FedRAMP is one of the most popular topics on our website and blogs. One big question we often receive from Cloud Service Providers (CSP), is how can a FedRAMP authorization impact their business.
Cloud Service Providers and FedRAMP
FedRAMP is a program that enables cloud services providers (CSPs) to meet and demonstrate the security requirements embedded with FISMA and the NIST publications so that an agency may outsource with the confidence that its cloud service provider is meeting those requirements.
While FedRAMP is mandatory for a CSP working with federal agencies, compliance can be beneficial for companies and cloud service providers operating in the private sector. Elective FedRAMP compliance demonstrates that you are dedicated to the highest data security standards. It also offers transparency into the different security controls you use daily and the assessment process for keeping your security controls operating correctly.
The FedRAMP certification process will uncover your risks and vulnerabilities and improve your company’s data security. Your customers will benefit from the security controls you put in place to comply with FedRAMP, which is a big selling point. Private-sector companies know how arduous the FedRAMP certification process is and see it as a gold standard of data security.
FedRAMP Ready vs. FedRAMP Authorized
What’s the difference between a cloud service provider that’s FedRAMP Ready and one that is FedRAMP Authorized? Systems that are FedRAMP Ready may have all the necessary security measures in place to be FedRAMP compliant, but that has not received the seal of approval yet. They may still have to undergo an authorization process, which could reveal unforeseen vulnerabilities. In contrast, a FedRAMP Authorized CSP has already been authorized at least once and is ready to begin working under FedRAMP compliance measures.
- FedRAMP Ready organizations have been assessed by a Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) and submitted a Readiness Assessment Report, which has been approved. This report outlines the steps the CSP has taken to meet FedRAMP’s security requirements and details the specific security measures they have in place. Before a CSP can start the Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) process monitored by the Joint Authorization Board (JAB), they must first receive the FedRAMP Ready designation.
- FedRAMP Authorized CSPs have already completed the authorization processes. They have been FedRAMP Ready, submitted their Readiness Assessment Report, and been approved to work with federal agencies. If you’re talking to a CSP who has begun the authorization process but has not yet received authorization, they don’t fall into this category.
Customer benefits of working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP
What are the customer and end-user benefits of partnering with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP, compared to a FedRAMP Ready one or a CSP with no designation at all? Here are a few benefits you can offer your customers once you become FedRAMP Authorized.
Mitigate Customer Risk
First of all, customers working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP helps to mitigate the risk of a data breach. As a CSP, you can maintain compliance with government standards, and reduce the risk of your sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. Your customer can trust that you have all the appropriate measures in place to protect data effectively. This also helps your customers to avoid the risk of noncompliance consequences, like steep fines, loss of business, or even prison time in the most extreme cases.
Cost-Effective for Customers
The FedRAMP Authorization process can be long and time-consuming. Customers that partner with a CSP already FedRAMP authorized can allow them to avoid the time-intensive and costly due diligence process. Since all the necessary due diligence was completed when the CSP went through the FedRAMP Authorization process, your customer can feel confident about their security controls, without checking every single one themselves.
Superior Data Security
If your customers work with the Federal Government, FedRAMP compliance is essential. Sensitive data can easily fall into the wrong hands when you do not have secure methods of protecting it. Since government data is an attractive target for hackers, data security is of particular concern for federal agencies and contractors. However, when you work with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP, you can trust them with your data.
When a cloud service provider receives their FedRAMP Authorization at the Moderate level, they are required to adopt a minimum of 326 controls that have been established based on best practices and industry standards. And, having these controls in place at the time of the authorization process is not enough. FedRAMP Authorized CSPs must maintain compliance with ongoing security monitoring and assessment. Compliance is an ongoing process, and working with an authorized CSPs means you don’t have to work about outdated or deteriorating data security measures.
Most customer organizations may not have the time or resources to verify that a cloud service provider has met all 326 of the FedRAMP security controls. It’s probably best to leave this type of verification to the experts. With third-party verification, another person has conducted this assessment, and you can expect that they have been thorough. You can also trust that they were an independent assessor, so no critical vulnerabilities were ignored due to bias.
Ultimately, if your customer works with sensitive data, it’s in the best interest of the customer to work with a FedRAMP Authorized cloud service provider. Otherwise, you could be putting your data – and your organization – at risk. Working with a CSP that’s FedRAMP Authorized means you can trust that your sensitive data is protected based on stringent government standards.
Partner with Continuum GRC for your CSPs FedRAMP Certification
First and foremost, we are a security company with direct real-world experience in completing the FedRAMP certification process. We created all the necessary modules in ITAM that are immediately available to use without any programming or complicated preparations.
Navigating the program’s complexity has been simplified and streamlined using the highly automated Continuum GRC ITAM SaaS solution. There is no guesswork. ITAM FedRAMP modules systematically lead you through this NIST jungle to certification success. A CSP can quickly reduce the time to complete all the required system security plan (SSP) requirements, on average, in 3 to 6 months. That alone is a 50% reduction in labor. 100% of your confidential artifacts and responses are securely indexed and stored logically within the system allowing for long term single-source-of-truth usage and management purposes. You will be organized and highly automated, allowing you to remain compliant, collaborative, and efficient.
These efficiencies save you time and money. Your FedRAMP certification is expensive but also extremely valuable. You want to achieve certification status as quickly as possible to keep costs down and take advantage of the benefits sooner.
Being FedRAMP certified will allow your CSP to better compete in the highly competitive cloud services market. As cloud services, companies multiply, and concerns over cloud security grow, FedRAMP certification will help your company stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Continuum GRC is proactive cyber security®. Call 1-888-896-6207 to discuss your organization’s cyber security needs and find out how we can help your organization protect its systems and ensure compliance.
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