Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

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MeriTalk Provides FedRAMP Transparency With New “FedRAMP OnRAMP”

MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, in collaboration with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the Federal agency responsible for delivering best-value acquisition to government agencies, today publicly announced plans for a new initiative, the FedRAMP OnRAMP. This online portal is designed to accelerate government transition to cloud computing. With a key White House cloud security deadline fast approaching, the portal provides government agencies with 360-degree visibility into their existing commercial and government secure cloud service offerings. It also gives government agencies a read ahead to new cloud services that will become certified as secure in the next six months. You can access the FedRAMP OnRAMP for free at www.meritalk.com.

“There has been a lot of talk about the value of cloud in the government,” said Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees federal IT and procurement policy. “FedRAMP OnRAMP provides tangible metrics and critical insight on a program that is critical to accelerating the modernization of government through the adoption of cloud computing. I commend GSA on the progress it has made so far in implementing FedRAMP and look forward to seeing the resulting savings grow over time.”

Leveraging real cost numbers provided by five of the 12 commercial cloud service providers that have successfully navigated the FedRAMP certification process, MeriTalk estimates the average cost for the government to perform a FedRAMP cloud security certification at $250,000. In addition, MeriTalk utilized government customer installation data from six commercial cloud service providers that have achieved a FedRAMP certification to calculate the cost savings the government has realized by embracing the centralized FedRAMP security certification process. MeriTalk projects FedRAMP government-wide savings conservatively at $52.5 million to date. The six cloud service providers that provided information have a total of 210 cloud installations across the government. Applying the average number of installations across the 12 FedRAMP certified cloud service providers raises the FedRAMP government-wide savings to $105 million. MeriTalk will continue to work with existing and new FedRAMP cloud service providers to update the FedRAMP savings.

FedRAMP is the security good housekeeping seal of approval for government cloud services. The White House requires all government agencies to use FedRAMP cloud services by June 2014. It typically takes at least six months to receive FedRAMP certification, and prior to the establishment of the FedRAMP OnRAMP, agencies had little visibility into which cloud service providers were in the FedRAMP process – or when those providers could expect to receive certification. The OnRAMP will utilize GSA’s new pre-authorization progress reporting with value added from MeriTalk’s cloud business metrics to provide a one-stop-shopping source for the comprehensive government cloud cybersecurity outlook.

Without full visibility of their options, government agencies cannot make good IT investment decisions. Today, there are 14 FedRAMP compliant cloud solutions from 12 industry and government providers, including Akamai, Amazon, AT&T, Autonomic Resources, CGI, Concurrent Technologies, HP, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Oracle, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are 11 new cloud services currently in the FedRAMP approval process from vendors, including: CA Technologies, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, Clear Government Solutions (CGS), Economic Systems, Fiberlink, HP, Layered Tech Government Solutions, Microsoft, Oracle, SecureKey Technologies Inc., and Virtustream.

The new online portal also brings new business metrics to the government IT market. It shows the savings that the government has realized from the FedRAMP process in hard dollars. It also provides new insight into the industry economics associated with undergoing the FedRAMP process – costs, savings, and timelines – sourced from the existing FedRAMP certified cloud service providers. This will increase the number of commercial cloud providers by increasing the predictability of the FedRAMP process. More providers mean more choices, more competition, and better prices for the government.

In addition, the site provides a host of Federal cloud computing resources, including the Cloud First Consumer Guide, GSA’s Guide to FedRAMP, and a series of discussion forums.

“Security is the number-one barrier to cloud reinventing the $80 billion Federal IT market,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. “Centralized security certification just makes good sense. This public-private communication to increase cloud visibility across government is a huge step forward. It will help cloud unlock enormous savings in government. We anticipate huge traffic on the FedRAMP OnRAMP.”

About the Government IT Market and FedRAMP

The U.S. Federal government spends more than $80 billion each year on IT. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Hill have directed Federal agencies to embrace cloud computing and shared services to increase the efficiency of Federal IT and reduce costs. According to OMB’s FedRAMP mandate, all commercial cloud services acquired by U.S. agencies must have a FedRAMP Authorization to Operate (ATO) by June 2014. State and local government agencies also use FedRAMP. The state and local government market is bigger than the Federal IT market – and ripe for cloud conversion.

For more information and to access the FedRAMP OnRAMP, please visit www.meritalk.com. To continue the cloud discussion, be a part of the Cloud Computing Exchange at www.meritalk.com/ccx.

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government’s hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 85,000 government community contacts. For more information, visit www.meritalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk. MeriTalk is a 300Brand organization.

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