Since March 2014, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) has been working diligently to transfer all FedRAMP Third Party Accredited Organizations (3PAOs) to the new recognition process, which starts with accreditation by A2LA to the international standard ISO/IEC 17020. The standard is written specifically for the accreditation of inspection bodies, such as 3PAOs. A2LA is a nonprofit accreditation body, with over 30 years of experience accrediting to ISO standards.
Making the switch to an ISO-based approval will ensure that results coming from the accredited 3PAOs are reliable. This is done by confirming that competent individuals are carrying out the inspections performed by the 3PAOs. ISO/IEC 17020 addresses the topic of competence specifically by requiring appropriate education, training, technical knowledge, skills, and experience for all personnel involved in inspection activities.
In addition to the ISO/IEC 17020 standard, A2LA also assesses conformity to the FedRAMP specific program requirements, which are being updated with a target release before the end of 2015. These updates will further increase the robustness of the FedRAMP accreditation program and ensure further consistency between 3PAOs.
When A2LA began accepting applications for the FedRAMP ISO/IEC 17020 program in 2014, there were more than 20 approved 3PAOs through the FedRAMP PMO Office. Since then, all but 2 have been accredited by A2LA, and it is expected that all currently approved 3PAOs will complete the A2LA accreditation process before the end of the year.
For any new 3PAOs that wish to become recognized by FedRAMP, A2LA is accepting applications for accreditation. A2LA also offers training courses on ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and FedRAMP requirements throughout 2016 to help organizations understand the requirements of the standard and the accreditation process. For more information, please contact Ashley Kamauf, at akamauf@A2LA.org.