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Akamai Cloud Gains FedRAMP Approval

Provisional authority to operate gives more federal agencies access to secure cloud-based services.

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One of the world's largest cloud platforms, which Akamai Technologies operates on more than 137,000 servers in 87 countries, has become the first to receive provisional government-wide security approval.

Akamai Technologies has received a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. FedRAMP is the government-wide program that standardizes security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services, a necessary requirement as federal agencies adopt the "cloud-first" strategy dictated by the Office of Management and Budget.

Until now, individual federal agencies have sponsored companies' cloud offerings receiving FedRAMP compliance status, as the Health and Human Services Department did with Amazon Web Services. Akamai is the first to get the rating applied government-wide.

[ Agency turns cell phones into cloud-like communication devices on the battlefield. Read more at DARPA Creates Cloud Using Smartphones. ]

"Prior approvals have been around unique solutions and a government-specific cloud that was built out," said Tom Ruff, Akamai's vice president for public sector. "But Akamai is leveraging its [existing] public cloud offering."

For Akamai, this means that the JAB -- comprised of the CIOs of the General Services Administration and departments of Defense and Homeland Security -- has approved the company's globally distributed, publicly shared cloud platform for federal agencies to use. The individual agencies still must issue their own ATOs, but the P-ATO designation streamlines the process.

Ruff said there are other advantages to agencies besides Akamai's public cloud earning such a broad compliance rating. For instance, the P-ATO covers the company's content, storage, traffic management, and other services. "Our boundary is the broadest set of offerings that FedRAMP has provisioned to date," he said.

Then there is what Ruff termed "FedRAMP to the power of two." Agencies can utilize Akamai's intelligent platform in front of another FedRAMP-compliant offering, such as CGI Federal's Web hosting services.

Finally, since the business of the government frequently is global in its scope, Akamai's federal customers can customize to address traffic both inside the United States and outside its boundaries.

"We have many customers that need to reach worldwide," Ruff said. "It could be the Red Cross, it could be the U.S. Air Force, or it could be for certain apps like [Common Access Card] credentialing where you need to be able to authenticate a person worldwide. We have that capability."

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User Rank: Apprentice
9/3/2013 | 7:35:12 PM
re: Akamai Cloud Gains FedRAMP Approval
Patience -- Akamai is not the first to receive a FedRAMP provisional ATO granted by the JAB for a "government wide" approval. 5 CSPs received this status prior to Akamai receiving their ATO, Autonomic Resources being the first JAB issued provisional ATO on Dec 26 2012.
User Rank: Author
9/3/2013 | 4:59:01 PM
re: Akamai Cloud Gains FedRAMP Approval
This promises to be a significant development for federal agencies and cloud computing, in part, because Akamai is the first to win a FedRAMP P-ATO rating applied government-wide and because Akamai provides behind the scenes Internet backup and distribution support for so many agencies.
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