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Focus on FedRAMP

FedRAMP Tailored Lessons Learned

FedRAMP introduced the Tailored baseline for Low-Impact Software-as-a-Service (Li-SaaS) in 2017 to meet our stakeholders’ need for an expedited path for cloud authorization. FedRAMP’s fourth baseline - Tailored - empowers Agencies to partner with Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and rationalize security requirements for low risk use cases of SaaS, transforming how the government authorizes cloud services.

Tailored empowers Agencies to define the use case for SaaS services, evaluate risk, and tailor security requirements. In addition to improving the management of risk in the cloud, FedRAMP Tailored:

  • Emphasizes Risk Management - Authorizing Officials (AOs) are able to focus on risk management and tailor the security requirements that require a full-audit. Emphasis is on the technical mechanisms that protect federal information rather than documentation.
  • Consolidates Documentation - Security and assessment detail is recorded in a single, simpler document.
  • Meets Demand for Low-Risk SaaS - Tailored creates a resource efficient authorization path to meet federal demand for innovative SaaS products.
  • Enables Faster Timelines - Time-to-authorize for low-risk use cases is expedited as a result of the tailored security threshold and consolidated documentation.

Since launch, 11 cloud services at 10 Agencies have achieved a FedRAMP Tailored authorization, accounting for 25% of all services authorized in 2018. Further, those services were authorized in a median of 90 days - a 50% reduction relative to FedRAMP’s other baselines.

Learning from the success of those authorizations, the PMO has identified a variety of best practices for CSPs and Agencies who are considering a FedRAMP Tailored authorization:

1) Form Public and Private Partnerships: Agencies and CSPs must partner with one another to accurately define and evaluate the use case for a SaaS.

2) Define the Authorization Boundary: CSPs must have an authorization boundary diagram that depicts their scope of control over the system components of a SaaS, as well as interconnections to leveraged services external to the boundary.

3) Provide Transparency Into SaaS’ Security: CSPs should clearly communicate how a SaaS impacts federal information and provide Agency AOs insight into a system’s architecture.

4) Describe How Security Requirements are Met: The Tailored baseline is designed to meet CSPs where they are at with respect to security, including understanding how a CSP is meeting the intent of the security requirements. CSPs should describe how they do security and what protections they have in place to achieve a level of security sufficient for federal customers. As an example, if a CSP does not use CIS benchmarks, but utilizes other hardening standards and benchmarks, the CSP should describe how those defined benchmarks are defined and implemented.

5) Develop Mature Processes: CSPs have a responsibility to perform continuous monitoring and maintain a system’s security posture, requiring mature security processes.

6) Enroll the Right Stakeholders: Agencies and CSPs should ensure senior level buy-in for a Tailored authorization, including identifying system owners, the Agency Authorizing Official, Privacy Officer, Contracting Officer, General Council and Information System Security Officer (ISSO).

7) Engage the PMO: Agencies and CSPs interested in pursuing, or actively working toward, a FedRAMP Tailored authorization should engage the FedRAMP PMO early and often.

If you want to learn more about the FedRAMP Tailored baseline, please visit our website. Any additional questions can be addressed to info@fedramp.gov.