Critical Read

Industry group seeks revamp for FedRAMP

Shutterstock image: Cloud concept.

WHAT: An IT industry group's  six-step plan for changes to the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

WHY: FedRAMP is too expensive and time-consuming for big cloud service providers. The group, FedRAMP Fast Forward, counts big CSPs like Amazon Web Services, General Dynamics, Hewlett-Packard and CenturyLink among its affiliates. The study was issued by MeriTalk.

The plan is based on seven months of discussion and collaboration among CSPs, third-party assessment organizations, and federal agencies to improve the process CSPs use to get FedRAMP authorization.

In the statement, the group said five years after the FedRAMP program launched aiming to standardize the government's CSP assessment and authorization, it "is fundamentally broken."

The group contends that cost and time to obtain "authority to operate" certification have risen substantially for cloud providers, from nine months and $250,000 two years ago to two years and millions of dollars now, based on a Cloud Computing Caucus annual report. They also said CSPs have no way to see where in the ATO process they are.

The plan calls for normalizing the certification process; increasing transparency on costs and time; harmonizing security standards; reducing costs of continuous monitoring for CSPs with an ATO; enabling faster upgrades to cloud environments while remaining compliant with FedRAMP; and mapping initial FedRAMP compliance with Department of Defense requirements.

VERBATIM: "CSPs are reluctant to share their FedRAMP ATO horror stories because they fear reprisals from the FedRAMP PMO. CSPs are concerned that telling it how it is will extend their time to completion. Further, industry is reluctant to share information about where their solutions are deployed due to concerns about giving up competitive advantage, or exposing their lack of success, which points back to the question as to why the government has invested money to [authorize] CSP offerings which the government does not want to use. We need to structure and implement an incentive program to encourage industry to embrace transparency."

Click here to download the full report.


About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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