FedRAMP stands for Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. This is a government-driven program where US Federal agencies have been directed by the Office of Management and Budget – OMB, to ensure a standardized approach in dealing with security assessment, continuous monitoring, and authorization of cloud products and services. FedRAMP is a subset of the National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST special publication 800-53 security controls, which is designed to implement protection of cloud environments.
Cloud service providers can undergo FedRAMP Compliance. The defined requirements and audit controls are good-to-have security and business practices. FedRAMP security controls are set for Federal Information Security Management Act – FISMA low to moderate levels. In response to Cloud First Policy, OMB issued FedRAMP Policy to define and establish government-wide security authorization program for FISMA. Cloud providers working for US government services, mandatorily need to undergo FedRAMP compliance.
FedRAMP is an important compliance guideline for Cloud Service providers:
- ☛ Provides consistency and confidence in the security of cloud provider services
- ☛ Ensures cloud providers follow NIST and FISMA defined standards.
- ☛ Maintains transparency between cloud providers and the US government
- ☛ Provides a well-defined framework for adoption of secure cloud-based services
- ☛ Helps to automate and ensure continuous cloud monitoring
- ☛ Prevents security breaches by monitoring security and checking for vulnerabilities
Cloud Services are exposed to many environments and can be easily susceptible to security breaches if an appropriate security measure is not implemented. FedRAMP provides a framework to maintain standards in accordance with NIST and FISMA.
FedRAMP compliance requirements and guidelines may seem cumbersome to companies who do not possess expertise in this field. We provide assistance in completing FedRAMP audits, thereby opening new gateways to expand business through the many outsourced projects from the government.
Our general approach towards FedRAMP compliance support is as mentioned –
Categorize the Information – FedRAMP audits can be complex for companies who have not been exposed to security audits. A cloud service provider needs to understand the intricacies of FedRAMP before the actual audit. FedRAMP is based on NIST standards and characterizes several controls that IT systems should abide by, at various security levels.
Cloud service providers need to review and understand the controls as per the FedRAMP Security Plan. The complete information system based on Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS199) is categorized into-
- High Impact – Extremely sensitive information which can lead to an economic crisis or operation disruptions in case of a data breach
- Medium Impact – This is the data that your organization manages and can have a serious impact in case of a data breach. Usually contains Personally identifiable Information(PII)
- Low Impact – Publicly available data which will have less impact if something happens to the data
The classification of information is based on confidentiality, availability, and integrity. We provide help to understand and classify the information as per FedRAMP guidelines.
Select the Security Controls– It is important to choose the approach when dealing with FedRAMP compliance. One of the most common approaches to obtaining ATO – Authority to Operate is Cloud Service Provider, which works with FedRAMP Program Management Office – PMO and a third party auditing organization. The third-party auditing organization will put together a package consisting of the assessment plan, assessment report, and system security plan and submit it to FedRAMP PMO. Based on the review, it will be approved by the Joint Advisory Board – JAB, thereby providing a provisional ATO.
Based on the level of information, and asset classification, the organization needs to select the controls. The use of information by the cloud service provider determines the selection of the appropriate control. Our team of experts in FedRAMP will help you to select and classify these security controls.
Implement Security Controls– Following the approach that is chosen, we perform security evaluation with respect to FedRAMP requirements. This consists of the detailing of every control and evaluating them. The cloud service provider must implement these controls and define them in the FedRAMP tailored templates, and explain how these controls are implemented within the information system and its environment of operations.
Assess Security Control – Based on the security evaluation and our findings, we help you fix the open issues. We provide continuous remediation to help meet FedRAMP standard policies.
This is to ensure that the controls have been implemented as per FedRAMP’s tailored guidelines. The assessment of the controls is performed by a trusted third party such as third party assessment organization- 3PAO. TechForing guides you through the process, and works towards the completion of the security control assessment.
Authorize Information System – An Agency AO must evaluate and examine the implementation of the system and check the risks involved. A cloud provider has to address each and every control as specified by FedRAMP guidelines. Residual risks and the determination of the risk quotient is based on the controls.
Agency AO will issue ATO based on their specific policies for determining acceptable measures of residual risk. The evidence for the authorization is part of the ATO which is provided by the AO to the cloud provider. We work in collaboration with the cloud service provider to achieve the complete workflow via Agency AO.
Monitor Security Control – FedRAMP has a guideline on how agencies must continuously monitor the authorized system and manage risks. The cloud provider must employ means to provide effective system monitoring, report changes to the system, and implement a constant risk assessment plan. Our team helps with methods to monitor and manage the security control.
Documentation – FedRAMP compliance requires provisioning of certain mandate documents which are reviewed during the audits. We provide guidance to prepare these reports and relevant documents.
Internal Audit – Before moving to the actual audit, an internal audit is performed to determine how each FedRAMP control is implemented, document what each control does, and how every control is met.
We provide complete support for FedRAMP audits and provide the required training to the company’s stakeholders.
Our consultations for FedRAMP are economical with no surplus charges for any services. We provide end to end, round the clock support, for your FedRAMP compliance.
Our cost structuring varies from small to large organizations. An estimate of cost is as mentioned below:
- Consultation and understanding – $200 – $7000
- Information classification and security controls selection – $400 – $9,000
- Approach evaluation and planning – $100 – $3,000
- Architecture evaluation based on FedRAMP requirements – $1,000 – $20,000
- Remediation – $2000 – $40,000
- Documentation – $200 – $20,000
- Internal Audit – $300 – $40,000
- On-site visit – $1000 – $45,000
A company can additionally add or remove any of the above steps, based on the organization’s requirement.
FedRAMP provides flexibility to cloud service providers and gives a greater scope for expansion of your business. It ensures cloud service providers maintain a secure environment by following well-known NIST and FISMA standards. To expand your business to government agencies, FedRAMP is a mandatory compliance.
TechForing has set standards for managing and helping you successfully acquire FedRAMP compliance. We have experts trained in cloud computing services and have expertise in dealing with the various controls of FedRAMP. We cater to all the control requirements of FedRAMP in an organized manner. Our support starts from preparing for FedRAMP compliance to managing audits in order to acquire your Authority to Operate certificate.
We monitor your complete FedRAMP control provisioning, thereby helping you scale up your systems from a security perspective, and effectively achieving security standards as per FedRAMP guidelines.
TechForing consulted us the right way to get the FedRAMP certification.
They helped us to complete a time-sensitive project, which was highly appreciated.