Why Should the Private Sector Care About FedRAMP
If you are in the public sector then you are already well aware of what FedRAMP is and why you should care. But if you are in the private sector, then this is for you.
The FedRAMP framework was developed by the GSA (General Services Administration) specifically established so civilian and public agencies can evaluate and accept the risks associated with adopting a cloud service.
So What is FedRAMP and Why Should You Care?
Cloud providers who submit for consideration to the FedRAMP authorization program are put to a rigorous, multi-stage evaluation process which can be summarized as follows:
Initiate and Document
- Initial implementation of the solution
- Development of the System Security Plan (SSP) and supporting documentation
- Application of proscribed controls
- Verification and Validation of proscribed controls by a 3rd Party Assessment Organization (3PAO)
- Development of the Plan of Action and Milestones (POAMs) for remediation of findings
- Evaluation of findings and documentation by agency sponsor
- Submission of application for FedRAMP Authorization with sponsor to GSA
- Authority to Operate awarded
Monitor and Maintain
- 24x7x365 monitoring of the system
- Monthly audits and remediation (patching)
- Annual compliance audit of 1/3 of the proscribed controls as defined in the SSP
In order for a Cloud Service Provider to operate at even a moderate FedRAMP authorized level, companies must adhere to NIST guidelines under SP 800-53r4. These guidelines list 325 controls that companies follow to maintain their authorization status. For the purposes of this blog, we won’t go into details on all of the controls that fall under the NIST guidelines but you can read them here.
Reasons Why Private Businesses Should Care
So what does this mean for your private business? There are 3 main reasons you should care.
FedRAMP authorized companies are required to adhere to a set of controls surrounding maintenance of their systems and software. FedRAMP cloud service providers are required to maintain support contracts and adhere to manufacture required/specified updates and regularly scheduled service or system maintenance. This control set also ensures system integrity by addressing end of life or end of support components of the service through regular evaluation of the information system inventory. By moving to the cloud, this burden is removed from your organizations plate (and budget!).
Business Continuity & Contingency Planning (or Disaster Recovery Planning)
Cloud Service Providers who receive FedRAMP authorization are required to define and actively test system survivability, failover and recovery procedures and network redundancy. The provider is also required to define roles and responsibilities for internal staff should a disaster occur in order to maintain service availability. Moving to the cloud moves your communications system from the “risk” column to the asset column!
Security, security, security
Service providers under the FedRAMP label are required to continuously monitor and maintain the information system on a 24x7x365 basis, including monthly audits, penetration testing and threat assessments as well as the iterative process of updating and maintaining the Plan of Actions and Milestones. Providers are required to report and discuss their findings with their sponsor on a monthly basis. Additionally, an independent auditor, known as a Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) audits ⅓ of the current control set annually for 3 years. By adopting a FedRAMP solution, the security posture of your enterprise is enhanced as security resources are permitted to focus on other critical infrastructure. One less thing to worry about!
FedRAMP Authorization is Not Just For Government Agencies
As you can see, there are many benefits to commercial organizations who choose to partner with a FedRAMP authorized service provider. The controls placed on a FedRAMP authorized Cloud Service Provider can also be leveraged to ensure that commercial businesses leverage enhanced security, business continuity planning and stability. Learn more about how collab9, the original FedRAMP authorized UCaaS provider can help your business grow in this highly competitive world.