What is Federal Risk and Authorizations Management Program (FedRAMP)?

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TL;DR

  • FedRAMP is a government-wide program that ensures the security of federal information when using cloud products and services.
  • It provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring.
  • FedRAMP aims to accelerate the adoption of secure cloud solutions and modern cloud technologies.
  • The program eliminates duplicative efforts, inconsistencies and cost inefficiencies.
  • Cloud Service Providers play a crucial role in the FedRAMP authorization process and can provide their services to the federal government.

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that ensures the security and protection of federal information when using cloud products and services. It provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring. FedRAMP empowers agencies to adopt secure cloud solutions and accelerates the adoption of modern cloud technologies. To learn more about FedRAMP and its benefits, visit the FedRAMP website at www.fedramp.gov and explore the FedRAMP Marketplace for a list of authorized cloud service offerings.

Understanding FedRAMP: A Comprehensive Guide

FedRAMP, or the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, is a government-wide initiative that encourages the adoption of secure cloud services across federal agencies. It offers a standardized method for security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring of cloud products and services. This program enables agencies to utilize modern cloud technologies, focusing on the security and protection of federal information and aids in the rapid adoption of secure cloud solutions.

FedRAMP: Aims and Objectives

FedRAMP’s primary objective is to create a standardized method for security assessment and authorization for cloud computing products and services that process unclassified federal information. Established in 2011, it offers a cost-effective, risk-based approach for the adoption and use of cloud services by the federal government. By standardizing security requirements and processes, FedRAMP eliminates duplicative efforts, inconsistencies and cost inefficiencies. It also fosters a public-private partnership to encourage innovation and the development of more secure information technologies. The FedRAMP Authorization Act further solidifies the FedRAMP program as the authoritative approach for standardized security assessment and authorization for cloud computing.

Key Players in FedRAMP

FedRAMP comprises two main entities: the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) and the Program Management Office (PMO). The JAB, which includes the chief information officers (CIOs) from the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and General Services Administration, acts as the primary governance and decision-making body for FedRAMP. The PMO, located within the General Services Administration (GSA), assists agencies and cloud service providers (CSPs) through the FedRAMP authorization process and maintains a secure repository of FedRAMP authorizations to facilitate the reuse of security packages.

The Authorization Process of FedRAMP

A Cloud Service Offering (CSO) can be authorized through FedRAMP in two ways: via an individual agency or the Joint Authorization Board (JAB). The JAB grants a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) to CSPs that have demonstrated FedRAMP compliance. The authorization process involves a comprehensive security assessment, including initial and periodic assessments by Third Party Assessment Organizations (3PAOs). These assessments verify the security posture of the CSO and ensure continuous monitoring to maintain an appropriate security posture.

FedRAMP Impact Levels

FedRAMP authorizations are granted at three impact levels based on National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines: low, moderate and high. These levels rank the potential impact that the loss of confidentiality, integrity or availability could have on an organization. The low-impact level applies to CSOs where losing data availability, confidentiality or integrity will cause minimal harm to the assets and operations of a federal agency. The moderate-impact level applies to CSOs that handle controlled, unclassified information (CUI) for federal government organizations and agencies. The high-impact level is the most critical and sensitive government data, including law enforcement, healthcare and emergency services.

Role of Cloud Service Providers in FedRAMP

Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) play a pivotal role in the FedRAMP authorization process. They are required to submit a Control Implementation Summary (CIS) workbook that identifies security controls and responsibilities. CSPs can demonstrate FedRAMP compliance in three ways: earn a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the Joint Authorization Board (JAB), obtain an agency-specific authorization or leverage a FedRAMP-authorized CSO. CSPs that meet the stringent security standards of FedRAMP can provide their cloud services to the federal government, enabling federal agencies to benefit from the cost savings and rigorous security of the cloud.

FedRAMP Marketplace and Cloud Service Providers

The FedRAMP Marketplace categorizes CSPs into three stages ( Ready, In Process and Authorized) and provides a list of authorized cloud service offerings. CSPs must implement FIPS-validated CMs for encryption and TLS protocols, and document any gaps in the POA&M. Azure and Azure Government have multiple ATOs, including FedRAMP High P-ATO, with all Azure public regions in the US and specific Azure Government regions in scope.

Synack is FedRAMP Moderate Authorized

Synack, the premier security testing platform, has received the FedRAMP Moderate Authorized designation, and it’s a game-changer for the public sector. How?

By leveraging the Synack Platform for continuous security testing, government agencies can now deploy Synack’s best-in-class pentesting and vulnerability management solutions, all while performing dedicated application security testing to meet M-22-09. 

Why does this matter? The Authorized designation means U.S. agencies can leverage our platform, knowing we’ve met or exceeded all 325 NIST 800-53 controls as part of FedRAMP’s rigorous compliance requirements. We’re dedicated to keeping our government agencies safe and secure. 

Wrapping Up

In essence, FedRAMP is a government-wide program that standardizes the approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. It encourages the adoption of secure cloud solutions across federal agencies and aids in the rapid adoption of modern cloud technologies. FedRAMP plays a crucial role in ensuring the security and protection of federal information while reducing duplicative efforts and cost inefficiencies. Cloud Service Providers can leverage FedRAMP to demonstrate their compliance with stringent security standards and provide their cloud services to the federal government. For any queries about FedRAMP, you can reach out to [email protected].

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a Government-wide program that ensures the security of cloud computing products and services used by agencies. It establishes a standardized and reusable approach to security assessment and authorization for these products and services, which process unclassified information. FedRAMP plays a crucial role in maintaining the security and integrity of government data in the cloud.

An SSP FedRAMP, or System Security Plan FedRAMP, is a document that outlines the security controls and their implementation for an information system used by a Cloud Service Provider (CSP). It is the main document that describes the security measures in place to protect the system. You can find more information about the FedRAMP project at www.FedRAMP.gov.

The main difference between FedRAMP and RMF is their scope. RMF is used by federal agencies to obtain authorization for their own systems and protocols, while FedRAMP is specifically designed for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). However, if federal agencies have their own cloud services that require security clearance, they may be required to go through FedRAMP.

The objectives of FedRAMP control are to enable federal agencies to use secure and reliable cloud solutions with confidence. These controls are outlined in the FedRAMP Security Controls Baseline, which serves as a comprehensive guide for cloud service providers to follow in order to obtain FedRAMP authorization.

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