3 Tips to Prepare for FedRAMP Authorization

This blog post is a recap of our Demystifying FedRAMP webinar, hosted alongside our partners at Anitian. View the full webinar recording here. 

FedRAMP (The Federal Risk Authorization Management Program) was established in 2011 as a way to accelerate the adoption of cloud solutions, and increase confidence in the security of those cloud solutions, across the Federal government. 

FedRAMP is an authorization program versus a certification program, meaning that businesses go through a rigorous security review process and are then granted an Authority to Operate (ATO) and listed in the FedRAMP Marketplace. The Marketplace is a comprehensive list of cloud products and services that are approved to work with federal agencies.

Prior to undergoing the FedRAMP authorization process, there are a few key things that organizations should keep in mind to prepare for FedRAMP success.

1. Executive Buy-in and Cooperation is Key 

Federal agencies spent nearly $11 billion on the cloud in FY 2021, which spells huge opportunities for cloud service providers. But the journey to FedRAMP authorization is long. It involves many evidence requests, as well as lots of writing-heavy work to document policies and procedures. Before undertaking all of this work, it’s essential to get executive buy-in on the importance of FedRAMP authorization. Which, despite the monetary opportunities present in the federal market, isn’t always easy. 

In our extensive experience helping organizations earn FedRAMP authorization, we’ve seen many expensive and time-consuming delays stem from misalignment over priorities within the overall corporate environment. This misalignment makes a long process even longer and will only cause your organization to miss out on opportunities to expand within the government sector. 

2. Consider Automated Solutions 

If management is hesitant to give buy-in on FedRAMP because of the numerous evidence requests and documentation requirements, consider a software solution that can automate and streamline tedious tasks and make the process significantly easier. 

Anitian’s SecureCloud for Compliance Automation platform and A-LIGN’s audit automation and compliance management software, A-SCEND, helps to streamline compliance process. SecureCloud automates the documentation process with template libraries and reference architectures, as well as track progress toward FedRAMP authorization to help teams stay on track. A-SCEND centralizes evidence collection, standardizes compliance requests across multiple security frameworks, consolidates audits, and more.  

With automated software solutions, organizations also benefit from a “enter once, populate everywhere” system, removing the need to upload the same documents and information to multiple places during the FedRAMP preparation and evidence gathering phase. This is hugely beneficial, as there are hundreds of pieces of evidence that must be reviewed in a typical FedRAMP authorization.   

Both tools are also auditor-assisted, with real humans who can answer any questions you have and help you use the tools to their full potential.  

3. Don’t Overlook the Benefits of Control Inheritance 

Control inheritance is extremely useful on the road to FedRAMP authorization. Essentially, control inheritance is when your business automatically inherits certain security controls from an underlying infrastructure provider that is already FedRAMP authorized. A great example would be hosting your product on top of AWS or Azure Government — both of which are already FedRAMP certified.  

If FedRAMP authorization is in your future, make sure to consider the benefits of control inheritance.  

Get Started With A-LIGN 

The experts at A-LIGN can assist you every step of the way toward FedRAMP authorization. We can help with implementing appropriate controls, completing a FedRAMP Readiness Assessment Report (RAR), and ensuring you meet FedRAMP requirements by using Federal Information Process Standard (FIPS) Models for low, moderate, or high-impact organizations.