Jan 04 2013

The First Cloud Provider Clears FedRAMP Standards

Federal security standards are finally bearing fruit.

The General Services Administration (GSA) has finally approved a cloud provider under the security guidelines detailed by FedRAMP. The first vendor is Autonomic Resources, an information technology and integration services firm that delivers SaaS, PaaS and cloud brokerage, among other cloud services. They are small in comparison with other companies who are rumored to be undergoing FedRAMP audits, such as Microsoft, but Automatic Resources has been serving the government since 2001.

The goal of FedRAMP is to significantly cut the cost of contracting cloud providers. Although third-party auditors will be hired to implement the standards, taxpayer dollars will be saved.

“By using FedRAMP and eliminating redundant security assessments, agencies can save an estimated $200,000 per authorization,” Dave McClure, associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, said in a statement Thursday.

Since June, when GSA began accepting applicants, about 80 companies have expressed interest in hiring government-selected assessors to test their cloud services. The Cary, N.C.-based Autonomic began the process in July, according to the company’s website. Veris Group performed the assessment.

Read Small N.C. cloud company nabs first FedRAMP security certification on Nextgov.

What’s Next for FedRAMP?

2013 will be an important year for the government’s cloud-first initiative. Cloud providers will be busy meeting the standards set forth by FedRAMP and working with auditors. Agencies can finally begin to move to the cloud in earnest; existing cloud providers have until 2014 to meet FedRAMP’s standards.

Cloud computing marks a foundational shift in the way government agencies operate and will need to be handled strategically, but the savings are real:

After three years of cloud, savings may really begin to pile on. Based upon input provided by Feds, agencies could have shaved 15% of their IT budgets for the last three years with cloud, or approximately $12 billion per year. According to MeriTalk, federal agencies and departments could have cut between $2 and $3 billion by clouding steady-state programs and $25-$32 billion by clouding new IT investments over the past three years.

Read Cloud Could Cut $12 Billion from US Government Annual Deficit: Study on Forbes.

Read more about why the government is slow to adopt cloud computing.

<p>Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>