Any company seeking government contracts while using cloud services for its own IT operations will need to ensure that the cloud providers it uses comply with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP. FedRAMP is a series of security requirements specifically designed for cloud service providers that process sensitive information for federal agencies and U.S. government contracts.
FedRAMP compliance can be complex, especially when your information systems incorporate third-party products like cloud service providers (CSPs). Keep reading to learn more about how Microsoft Azure (one of the most popular CSPs on the market) addresses FedRAMP compliance.
What Is Azure?
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform with a wide variety of cloud-based solutions for businesses across multiple industries. The appeal of Azure is its flexibility; the applications can be selected based on your needs and workloads, and Azure can be used in place of or in addition to your company’s existing servers. Microsoft Azure’s cloud solutions can help your company with everything from backup data storage, to the development of web apps, to the internet of things (IoT).
Azure itself is not a risk management solution, but it does provide a number of internal resources that can keep your cloud processes compliant with any government guidelines to which you need to adhere. It is not a replacement for your company’s overall cybersecurity risk management program, but it can be a valuable addition – especially if government contracts are at play.
Is Azure FedRAMP-Certified?
Microsoft Azure has a number of cloud-based products that maintain High FedRAMP provisional authority to operate (P-ATO). FedRAMP authorizations at this level are issued by a joint authorization board (JAB) composed of several government agencies. Additionally, Microsoft offers a feature called Azure Government which offers extra controls that provide more security for sensitive information.
Azure also has a service called Azure Policy that can help you remain compliant with different frameworks, including FedRAMP. Azure Policy evaluates your security against FedRAMP compliance requirements and helps you determine what areas need improvement.
What Are the Azure FedRAMP Compliance Levels?
FedRAMP contracts are divided into three levels (low, medium, and high) based on their potential “impact level.” This refers to the amount of damage that would occur should a security breach take place. A low-impact level means that the information is generally acceptable for public access; a high-impact level means that the information being processed is very sensitive. Azure and Azure Government services are both approved for FedRAMP High, which means they are capable of dealing with this sensitive data.
You can also use a function called Azure Blueprint to help you map your system to the FedRAMP requirements that are necessary for your company and your contracts. The templates provided by Blueprints are available for the highest security levels and make it easier and faster to bring your network into compliance with a variety of federal government standards.
Manage Compliance with ZenGRC
Government contracts require compliance throughout your entire enterprise, not just your cloud environment. Knowing what compliance standards apply to you and bringing your company into alignment with those standards can be a complex process. This is especially true if your company uses outdated, manual methods (spreadsheets) to track your risk. If your company is seeking out government contracts you’ll need a modern risk management solution that can streamline and simplify the compliance process.
ZenGRC is an innovative software platform that gives you a real-time view of your company’s risk landscape. It provides your organization with a single source of truth – one unified home for all of your risks, security controls, and mitigation efforts. Schedule a demo today to learn how ZenGRC can help create a risk management program that works for you.