GAO to probe FedRAMP

Shutterstock image (by Maksim Kabakou): cloud computing concept, security.

The Government Accountability Office is preparing to audit the General Services Administration's Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program for cloud security, according to a senior GAO official.

"We're going to look at the extent of FedRAMP use and how to assess the cloud environment, as well as how agencies are using the cloud without FedRAMP review and see what we find," said Greg Wilshusen, director of information security issues at GAO, during a meeting of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board on Oct. 27.

He told FCW after his presentation that the audit should be seen as a sign that adoption of cloud services is growing among federal agencies rather than as an indication that there are problems.

GAO is conducting the review at the request of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, though he said there is no schedule for it yet. GAO auditors will look into the challenges of cloud adoption from the perspective of agencies and commercial cloud services providers, he added.

Although a formal audit sounds a little ominous, particularly in light of complaints that the FedRAMP process is too long and expensive, Wilshusen told FCW that the study should not instill a sense of foreboding.

"We're doing it because it's very clear cloud migration is increasing," he said. "FedRAMP is a good thing, if done properly."

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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