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.”