Did you know that by 2025, enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will overtake traditional IT spending? In fact, 51% of IT spend in application software, infrastructure software, business process services, and system infrastructure will transition to the public cloud, compared to 41% in 20221.. As enterprises continue to rapidly shift to the cloud, government agencies must prioritize and accelerate security and compliance implementation.

In May 2021, the White House issued an Executive Order requiring US Federal agencies to accelerate cloud adoption, embrace security best practices, develop plans to implement Zero Trust architectures, and map implementation frameworks to FedRAMP. The Administration’s focus on secure cloud adoption marks a critical shift to prioritizing cybersecurity at scale. Google Cloud’s Public Sector Professional Services Organization (PSO) has committed to helping customers meet security and compliance requirements in the cloud through specialized consulting engagements.

 

Accelerating Authority to Operate (ATO)

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) was established in 2011 as a government-wide program that promotes the adoption of secure cloud services across the federal government. FedRAMP provides a standardized approach to security and risk assessment for cloud technologies and federal agencies. US Federal agencies are required to utilize and implement FedRAMP cloud service offerings as part of the “Cloud First” federal cloud computing strategy.

 

While Google Cloud provides a FedRAMP-authorized cloud services platform and a robust catalog of FedRAMP-approved products and services (92 services and counting), customers are still tasked with achieving Agency ATO for the products and services they use, and Google Cloud provides many resources to assist customers with this journey. Google Cloud’s FedRAMP package can be accessed by completing the FedRAMP Package Access Request Form and submitting it to [email protected]. Additionally, customers can use Google’s NIST 800-53 ATO Accelerator as a starting point for documenting control implementation. Finally, Google Cloud’s Public Sector PSO offers the following strategic consulting engagements to help customers streamline the Agency ATO process.

  • Cloud Discover: FedRAMP is a six-week interactive workshop to support customers that are just getting started with the ATO process on Google Cloud. Customers are educated on FedRAMP fundamentals, Google’s security and compliance posture, and how to approach ATO on Google Cloud. Through deep-dive interviews and design sessions, PSO helps customers craft an actionable ATO plan, assess FedRAMP readiness, and develop a conceptual ATO boundary. This engagement helps organizations establish a clear understanding and roadmap for FedRAMP ATO on Google Cloud.
  • FedRAMP Security Review is a ten to twelve week engagement that aids customers in FedRAMP operational readiness. PSO consultants perform detailed FedRAMP architecture reviews to identify potential gaps in NIST 800-53 security control implementation and Google Cloud secure architecture best practices. Findings from the security reviews are shared with the customer along with configuration guidance and recommendations. This engagement helps organizations prepare for the third-party or independent security assessment that is required for FedRAMP ATO.
  • Cloud Deploy: FedRAMP is a multi-month engagement designed to help customers document the details of their FedRAMP System Security Plan (SSP) and corresponding NIST 800-53 security controls, in preparation for Agency ATO on Google Cloud at FedRAMP Low, Moderate, or High. PSO collaborates with customers to develop a detailed technical infrastructure design document and security control matrix capturing evidence of the FedRAMP system architecture, security control implementation, data flows and system components. PSO can also partner with a third-party assessment organization (3PAO) or an independent assessor (IA) to support customer efforts for FedRAMP security assessment. This engagement helps customer system owners prepare for Agency ATO assessment and package submission.

 

Developing a Zero Trust Strategy

In addition to providing FedRAMP enablement, Public Sector PSO has partnered with the Google Cloud Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) team to assist organizations with developing a zero trust architecture and strategy.

 

  • Zero Trust Foundations is a seven-week engagement co-delivered by Google Cloud’s CISO and PSO teams. CISO and PSO educate customers on zero trust fundamentals, Google’s journey to zero trust through BeyondCorp, and defense in depth best practices. The CISO team walks customers through a Zero Trust Assessment (ZTA) to understand the organization’s current security posture and maturity. Insights from the ZTA enable the CISO team to work with the customer to identify an ideal first-mover workload for zero trust adoption. Following the CISO ZTA, PSO facilitates a deep-dive Zero Trust Workshop (ZTW), collaborating with key customer stakeholders to develop a NIST 800-207 aligned, cloud-agnostic zero trust architecture for the identified first-mover workload. The zero trust architecture is part of a comprehensive zero trust strategy deliverable that is based on focus areas called out in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Zero Trust Strategy released January 2022.

Scaling Secure Cloud Adoption with PSO

Public Sector PSO enables customer success by sharing our technical expertise, providing cloud strategy, implementation guidance, training and enablement using our proven methodology. As enterprise IT, operations, and organizational models continue to evolve, our goal is to help government agencies accelerate their security and compliance journeys in the cloud.  To learn more about the work we are doing with the federal government, visit cloud.google.com/solutions/federal-government.

 

1 Gartner Says More Than Half of Enterprise IT Spending in Key Market Segments Will Shift to the Cloud by 2025

 

 

By: Adrienne Wilkins (Strategic Cloud Advisor, Public Sector, Professional Services, Google Cloud)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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