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What Is FedRAMP?

The American flag flies on the Capitol building in Washington, DC with a blue sky behind it.

Since 2011, FedRAMP has provided a cost-effective, risk-based approach to the adoption of cloud technologies for government agencies. In the years since its introduction, federal programs and increasingly, state agencies, have relied on FedRAMP compliant cloud service providers to protect data and promote best practices for system implementation. FedRAMP solutions have become even more crucial as agencies continue their digital transformation efforts and as cloud popularity grows.

This progress exploded in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the resulting push at the federal level to prioritize CX. The increasingly rapid adoption of FedRAMP solutions has been accelerated even further by a growing consensus that cloud-based solutions are often more secure than on-premises systems—despite lingering myths to the contrary.

As digital transformation within federal government advances, requirements for FedRAMP compliance have begun to trickle down to state governments as well, particularly for those agencies that require direct access to critical federal data. Unfortunately, selecting a FedRAMP solution that complies with federal partner requirements and meets a state-level organization’s long-term needs can become a complicated endeavor—one that includes a combination of strategic forethought and deployment know-how.

What is FedRAMP Compliance?

FedRAMP designates standards for cloud products and services for security assessment, authorization, and monitoring in use by federal government programs. The term FedRAMP stems from the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2002 (FISMA) which requires federal agencies to protect their information.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130 is a government policy that provides standards for cloud-based services including information governance, acquisitions, records management, open data, workforce, security, and privacy. According to the OMB, when agencies implement FISMA they must use National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) standards and guidelines. FedRAMP activates NIST standards and guidelines through recommended solutions and certifications that better enable federal agencies to incorporate and implement them more rapidly.

FedRAMP compliance helps ensure that cloud systems used by federal agencies have important safeguards in place. The program was also designed to help agencies find and implement cloud strategies that help to lessen duplicative testing efforts and reduce risk management costs.

Navigating the FedRAMP marketplace

The FedRAMP Marketplace helps agencies find FedRAMP compliant cloud service providers, vendors, and third-party assessors. While it is a helpful tool, there are currently 258 authorized solutions in the FedRAMP marketplace. Even though the marketplace provides sophisticated search and sort options, the number of choices can still feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to determine your strategy first, before making a technology decision. Understanding your plan of attack will go far to help you select the right FedRAMP solutions to meet the needs and expectations of your citizens and federal agency partners.

Best practices for your FedRAMP strategy

Taking time to evaluate and assess each customer’s goals, needs, and current environment is key to any FedRAMP initiative. To achieve the best FedRAMP strategy there are three primary objectives to consider before you make any technology decisions:

1. Assess all your needs when it comes to the cloud.

It’s tempting to use a short-term approach to solve your most pressing issues. However, crafting your strategy based on technology alone is not the best approach. Your choice of technology is in fact the last step in a process that must begin by defining your overall needs and your metrics for success. Once these are defined, it’s time to build a plan that incorporates every requirement into your budget and your timeline.

Keep in mind that, first and foremost, you must have a complete understanding of your data security requirements. FedRAMP categorizes software by confidentiality, integrity, and availability, based on low, moderate, or high impact levels. A new impact level, LI-SaaS (Low Impact Software-as-a-Service) was also introduced recently for service-based cloud solutions. Understanding your impact level will be key to choosing the right cloud solution for your situation and/or customer.

2. Balance compliance with cost.

Your first response may be a plan that involves only the minimum requirements. Or you may swing to the other end of the spectrum and engage in a comprehensive overhaul. The right approach probably lies somewhere in between. Remember that FedRAMP solutions often come with additional costs, including an average markup of 30%. That’s why it’s important to consider things like:

  • The percentage of agents who are NOT handling federal-related interactions. In many cases, there may be an opportunity to save considerable dollars by using a non-FedRAMP solution for these use cases.
  • The agency’s responsibility to spend tax dollars wisely should be factored in when budgeting for FedRAMP solutions. Cost-effectiveness is even more critical when it comes to any government program or initiatives.

3. Keep the full ecosystem in mind.

Despite their unique nature, FedRAMP solutions will still need to work within a broader technology stack. Best practices for integration must be taken into consideration to avoid creating silos of information and other inefficiencies. Ask yourself if your current technology partners are equipped to help with those integration needs.

How TTEC Digital can help

FedRAMP compliance is about much more than finding an authorized solution and implementing it successfully. As a solution-agnostic partner, TTEC Digital is uniquely suited to help you build the right FedRAMP, StateRAMP, or TexRAMP program to meet your specific needs. In fact, our work has resulted in an average of 35% improvement in NPS scores for NPS leaders, and we have the federal clients to prove it. Plus, our connections with technology leaders including Microsoft, Genesys, TTEC’s Humanify, Cisco, Verint and others means our finger is on the pulse when it comes to cloud technology.

With over 40 years of experience in customer contact center design, implementation, and operation, our CX design teams create holistic, integrated platforms with just the right blend of expertise and execution. That’s why when it comes to FedRAMP, we’re the partner you can trust.

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Kelley Jacob

About the Author

Kelley Jacob

Vice President, Public Sector Sales

Kelley serves as VP of public sector sales at TTEC Digital.

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