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Prep for FedRAMP compliance using NIST 800-53

If your organization is a cloud service provider and wants to do business with the federal government, then you’ll need to be compliant with FedRAMP

We’re excited to announce that Strike Graph now gives you the tools to prep for FedRAMP compliance using NIST 800-53. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at what exactly FedRAMP is, how it relates to NIST 800-53, how having your SOC 2 can help, and how Strike Graph can help make it all happen!

What is FedRAMP?

FedRAMP stands for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. Put simply, it’s a US government program that provides a standardized approach to the security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring of cloud products and services. 

FedRAMP was established in 2011 by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and is jointly operated by the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was launched to accelerate the adoption of secure cloud solutions across federal agencies, ensure the security of federal information and systems, and provide cost savings by reducing duplicative efforts and reusing security assessments.

So, how does it work? FedRAMP establishes a set of rigorous security requirements that cloud service providers (CSPs) must meet to receive authorization to operate (ATO) from federal agencies. These requirements encompass various aspects of cloud security, including data protection, system monitoring, incident response, access control, and more.

How does FedRAMP relate to NIST 800-53?

While FedRAMP and NIST 800-53 are two distinct security frameworks, FedRAMP relies heavily on the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, 800-53 framework. That’s because both ensure the security of federal information systems and data, particularly when it comes to cloud computing.

NIST 800-53 is a comprehensive catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations. It is considered a foundational document for federal information security. NIST 800-53 provides a wide range of security controls covering areas such as access control, incident response, encryption, and more, which are applicable to various types of systems — including cloud services.

FedRAMP leverages these existing NIST 800-53 standards to establish a standardized security assessment and authorization process for cloud products and services, thereby laying out a certification pathway for organizations doing business with federal agencies.

Who needs to meet FedRAMP requirements?

You’ve got a handle now on the difference between NIST 800-53 and FedRAMP, but who needs to meet FedRAMP requirements, or in other words, become an "authorized FedRamp provider"?

As we mentioned before, FedRAMP is for cloud service providers, or CSPs, who want to do business with the federal government. CSPs include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) providers. 

These CSPs must meet the FedRAMP security requirements, undergo security assessments by accredited third-party assessment organizations (3PAOs) to demonstrate compliance, and be assessed through an individual US government agency or the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) to obtain an authorization to operate (ATO).

This process allows federal agencies to more readily adopt cloud services knowing that the providers have met stringent security standards. It streamlines the procurement and evaluation process for cloud services, reducing the time and effort required for each federal agency to assess a provider's security posture.

It's important to note that while FedRAMP requirements are primarily focused on US federal agencies and the CSPs serving them, other organizations beyond the federal government can benefit from the security standards and best practices established by FedRAMP.

The private sector, state and local governments, and international entities may consider leveraging FedRAMP as a benchmark for evaluating cloud service providers' security capabilities and adopting similar practices to enhance their own cloud security.

Already have SOC 2? You’re already well on your way!

Here’s the good news: If your organization is already SOC 2 compliant, then you’re well on your way to becoming compliant with FedRAMP too. That’s because SOC 2 and NIST 800-53 share over 60 controls and evidence items.

And — with the Strike Graph control library — you can easily map those SOC 2 controls you’ve already proven compliance with to assist with meeting NIST 800-53 controls. This can make your journey to FedRAMP compliance much more streamlined and hassle-free.

Don’t have your SOC 2 yet? Then you can save both time and money by working towards both SOC 2 and NIST 800-53 at the same time.

Strike Graph’s comprehensive security platform supports the design, operation, and measurement of NIST 800-53 and any other security frameworks you may need in the future. And, because of our software’s multi-framework approach, you can streamline your compliance and certification efforts, avoiding duplicate work and wasted resources.

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