A major component of FedRAMP assessments involves comprehensive documentation of system security controls and rigorous testing procedures. Gathering evidence, running vulnerability scans, and documenting results is a manual and repetitive process. Automation tools robotically perform documentation by pulling data from APIs and creating control narratives. Automated testing tools methodically run penetration tests, static code analysis, dynamic scanning, and generate reports. It slashes the manual effort of producing paperwork and frees up teams to focus on high-value security analysis.
Automating monitoring and continuous compliance
Once authorized, FedRAMP requires continuous monitoring and ongoing compliance from cloud services. It means regularly reviewing security controls, scanning for new vulnerabilities, and providing monthly and yearly updates. Keeping track of these recurring compliance activities manually gets complicated quickly. Automating continuous monitoring with cloud-native tools allows services to easily maintain FedRAMP standards. Security posture management solutions automatically track assets, and vulnerabilities, remediate issues, and generate periodic reports to submit. Automated monitoring ensures systems adhere to demanding FedRAMP requirements with minimal overhead.
Streamlining training and awareness
FedRAMP mandates rigorous training for personnel handling cloud systems and data. Automation assists with onboarding new employees and keeping staff updated on the latest guidance. Interactive online training modules equipped with built-in assessments validate comprehension. Automated notifications alert employees to new policies and procedures to review. Centralized training platforms make distributing and tracking security awareness initiatives much simpler. Automation takes the complexity out of managing ongoing education to meet FedRAMP standards.
Enhancing collaboration and communication
The fedramp certification process involves extensive collaboration between cloud service providers (CSPs) and third-party assessment organizations (3PAOs). There are also multiple exchanges with FedRAMP officials and the Joint Authorization Board (JAB). Juggling communication across all these entities can get unwieldy using siloed methods like email and spreadsheets. Purpose-built automation platforms provide a central virtual workspace for better coordination. CSP teams can seamlessly share documentation, discuss requirements, track progress, and keep all stakeholders looped in through the platform. Structured coordination via automation fosters alignment and helps navigate FedRAMP reviews faster.
Integrating and customizing automation
While prebuilt FedRAMP tools and templates help, the most value comes from integrating these solutions into existing cloud infrastructure. Utilizing APIs and custom development, automation is embedded natively into the workflows and systems already used to manage the cloud service. Automation also be tailored to meet the CSP’s unique needs and environment. The more ingrained automation becomes, the greater efficiencies are gained over manual processes. Taking the time to customize automation pays dividends in accelerating FedRAMP efforts down the road.
Choosing the right automation approach
Effective automation hinges on selecting the right approach for each organization’s requirements, resources, and capabilities.
- Off-the-shelf GRC solutions with preconfigured automation for FedRAMP.
- Cloud-native security tools with baked-in automation features.
- Custom automation development using APIs, bots, and orchestration tools.
- FedRAMP-specific automation platforms for pre-built templates and workflows.
FedRAMP represents rigorous cloud security standards. Keeping pace with FedRAMP demands via manual means slows down service providers considerably. The way forward is to embrace automation technologies that accelerate compliance while enhancing security. The time and effort saved allow CSPs to steer more resources toward innovation and deliver robust cloud solutions that federal agencies securely leverage. Automation enables maintaining the highest FedRAMP benchmarks at scale without the heavy overhead. The future of the federal cloud depends on automation transforming how CSPs achieve FedRAMP authorization.