recommended reading

Vendors Scramble as FedRAMP Cloud Services Deadline Arrives

Maksim Kabakou/

As the June 5 deadline for cloud service providers to assess their solutions against the government’s baseline security standards arrives, vendors are scrambling to secure their offerings to agencies.     

The deadline arrives approximately two years after the inception of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, known as FedRAMP. Thus far, many of cloud computing’s heaviest hitters have achieved FedRAMP-compliant solutions through three various routes.

Cloud services companies -- as well as the agencies they service -- face scrutiny from inspectors general and the Office of Management and Budget if they miss the deadline. As a result, there’s been significant activity in the last few months and weeks. A slew of vendors have various infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-a-service offerings in the FedRAMP pipeline, and a few have sought the expertise of companies that have already achieved compliance.

Two software offerings, EconSys’ FHR Navigator and Concurrent Technologies Corporation’s Unclassified Remote Hosted Desktops, recently leveraged Autonomic Resources’ FedRAMP-compliant ARC-P infrastructure offering (as well as the collective experience of its security team), earning an authority to operate under FedRAMP. 

Autonomic Resources has capitalized on the sudden increase in interest around FedRAMP, putting its status as a pioneer in federal cloud computing to use by offering a FedRAMP Express, a sort of “short-cut to compliance” for unauthorized cloud vendors. FedRAMP Express allows vendors to essentially piggy-back off ARC-P’s infrastructure-as-a-service offering, allowing vendors to make use of its security controls while reducing the time it takes to achieve compliance. Autonomic Resources achieved the first authority to operate under FedRAMP in December 2012 and the company later became the first to achieve compliance under additional controls required for operation within the Defense Department.

“We saw the demand coming in -- companies asking us for help and knowing they would be out of compliance otherwise -- and right now we’re working with four other companies to do the same thing [as EconSys and CTC],” said John Keese, President and CEO of Autonomic Resources.

Despite the deadline, cloud service providers will likely have a few more months to target FedRAMP before oversight bodies begin to seriously enforce compliance, according to Maria Horton, CEO of EmeSec, a FedRAMP-accredited third-party assessment organization.

The deadline for accreditation, combined with changes to FedRAMP’s baseline standards, likely means enforcement will wait until fall.

“I can’t imagine any enforcement will occur right away,” Horton said. “Over the next three months through the end of the fiscal year, it’ll be kind of a slow walk where as long as you’re in the process of making positive movement, you’re moving toward certification. In fiscal 2015, beginning Oct. 1, [National Institute of Standards and Technology SP 800-53 Rev. 4] is out, and we’ll see investment ramp up for those [cloud service providers] that know they need to make revenue in the 2015 calendar. Folks will be preparing. Their livelihood depends on it.”

(Image via Maksim Kabakou/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.