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Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

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FedRAMP Federates Further

FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program), the government’s cloud security assessment plan, announced late last week that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the first agency-approved cloud service provider.  The accreditation covers all AWS data centers in the United States.  Amazon becomes the third vendor to meet the security requirements detailed by FedRAMP.  FedRAMP is the result of the US Government’s work to address security concerns related to the growing practice of cloud computing and establishes a standardized approach to security assessment, authorizations and continuous monitoring for cloud services and products.  By creating industry-wide security standards and focusing more on risk management, as opposed to strict compliance with reporting metrics, officials expect to improve data security as well as simplify the processes agencies use to purchase cloud services.  FedRAMP is looking toward full operational capability later this year.

As both the cloud and the government’s use of cloud services grow, officials found that there were many inconsistencies to requirements and approaches as each agency began to adopt the cloud.  Launched in 2012, FedRAMP’s goal is to bring consistency to the process but also give cloud vendors a standard way of providing services to the government.  And with the government’s cloud-first policy, which requires agencies to consider moving applications to the cloud as a first option for new IT projects, this should streamline the process of deploying to the cloud.  This is an ‘approve once, and use many’ approach, reducing the cost and time required to conduct redundant, individual agency security assessment.  AWS’s certification is for 3 years.

FedRAMP provides an overall checklist for handling risks associated with Web services that would have a limited, or serious impact on government operations if disrupted.  Cloud providers must implement these security controls to be authorized to provide cloud services to federal agencies.  The government will forbid federal agencies from using a cloud service provider unless the vendor can prove that a FedRAMP-accredited third-party organization has verified and validated the security controls.  Once approved, the cloud vendor would not need to be ‘re-evaluated’ by every government entity that might be interested in their solution.  There may be instances where additional controls are added by agencies to address specific needs.

The BIG-IP Virtual Edition for AWS includes options for traffic management, global server load balancing, application firewall, web application acceleration, and other advanced application delivery functions.

 

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter is an F5 evangelist for security, IoT, mobile and core. His background in theatre brings the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together to cover training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5. He's also produced over 350 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Writer, speaker and Video Host, he's also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others.

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