Cloud Security

GSA tightens scrutiny on FedRAMP assessors

cloud security

Third-party assessment organizations (3PAOs) play a key role in the process by which cloud service providers (CSPs) achieve compliance under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), the government’s standardized approach to cloud security assessments, independently verifying that companies meet those strict requirements.

Prospective 3PAOs, once FedRAMP-accredited by a government review board, will now receive accreditation under the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), according to a July 23 announcement by the General Services Administration. GSA oversees FedRAMP.

In a press statement, GSA officials said the privatization of the 3PAO review process would add rigor and a more in-depth analysis of an applicant’s information security standards, improving the entire FedRAMP process when the 3PAO application process is reopened later this year.

“The selection of A2LA to handle the 3PAO reviews is a significant milestone as we grow FedRAMP in partnership with industry and government cloud stakeholders” said Dave McClure, Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. “A2LA’s involvement, with continued government oversight, improves the resources and rigor of our review process, further strengthening FedRAMP.”

The FedRAMP program management office retains the final say on accreditation approval for 3PAOs, using the reviews conducted by A2LA. According to a press statement, the government also “retains the right to re-institute a government review board without any interruption in accreditation to 3PAOs.”

FedRAMP has accredited 22 3PAOs thus far, half of which are small businesses.

Many of those accredited 3PAOs have assisted the eight CSPs that have achieved FedRAMP compliance over the past year, including AT&T’s Storage as a Service provisional authorization, which came July 18.

The other CSPs to achieve compliance are the Department of Agriculture, HP, Lockheed Martin, Autonomic Resources, CGI Federal and two offerings from Amazon Web Services.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group