2017 Rising Star Awards
Consultant, The Clearing Inc.
- By Derek B. Johnson
- Oct 11, 2017
When Anna-Ruth Beckman walked into an important meeting for FedRAMP Accelerated, she accidentally bumped into a CIO. Rather than let things start off on an awkward note, the 27-year-old change management consultant from The Clearing smoothly turned the maneuver into a hug.
Since 2015, Beckman has brought that same quick thinking and adaptability to her work supporting the General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. Since 2011, the cloud security authorization program has done much to allay the concerns of IT managers about the safety of moving to the cloud, but the process was slow. Applicants had to wait as long as two years to receive authorization, and some contractors expressed confusion about the approval process.
“The program was at risk of becoming irrelevant because if it continued to not work, people were going to begin to try and find ways around it,” Beckman said.
She challenged GSA leaders to think differently and suggested tapping into the creativity that had inspired the program to come up with new ways to streamline the approval process.
“It was eye-opening for us because, for a security authorization program, we thought we were transparent,” FedRAMP Director Matthew Goodrich said. “We found out we could be more transparent, and Anna-Ruth was at the heart of that.”
The result was FedRAMP Accelerated, a revamped authorization process based on stakeholder feedback collected by Beckman. It features additional transparency measures for vendors and agencies and detailed customer journey reports that show GSA and contractors where the inefficiencies are. The program has already reduced the average authorization wait time to three to six months.
Beckman’s leadership skills, ability to listen and empathetic style throughout the process were cited as major contributors to its success.
“Anna-Ruth is so great in having the type of personality where people can tell their truth,” Goodrich said. “Some of the dorkiest things we do, she lights up when she hears it because she’s fascinated to dig into a new world that she’s not familiar with.”
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Derek B. Johnson is a staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.
Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.
Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.
Click here for previous articles by Johnson.