By Chor-Ching Fan
In the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape, FedRAMP authorization has become a critical necessity for tech companies serving Federal government customers. Whether you are an SMB or large enterprise seeking initial authorization or working to maintain authorization with annual assessments and continuous monitoring, the challenges are daunting. However, there is good news – now is the perfect time to consider automating your FedRAMP compliance efforts with the Open Security Controls Assessment Language (OSCAL). Let’s explore why and how OSCAL automation can streamline the process while keeping your business secure and compliant.
FedRAMP Authorization Evolves
Obtaining FedRAMP authorization is not just an option but a requirement. The rising threat landscape, coupled with the increasing cost of data breaches, demands that industries and regulators prioritize cybersecurity. As an example, the healthcare industry, with its stringent compliance regulations, increasingly demands FedRAMP authorization from cloud service providers (CSPs) to protect patient data and maintain trust.
What Makes FedRAMP Challenging
Navigating the complex and ever-evolving landscape of FedRAMP authorization can be overwhelming. One major challenge lies in the sheer number of controls that must be addressed across various aspects of business operations. For instance, not only do CSPs need to establish strict access controls for digital infrastructure, but they also need to ensure physical access restrictions to data centers and perform vendor and supply chain management. Control implementation often entails technology implementation and/or business process changes, pushing out authorization timelines and increasing the complexity of the effort.
FedRAMP compliance documentation requirements add another yet another layer of complexity. Preparing and updating documents such as the System Security Plan (SSP), Security Assessment Plan (SAP), Deviation Request, Control Evidence, Continuous Monitoring Packages and others, all in accordance with specific templates and formats, can be a time-consuming and draining process.
Moreover, third-party assessments are essential for impartial verification of cybersecurity compliance measures and documentation. A certified third-party assessment organization (3PAO) conducts a comprehensive evaluation of a CSP’s in-boundary infrastructure, policies, and procedures to validate their security controls. CSPs must allocate resources for both preparing for authorization and responding to inquiries and requests for additional information from assessors.
Continuous monitoring is also a critical aspect of FedRAMP compliance, requiring regular reporting, documentation, evidence collection, and annual assessments. Performing daily system scans, reviewing logs, and promptly responding to incidents are non-negotiable and these activities can be a drain on resources that are already stretched thin.
OSCAL Automation: A Better Tomorrow for FedRAMP Compliance
Amidst these challenges, OSCAL automation emerges as a game-changer. OSCAL is a standardized language that leverages XML, JSON, and YAML formats for representing your FedRAMP compliance information. Similar applications of standardized data exchange methods in B2B ecommerce and regulatory financial reporting have proven that this model works. OSCAL enables CSPs to create, update, and share (with the FedRAMP PMO) their security documentation in a consistent and structured way. Instead of using multiple Word or Excel files that are prone to errors and and present update challenges, CSPs can generate OSCAL files and transmit their compliance posture in a single source of truth.
OSCAL holds the key to increasing speed and scale across the FedRAMP authorization program. It will facilitate communication and collaboration between CSPs and the FedRAMP Program Management Office (PMO). Instead of sending emails or uploading files to different portals, CSPs can use OSCAL to securely exchange their security information with the PMO in a standardized and interoperable way. The FedRAMP PMO is now implementing capabilities to automate evaluation of OSCAL submissions. OSCAL can also help CSPs reduce the amount of effort spent on documentation associated with the use of 3rd party services to address controls. OSCAL is the perfect catalyst for CSPs to reimagine FedRAMP compliance operations.
The time to gear up for FedRAMP automation with OSCAL is now. Embracing this cybersecurity compliance automation standard allows CSPs to tackle the challenges of FedRAMP authorization with reduced manual effort and greater confidence. By automating FedRAMP compliance efforts, you can ensure the security and reliability of your services, gain a competitive edge in the market, and build trust with your customers. So, why wait? Explore the benefits of FedRAMP OSCAL automation and take your cybersecurity compliance program to new heights.
If you are interested in leveraging FedRAMP automation with OSCAL for your cloud services, you may be wondering how to get started. Rizkly is here to help. We are a FedRAMP OSCAL automation platform paired with expert guidance to answer questions, meet with you regularly to ensure your project stays on track and ensure you are prepared to pass 3PAO assessment and grow business within the federal government marketplace. Contact us for to learn more and get answers to your questions.