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Menu of safety-approved cloud products grows to three

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Federal agencies soon will have more options when shopping for certified cloud facilities that don’t need security tests.

Following the first-ever low-risk guarantee, which was granted to Autonomic Resources in late December 2012, the Web services supplier on Friday said private networks soon will be available for instant installation. And on Thursday, the government endorsed the safety of a second company’s services – cloud rentals from CGI Federal.

The offerings received seals of approval from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program after independent, government-approved auditors checked that the companies’ data centers, staff and other support services met federal security standards. The CGI nod marks the second accreditation out of a pool of roughly 80 FedRAMP applicants. After a product passes a one-time inspection, any agency can subscribe to the vendor’s services without expending time and money on an agency-specific assessment.

Officials with Autonomic Resources, a North Carolina-based small business, said their first sanctioned service “has gained wide interest and acceptance” since the General Services Administration, which manages FedRAMP, signed off. Agencies “will soon be able to consume, on a utility basis, single tenant private cloud” services, meaning agencies can pay per use for isolated computer room, company officials stated.  Autonomic Resources said that procurement times typically will decrease by three to six months under this model.

"Agencies will be able to spin up private clouds utilizing operating dollars and avoiding the capital budget request process to build a private cloud on-premise,” Autonomic Resources Founder and President John Keese said in a statement. Like the initial product, an “infrastructure-as-a-service,” the private packages will include managed and unmanaged remote machines.

CGI Federal, a major contractor that was awarded $388.80 million in fiscal 2012 according to agency reporting, now can provide new customers safety-approved offsite computer power and web-hosting, GSA officials said. The company’s cloud client list already includes the Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Homeland Security Department and several other agencies, according to CGI’s website.

“Having a small and large business now authorized demonstrates how FedRAMP works for all” cloud providers, Dave McClure, associate administrator for GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, wrote on the agency’s blog.

The government obligated just $1.56 million to Autonomic Resources in fiscal 2012, according to federal spending databases.

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