The future of FedRAMP

Despite delays, the program is at a critical point for determining the ultimate impact of cloud technology in the government space.

Shutterstock image: the data cloud connecting a number of global services.

The global cloud computing market is experiencing tremendous growth and is expected to reach $121 billion by 2015. However, cloud adoption in government remains sluggish, despite the Office of Management and Budget's guidance to consider cloud as the first choice whenever there is a secure, reliable and cost-effective option.

According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, the average amount of IT budgets dedicated to cloud has increased from 1 percent in 2012 to 2 percent in 2014, representing approximately $529 million in IT spending. It is generally accepted that transitioning to the cloud is a critical step toward enabling innovation and effectively using limited IT funding. So what is keeping the government from making the leap to more cloud-based infrastructures?

Security stands out as one of the most significant barriers to cloud adoption, although funding issues, acquisition processes and infrastructure requirements also serve as top challenges, according to the GAO report. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), launched two years ago, was designed to address security and acquisition challenges, but the program has faced a series of challenges and delays.

Despite agencies' official deadline of June 5 to exclusively use FedRAMP-approved cloud vendors, to date only 12 cloud service providers have received provisional authority to operate from the Joint Authorization Board. Coupled with uneven agency authorization efforts and a limited number of third-party assessment organizations, many potential CSPs are stuck in an approval backlog.

At the same time, the FedRAMP Program Management Office has issued updates that require new vendors to offer continuous monitoring and give existing vendors one year to implement new baselines that mirror those in the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Special Publication 800-53 Revision 4, "Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations." Although continuous monitoring is an important consideration for cloud security, such ongoing changes further complicate the approval process.

In any IT environment, there are ample risks for data loss. In the cloud, physical barriers are blurred, amplifying potential vulnerabilities and making security standardization critical. Therefore, FedRAMP plays a crucial role in establishing a common set of security baselines and standards, which will position agencies and contractors to operate in a more cohesive manner and respond quickly in the event of a security incident.

As continuous monitoring capabilities are woven into FedRAMP, compliant CSPs will be better able to take advantage of the innovation opportunities offered by the cloud without jeopardizing the security of agencies' sensitive assets.

There is much to be gained through strategic migration of federal IT investments to the cloud. Basic projects, such as email migration, have already proven they can provide cost savings. Forward-thinking agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have also migrated other services, such as unified messaging.

As those in the government space find their groove in using the cloud and as the pool of FedRAMP-approved CSPs grows, agencies will realize an expanding opportunity to take advantage of emerging technology drivers such as mobility and big data.

Despite the challenges the program has faced, FedRAMP has made a real impact on government and has helped agencies go beyond the original opportunities for cloud adoption. For instance, NASA and the Army are considering FedRAMP-approved cloud-based infrastructures, and the government is exploring the use of a similar approval model for other aspects of federal IT, such as apps.

FedRAMP and other security standards will continue to enable the government to move toward a future in which benefits are defined by a virtualized, cloud-based IT environment.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.