, and monitored all essential FedRAMP controls to become FedRAMP authorized. Various government agencies require 3PAO assessments across agencies who plan to share data with their respective government entities.
Knowledge for Today and in the Future
All prospective employers of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), all Federal agencies, departments, and the military must work with a FedRAMP-certified cloud provider if they plan to migrate or access data from the cloud. Students applying for a software development, cloud engineering, and cybersecurity role should expand their knowledge base by reading and by watching YouTube videos discussing the importance of FedRAMP and its role in protecting U.S Government data.
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