Cloud

FedRAMP wants to overhaul cloud authorizations

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The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program is postponing the launch of its high baseline standards while it tries to speed its sluggish authorization process.

When FedRAMP started vetting cloud providers in 2012, authorizations were typically issued in six months, but "now, all of a sudden, they're taking 12 to 18 months," FedRAMP Director Matt Goodrich said at a Feb. 24 event sponsored by Adobe and FedScoop. "That's not where we want to be."

FedRAMP has been expanding and onboarding more cloud service providers (CSPs) and third-party assessment organizations than ever, Goodrich added.

To better handle the workload, he said he and his team have been meeting with stakeholders and hearing the same basic message: Agencies are only interested in whether CSPs can serve their needs and whether they're "not risky."

Goodrich said he'll soon test a redesign of the authorization process that will focus on CSPs' actual capabilities rather than documentation.

"I believe [the changes] will make every authorization happen in less than six months," he said.

Given the focus on the authorization process, the launch of FedRAMP's high baseline standards for more sensitive data has been delayed.

Last month, Goodrich said the standards could be released by February, but on Feb. 24, he told FCW they wouldn't be out for "the next month or two."

In addition to prioritizing streamlining the authorization process over finishing the high standards, there have been some thorny security issues to resolve with the Defense Department.

"[It's] nothing dramatic, just sort of the bureaucracy," Goodrich said. He also promised a six-month FedRAMP update within the next two weeks. In a subsequent message to FCW, Goodrich emphasized that the pace is less an issue of red tape and more an issue of getting things right.

"The reason we've delayed is to align with the authorizations we're piloting at the high baseline as well as make sure we can align as closely with the DOD levels," Goodrich said.

This story was updated Feb. 25 with clarifying comment from Matt Goodrich.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

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