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Federal Risk and Authorization Program

Definition

The Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) is a US government-wide program that standardizes the approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. It ensures that cloud service providers meet specific security requirements in order to work with federal agencies. The goal of the program is to facilitate the adoption of secure cloud solutions by federal agencies while minimizing risks and maintaining data security.

Phonetic

The phonetics of the keyword “Federal Risk and Authorization Program” is:F – eh – d – er – uhlR – ih – s – ka – ndO – th – o – r – i – z – ey – sh – u – nP – r – oh – g – r – ae – m

Key Takeaways

  1. The Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that standardizes the approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services used by federal agencies.
  2. FedRAMP ensures that cloud service providers (CSPs) meet a set of rigorous security standards, helping federal agencies to adopt secure cloud solutions more efficiently and cost-effectively.
  3. Through its standardized process, FedRAMP promotes the adoption of innovative cloud technologies, which in turn helps the federal government increase its efficiency, cost savings, and overall cybersecurity posture.

Importance

The Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) is a crucial technology term as it showcases the US government’s commitment to ensuring cloud service providers meet strict security standards to protect federal data.

By implementing a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring, FedRAMP bolsters trust and confidence in the adoption of cloud technologies within federal agencies.

It not only streamlines the process of vendor approval but reduces duplication of efforts and saves time and resources.

As a result, FedRAMP plays a vital role in modernizing government IT infrastructure, enhancing the security of federal information systems, and fostering efficient collaboration among various stakeholders in the cloud ecosystem.

Explanation

The Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) plays a crucial role in addressing the ever-increasing security concerns in the realm of information technology, particularly for federal agencies in the United States. Its primary purpose is to standardize the process of assessing, monitoring, and authorizing cloud computing products and services, thereby enabling a more secure and streamlined approach to the adoption of these technologies by the federal government.

By establishing a centralized framework for risk management, FedRAMP not only promotes cost-effectiveness but also enhances transparency while guaranteeing continuous monitoring of cloud solutions. In practice, FedRAMP serves as a vital assurance for federal agencies, reassuring them that their sensitive data and operations are being handled securely and in compliance with rigorous standards.

This is achieved by implementing a “do once, use many times” principle, which fosters a shared approach to security assessment and accreditation. Once a cloud service provider acquires FedRAMP certification, federal agencies can confidently utilize their services with the knowledge that the provider has successfully undergone a meticulous evaluation and demonstrated adherence to strict security controls.

Consequently, the program plays an indispensable role in fostering a more secure, efficient, and innovative environment for federal Information Technology operations.

Examples of Federal Risk and Authorization Program

The Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) is a security assessment and authorization framework designed to boost the security of cloud-based services used by the federal government. Here are three real-world examples of FedRAMP in action:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) ProgramThe DHS is a key federal agency responsible for ensuring the safety and resilience of the nation’s cyber and physical infrastructure. In 2014, the agency began the implementation of the CDM program, which provides automated tools to continuously identify and address system vulnerabilities. By leveraging FedRAMP, the DHS was able to quickly evaluate and approve cloud service providers (CSPs) that meet the CDM program’s stringent security requirements, enabling these providers to support the DHS cybersecurity efforts on their mission to protect the nation’s IT infrastructure.

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Integrated Award Environment (IAE)The GSA’s IAE is a unified and streamlined electronic platform that allows the government to manage, simplify and speed up various procurement processes, such as Federal Acquisition Regulation reporting, grants management, and small business loan applications. By implementing FedRAMP, the GSA ensured that the IAE followed consistent and reliable security standards throughout its development and deployment. As a result, the IAE provides a secure environment for federal agencies, vendors, grantees, and other stakeholders to conduct business with confidence.

U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Census Cloud SolutionThe U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for conducting the decennial census, a nationwide enumeration of the population aimed at gathering vital demographic information. For the 2020 Census, the bureau utilized a cloud-based solution that relied on FedRAMP to ensure its security and integrity. By employing FedRAMP-certified CSPs, the Census Bureau could securely store, process, and transmit millions of sensitive records and ensure that critical data was protected from potential cyber threats. This innovative approach allowed the agency to efficiently disseminate census data to various stakeholders, including government entities, businesses, and researchers.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Risk and Authorization Program

What is the Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP)?

The Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to authorizing, monitoring, and assessing the security of cloud-based services used by federal agencies. It aims to ensure that cloud service providers (CSPs) meet specific security standards and that federal data is kept secure.

Why was FedRAMP created?

FedRAMP was created to accelerate the adoption of secure cloud services across the federal government, reduce redundancy by creating a common security assessment framework, and promote consistent evaluation of the security of cloud solutions. This helps to save time, resources, and budget while ensuring a high level of security for federal data and systems.

How does the FedRAMP authorization process work?

The FedRAMP authorization process involves four steps: 1) selecting a cloud service offering (CSO), 2) performing a security assessment, 3) issuing a provisional authority to operate (P-ATO) by a federal agency or the Joint Authorization Board (JAB), and 4) continued monitoring and reassessment. CSPs are required to work with a certified third-party assessment organization (3PAO) to evaluate their security measures and provide evidence that they meet FedRAMP requirements.

What are the FedRAMP security requirements?

FedRAMP security requirements are derived from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-53, which outlines security and privacy controls for federal information systems. These requirements are further tailored to create a set of baseline controls for low, moderate, and high-impact systems, as defined by the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 199 categorization.

What is the difference between FedRAMP Ready, In Process, and Authorized?

FedRAMP Ready indicates that a CSP has completed a readiness assessment and demonstrates a strong likelihood of achieving FedRAMP authorization. FedRAMP In Process signifies that a CSP is actively working with a federal agency or the JAB to achieve authorization. FedRAMP Authorized means that a CSP has successfully completed the security assessment process and has been granted an authority to operate (ATO) by a federal agency or the JAB.

Related Technology Terms

  • Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)
  • Joint Authorization Board (JAB)
  • Authorization to Operate (ATO)
  • FedRAMP Security Controls
  • System Security Plan (SSP)

Sources for More Information

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