Cloud providers get security standards under new program

Vendors trying to sell cloud services to agencies now have new security standards to meet, thanks to the Barack Obama administration.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel announced the release of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program -- FedRAMP for short -- in a conference call with reporters on Dec. 8. The program is considered the latest effort in realizing one of the 25 points in former CIO Vivek Kundra's initiative to reform federal IT and migrate federal systems to the cloud.

Cloud computing has become “an integral part of the government's DNA," VanRoekel said. For the past two years, the White House has collaborated with several agencies, state and local governments, industry and non-governmental organizations and academia to create a policy to develop trusted relationships between federal departments and agencies and cloud service providers.

The new program also aims to slash duplication of IT systems, helping the government in its widespread effort to identify cost-savings and increase efficiencies. It would also continue promote the power and “prosperous use” of IT, VanRoekel said, and eliminate legacy systems and usher in new technologies and innovative approaches to security with the help of industry partnerships. 

FedRAMP will be rolled out in phases, and the FedRAMP Program Management Office, housed within the General Services Administration, has a six-month deadline to provide and initial operating capability for the program.

All federal agencies are expected to use FedRAMP before acquiring cloud-based services, and vendors will be required to comply with the program’s standards.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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