21 May 2024

Key Updates in FedRAMP Governance and Regulations

Learn more about changes driven by an updated FedRAMP roadmap, RFQ for a GRC solution, and pen testing guidance for public comment.

Kalid Tarapolsi
Kalid Tarapolsi Chief Growth Officer LinkedIn

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) has introduced significant updates that are poised to reshape the landscape of government cloud security and compliance. These changes are driven by the introduction of a new FedRAMP Board and Roadmap, a request for quote (RFQ) for a Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) solution, and a public comment period for updated penetration test guidance.

Updated FedRAMP Roadmap

FedRAMP recently unveiled its new roadmap, outlining strategic objectives and immediate priorities to streamline operations and bolster effectiveness. This, in addition to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announcement of the new board, marks a potential significant shift. Below we’ve outlined a few key takeaways from the recent developments.

The roadmap lays out four key goals centered around the customer experience, leadership, scaling the marketplace, and technology-forward operations:

  • Customer-Centric Approach: FedRAMP aims to simplify processes for cloud providers and enhance usability for agencies, ensuring a seamless user experience across the board.
  • Cybersecurity Leadership: The program is dedicated to establishing clear, consistent security standards that are adaptable to varying risk profiles, positioning itself as a leader in cybersecurity.
  • Marketplace Expansion: Through collaborations with trusted partners, FedRAMP is streamlining reviews and strengthening post-authorization monitoring efforts.
  • Technological Advancements: By embracing a data-centric and API-driven approach, the program enables automation and facilitates the use of digital authorization packages, making the authorization process more efficient.

The program also laid out key initiatives to ensure it meets the four goals:

  • Agile Change Management: By integrating agile methodologies, FedRAMP is speeding up the deployment of security enhancements and new features.
  • Customer-Oriented Metrics: The implementation of metrics based on customer feedback helps measure cost-effectiveness and efficiency, ensuring that the program meets user needs.
  • Core Security Expectations: FedRAMP is setting definitive security outcomes for all types of authorizations and enhancing collaboration with key cybersecurity agencies.
  • Outcome-Focused Policies: The program strikes a balance between stringent security requirements and their practical application, adding a layer of flexibility where necessary.
  • Capacity Building: Through streamlined processes and partnerships with authorizing bodies, FedRAMP is boosting its authorization capacity.
  • Digital Authorization Packages: Transitioning to machine-readable formats is a game changer, speeding up the authorization process and enabling greater automation.
  • Collaboration and Engagement: Exploring reciprocity with external frameworks and working alongside agencies like the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), FedRAMP is expanding its collaborative efforts.

FedRAMP anticipates improved efficiency for industry providers and agencies, reduced backlog, and heightened trust in the program. This will lead to increased engagement opportunities including information sessions, public forums, and recruitment drives for key positions.

Hear more from Eric Mill, Executive Director for Cloud Strategy at GSA, on the potential impact of these recent changes on cloud service providers (CSPs).

RFQ for a New GRC Solution

In an effort to modernize the tools available for managing compliance and risk within the federal cloud infrastructure, FedRAMP’s release of an RFQ for a new GRC solution is a proactive step toward streamlining these critical processes. This initiative seeks to equip federal agencies and their CSPs with more advanced tools that are capable of managing the complexities of compliance in an efficient and effective manner. The new GRC solution aims to enhance the ability to monitor, report, and manage compliance with federal security requirements, potentially introducing new standards that could affect how security assessments and audits are conducted. For CSPs, this means adapting to new tools and standards that may emerge from this solution, which could impact everything from risk assessment protocols to the reporting processes used to demonstrate compliance.

Penetration Test Guidance Public Comment Period

FedRAMP’s initiation of a public comment period for its new penetration test guidance represents a critical step toward refining the program’s security assessment protocols. By inviting feedback from stakeholders, FedRAMP aims to ensure that the new guidelines are both robust and practical, effectively balancing stringent security measures with operational feasibility for CSPs. This feedback is crucial for developing standards that align with the latest security practices and technological capabilities, ensuring that the guidelines can effectively identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in cloud services. The outcome of this public comment period will likely influence future FedRAMP testing protocols and requirements, potentially leading to more rigorous and comprehensive security assessments.

Impact Analysis for CSPs

These updates from FedRAMP are likely to bring about significant changes for CSPs, necessitating updates to internal processes and perhaps even business strategies. Adapting to these new regulations and standards quickly and efficiently will be crucial for maintaining compliance and securing ongoing contracts with federal agencies.

In light of these changes, it is essential for stakeholders to remain engaged and proactive. For CSPs navigating the updated FedRAMP landscape, partnering with seasoned experts who understand the nuances of the new governance structures and compliance requirements is crucial. Such partnerships can provide the guidance needed to navigate these changes effectively, ensuring compliance, fostering innovation, and securing a competitive edge.

If you are interested in learning more or scheduling a consultation to discuss pursuing your FedRAMP authorization, contact us. Backed by a former FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) technical representative member, our team understands the nuances, expectations, and critical success factors that can make all the difference when it comes to achieving authorization and scaling within the federal government and DoD.

If you would like to learn more about FedRAMP and ConMon, check out our YouTube playlist from the Cloud Compliance Summit.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss this topic in more detail, feel free to contact us and we would be happy to schedule some time to chat about how Aquia can help you and your organization.


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