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The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, is a government-wide program (www.fedramp.gov) that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. This approach uses a “do once, use many times” framework that saves an estimated 30-40% of government costs, as well as both time and staff required to conduct redundant agency security assessments. FedRAMP is the result of close collaboration with cybersecurity and cloud experts from the General Services Administration (GSA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DOD), National Security Agency (NSA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council and its working groups, as well as private industry.
There are three main players in the FedRAMP process: Agencies, CSPs, and Third Party Assessment Organizations (3PAOs). Agencies are responsible for selecting a cloud service, leveraging the FedRAMP Process, and requiring CSPs to meet FedRAMP requirements. CSPs provide the actual cloud service to an Agency, and must meet all FedRAMP requirements before they implement their services. 3PAOs perform initial and periodic assessment of CSP systems per FedRAMP requirements, provide evidence of compliance, and play an on-going role in ensuring CSPs meet requirements. FedRAMP provisional authorizations (P-ATOs) must include an assessment by an accredited 3PAO to ensure a consistent assessment process.
FedRAMP authorizes cloud systems in a three step process:
FedRAMP is a government-wide program with input from numerous departments, agencies, and government groups. The program’s primary decision-making body is the Joint Authorization Board (JAB), comprised of the CIOs from DOD, DHS, and GSA. In addition to the JAB, OMB, the Federal CIO Council, NIST, DHS, and the FedRAMP Program Management Office (PMO) play keys roles in effectively running FedRAMP.
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