Cloud

Uncertainty after FedRAMP deadline, but oversight tools already exist

FedRAMP logo -- GSA image

It remains unclear which oversight methods the Office of Management and Budget will use to ensure agencies and their cloud service providers meet the government’s baseline cloud security standards. What is certain, though, is that OMB – and potentially other oversight bodies like inspectors general or the Government Accountability Office – will have plenty of useful oversight data from which to draw.

For the past year, agencies have been required to submit quarterly Integrated Data Collection reports. The first three quarterly reports required agencies to answer six cloud-related questions, including mandating that they disclose what cloud service providers they utilize.

Agencies’ latest quarterly reports will be submitted Feb. 28, and this batch requires agencies to specify their own points of contact for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

It might seem trivial, but FedRAMP director Maria Roat argued it is actually a key piece of information because agencies differ in how they delegate who handles FedRAMP responsibilities. Knowing the right person to call improves the likelihood of getting the most accurate data, she said.

“We want to get good data from agencies,” said Roat.

The General Services Administration, which runs FedRAMP, has been using these quarterly reports to assess how agencies use cloud computing. The cloud-related data is useful to Roat and the rest of the FedRAMP team in improving the process. Yet GSA does not play an oversight role in ensuring FedRAMP is widely adopted across government. That responsibility falls to OMB, which continues to remain mostly silent on how it will enforce the FedRAMP deadline.

An OMB spokesperson told FCW in January that the agency “will work with agencies through normal oversight processes and channels to measure and analyze agency efforts” with regards to FedRAMP.  

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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