INSIDE BLACKBERRY BLOG

Why FedRAMP is Essential for Government Agencies

ATHOC / 08.21.17 / Dubhe Beinhorn

A breach in cybersecurity is one of the most pressing threats facing governments today.  Hackers are smart, and cyber-attacks are surfacing at lightning speed, which makes detecting offenses a complicated matter. To combat the threat to the federal government's at-risk data, experts from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency and several other qualified agencies, developed the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). It was designed to be an ongoing security monitoring system for cloud-based services.  With the diverse array of expertise and input from several government agencies, FedRAMP continues to be updated.

FedRAMP is essential for government branches and agencies for the following reasons:

The protection of valuable investments is ensured. Cloud-based technologies must be FedRAMP certified before the government can use them. It is mandatory for any cloud-based system to comply with FedRAMP standards to protect the billion-dollar investments that the government spends on technology and information each year.

Costs are reduced. Independent assessments within each agency are excessive and time-consuming. The FedRAMP program uses a framework that can be set up once and used over and over again. The FedRAMP certification can save 30-40% of government costs by reducing resources and working hours that would have been used on unnecessary security testing and evaluations. 

Credibility is established. The FedRAMP certification process is a three-step procedure. The first step is a security analysis that requires an agency to meet a set of standards and controls that are evaluated by subject-matter experts.  The FedRAMP program will grant a security authorization once the agency satisfies the requirements of the assessment. After approval is granted, an ongoing plan is employed to ensure the agency stays in compliance with the security assessment and authorization requirements. A FedRAMP certification proves that an agency successfully passed a rigorous cybersecurity stress test that determined them to be equipped to uphold evolving security standards.

Antiquated hardware is eliminated. Outdated systems are still being used in some government bureaus because IT approvals take time. The FedRAMP assessment process is designed to eradicate unneeded, outdated hardware so that agencies can spend more money on necessary budgets and IT teams can spend less time troubleshooting extraneous hardware.

Security and visibility are improved. FedRAMP creates a clear picture of security by using a uniform risk-management analysis across the entire cloud-based infrastructure. The FedRAMP process serves as s second pair of eyes, creating transparency with Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) by exposing and analyzing vulnerabilities.  With FedRAMP, IT architecture becomes consistent and trusted.

Communications systems are improved. Every minute is vital during a security crisis. FedRAMP provides governments with faster cloud-based services, thereby increasing communication capabilities and providing an unparalleled level of reassurance in communication systems. Governments are then able to get the right security information to the right people at the right time.

Flexibility and adaptability are obtainable. It is crucial for government agencies to have a risk management plan in today's world of increasingly complex IT challenges. What is considered adequate security today could quickly become inadequate in the face of tomorrow's threats. Because the FedRAMP program is building IT infrastructure of the future by providing flexibility and adaptability in evaluating ongoing security threats, FedRAMP compliance will remain an indispensable tool for forward-thinking governments.

BlackBerry AtHoc was FedRAMP certified in early 2017, after passing a rigorous risk management review. It is the only FedRAMP-authorized crisis communication platform currently in existence and protects approximately 70% of the American federal government. Learn more about BlackBerry AtHoc by clicking here.

Dubhe Beinhorn

About Dubhe Beinhorn

VP, Operations, Public Sector/Civilian