TheConversation

Blog archive

More than one path for FedRAMP

FedRAMP logo -- GSA image

In an Aug. 30 FCW article about a ninth vendor receiving approval through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), reader Peter Stark questioned whether companies were skirting the FedRAMP process by earning agency authorities to operate (ATOs) rather than certification through the FedRAMP’ Joint Authorization Board (JAB): The article states that Akamai is the 9th vendor to receive FedRAMP approval, then lists only five others. The other three are characterized as receiving "agency authority to operate," implying it's not the same as FedRAMP ATO (presumably being issued by an individual agency for its own enterprise). Then it concludes by stating that one of those three is the only federal agency to achieve FedRAMP approval. It doesn't seem like all those statements can be true. Does an agency ATO somehow equate to FedRAMP approval?

Frank Konkel responds: This question has come up before, most notably when Amazon Web Services went through an agency ATO process to gain FedRAMP certification. Some questioned whether gaining the ATO was on par with attaining JAB certification.

As FCW Editor-in-Chief Troy K. Schneider explained in May, an agency-provided authority to operate is no less “real” than certification to operate from the FedRAMP JAB. Either avenue is perfectly acceptable. As Scott Renda, Federal Data Center Consolidation portfolio manager Scott Renda has repeatedly stated, to think otherwise is mistaken.

"We never intended the JAB to authorize every system in government," Renda said at the FOSE conference in May. "That's a myth. And it would slow things down." What the FedRAMP team wants, he stressed, "is to implement a government-wide standard."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Sep 05, 2013 at 8:09 AM


The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group