FedRAMP is one of the most popular topics on our website and blogs. We get questions every day about the FedRAMP program from customers and partners alike.
Is FedRAMP really mandatory?
Yes, FedRAMP is mandatory for Federal Agency cloud deployments and service models at the low, moderate, and high-risk impact levels. According to the FedRAMP website, private cloud deployments intended for single organizations and implemented fully within federal facilities are the only exception. Additionally, Agencies must submit a quarterly report in PortfolioStat listing all existing cloud services that do not meet FedRAMP requirements with the appropriate rationale and proposed resolutions for achieving compliance.
What is 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.
Major Benefits of FedRAMP
- The U.S. government is the single largest buyer of goods and services in the world, and federal agencies are reliable customers that continue to buy even during economic downturns when private-sector firms cut back. Your company may eventually want to tap this very stable, highly lucrative market.
- The U.S. government is “cloud-first.” To federal agencies, “cloud-first” isn’t just marketing hyperbole; it’s a directive from the White House to “evaluate safe, secure, Cloud Computing options before making any new investments.”
- FedRAMP is “do once, use many times.” Unlike the FISMA standard, which requires organizations to seek an Authority to Operate (ATO) from each federal agency they do business with, a FedRAMP ATO qualifies a cloud service provider to do business with any federal agency.
- The FedRAMP certification process will uncover your risks and vulnerabilities and improve your company’s data security. All of your customers will benefit from the security controls you put in place to comply with FedRAMP – and this is a big selling point. Private-sector companies know how arduous the FedRAMP certification process is, and they see it as a gold standard of data security.
- You will be able 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.
- Completing the FedRAMP certification process will make other security audits easier. FedRAMP controls are based on NIST 800-53, which is the basis for many different standards that your company likely needs to comply with, including HIPAA, DFARS, and CJIS.
What is the distinction between “FedRAMP Authorized” and “FedRAMP Ready”?
The main distinction is that FedRAMP Ready systems are not FedRAMP Authorized. In short, FedRAMP Ready systems must still undergo an authorization process, while FedRAMP Authorized systems have completed the process at least once already.
FedRAMP Ready indicates that a Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) attests to a cloud service’s readiness for the authorization process and that a Readiness Assessment Report (RAR) has been reviewed and approved by the FedRAMP PMO. The RAR documents the cloud service’s capability to meet FedRAMP security requirements. The FedRAMP Ready designation is also required for any cloud service to enter the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) process.
FedRAMP Authorized, by comparison, is a designation that is given to systems that have completed the FedRAMP authorization process.
The Continuum GRC Approach
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 complexity of the program 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.
If your 3PAO also uses Continuum GRC’s ITAM platform for the assessment and certification process, then you will see even more considerable time and cost savings due to the automatic reporting, project status, risk scoring and the multitude of efficiencies inherent to ITAM they will leverage delivering results in on an average of 64% faster.
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.
Advantages of the Continuum GRC Approach
When you combine the cost of a Continuum GRC subscription that will save you an enormous amount of time and trouble along with the loss of what a 3PAO will typically charge for traditional services, you can expect to save on average more than 25% in costs alone. What is your time worth? If you saved about 64% of the time required to complete your FedRAMP certification tasks, wouldn’t it already make fiscal sense to use Continuum GRC? Large organizations have previously reported saving upwards of 1000% by being able to eliminate external assessment organizations by bringing the program in-house.
The cyber security experts at Continuum GRC have deep knowledge of the cyber security field, are continually monitoring the latest information security threats, and are committed to protecting your organization from security breaches. Continuum GRC offers full-service and in-house risk assessment and risk management subscriptions, and we help companies all around the world sustain proactive cyber security programs.
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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