What are the Costs of Working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP?
Working with a FedRAMP Authorized cloud service provider (CSP) is required for federal government agencies. Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) was designed to address security vulnerabilities that can arise when working with cloud vendors.
As with any business decision, there are benefits and drawbacks that come with working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP. There are two primary areas in which you’ll benefit and face challenges: FedRAMP cost and time. Let’s look at these two areas of working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP.
FedRAMP Authorized CSPs must invest a significant amount of money to earn their authorization. In fact, it’s estimated that the “total median cost for a mid-range CSP was $2,250,000 to achieve a FedRAMP authorization,” according to the U.S. government. Since this is the median cost, some CSPs spend less, while others spend considerably more depending on the size of their organization and the complexity of their product offering.
Because FedRAMP Authorized CSPs invest so much to earn their authorization, they also may charge higher rates for their services. But don’t worry – you’re likely to save money by working with these authorized CSPs.
Let’s look at some of the areas in which working with an authorized CSP saves you on FedRAMP costs.
Third-Party Assessment Organization
First, let’s look at what happens when you don’t work with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP. Walking the vendor through the authorization process requires a large investment in terms of both expense and resource allocation. You’ll have to hire a 3PAO (Third Party Assessment Organization) to assess the vendor’s FedRAMP readiness before they can receive authorization.
The FedRAMP Authorization process can be complicated, and as such, you may have to hire a consultant to help you and the CSP navigate through the process. This can be tens of thousands of dollars. If you need a greater level of security (i.e. working with a high impact FedRAMP Authorized CSP), the consultant will likely need to spend a longer amount of time on the process, which means higher costs for you.
Next, you’ll also have to select members of your team to be deeply involved in the process. This overlaps with the time dedication (which we’ll explore below), but also requires your resources to dedicate their labor to the process. Instead of working on other projects, they’re working on the FedRAMP Authorization process, which could cost your organization profits.
Working with a CSP, in general, saves you the cost of building your own solution. You don’t have to invest in hardware or software needed to protect your data in alignment with FedRAMP standards if you can outsource to a service provider you can trust.
When it comes to data security, time is of the essence. Every day you put off working with a secure cloud provider puts your data at risk. And, walking through the authorization process takes time. So, in terms of time savings, working with a CSP that already has FedRAMP Authorization is best. You avoid the lengthy authorization process and can protect your data as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, FedRAMP has a list of approved providers to make the search process easier and faster. With this list of approved vendors already compiled, you can simply select from these options, instead of searching for yourself.
In addition to saving you time in the search and authorization processes, working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP also saves you time from a compliance standpoint. Instead of ongoing monitoring and management of your compliance and data security efforts yourself, you’re able to trust these tasks to your CSP. A team of data security experts is working on your behalf to keep everything up to your data security standards and FedRAMP compliance standards.
How to Choose a FedRAMP Authorized CSP
Now that you’re aware of all the ways partnering with an authorized CSP saves you FedRAMP cost and time, let’s look at some tips for choosing the right CSP for your organization.
Start your search with the FedRAMP Partner directory. This directory has more than 160 different vendors to choose from, making the selection process easier. Among this list, you’ll find FedRAMP Authorized vendors who offer a few different types of cloud solutions:
- IaaS - Infrastructure as a service
- PaaS - Platform as a service
- SaaS - Software as a service
As you’re looking at these different authorized vendors, also consider the level of security required to keep your data protected. Based on your security needs, you’ll choose from one of three impact levels:
- Low Impact
- Moderate Impact
- High Impact
If you deal with particularly sensitive data, the high impact level is likely to be your safest option. CSPs with high impact security features have all the security controls in place to keep your sensitive files away from hackers with bad intentions.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit of working with a FedRAMP Authorized CSP is that you can trust this type of vendor to protect your data. You’re minimizing the risk of a data breach, without making a large investment of money or resources yourself. This is a reliable way to protect your data. Plus, you avoid all the hassle of participating in the authorization process yourself.
Before you choose your next cloud vendor to work with, make sure you research your options carefully. For example, choosing a secure file sharing solution that is FedRAMP Authorized means your files will be protected as they’re being shared both in and out of your organization. For the best results and most secure data policies, put FedRAMP Authorization at the top of your requirements list for a CSP.
Are you choosing a file sharing service provider to work with? Explore this free comparison guide to learn more about the best file sharing options on the market.
About Martin Horan
Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.