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Saturday, January 28, 2023

GSA Tech Transformation Leader Wants ‘a Lot More’ Small Businesses in FedRAMP

The General Services Administration is eager to partner with more small businesses as the agency propels forward in the federal mission to modernize IT, its tech transformation leader said today.

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), a government-wide program focusing on security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services, has “really evolved” since the GSA established the program management office in 2012, Anil Cheriyan told the Carahsoft-ATARC Federal Cloud Marketplace Forum in Washington this morning.

The authorization process should be as “simple and easy as possible, given that cloud security is not an easy thing to deal with,” Cheriyan said, and his team “has been spending a fair amount of time driving better engagement not just with agencies but industry.”

The GSA has participated in more than 300 meetings with industry to further FedRAMP education and “to drive transparency,” he added.

As far as acceleration, 40 products were authorized in 2018 alone. Several dozen more are in the pipeline, and authorization timelines have been slashed in half to about five months.

Agency participation has also grown to about 150, the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services leader noted, adding that on average a product is reused about eight times.

Despite the “significant” progress, Cheriyan sees “lots of challenges and room for further improvement.”

“Agencies are sometimes worried about participating in FedRAMP because they may feel they own the liabilities,” he said.

Cheriyan recognized that agencies can “only really modernize and drive change if you allow that innovation to happen with small business.”

About a third of the projects currently in the pipeline are with small businesses, he said.

“Could it be more? Yeah, I think it should be a lot more. In fact, we’re going to do a lot of outreach with small businesses,” Cheriyan said, including industry events and meetings. “…Going out there, educating them is something we will be spending a lot of time on.”

The GSA will also invest time in processing feedback from a FedRAMP working group, embracing more automation and welcoming “bold, innovative, and actionable ideas” through the agency’s Ideation Challenge that launched today.

“We want to get feedback from industry and agencies about how we can go further,” Cheriyan said.

“I believe FedRAMP is turning a corner… we really welcome any feedback working with industry as well as agencies to drive the improvements.”


Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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