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How Resilient are FedRAMP Clouds Anyway?

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Cloud Computing Evolves: An Interview with Mats Johansson

By G C Network | June 6, 2019

Recently, Ericsson Digital released an amazing report on Edge Computing and 5G. In it, they explained how distributed cloud computing is paving the way for the future of network communications. They also advised telecommunications operators, not to wait for 5G but they should build tomorrow’s networks today! Given the cost, effort and focus such a commitment…

The IoT Nexus: Bosch Connected World 2019 in Berlin

By G C Network | May 11, 2019

Next week, I will be influencing #LikeABosch as I accept an invitation from the company to attend Bosch ConnectedWorld 2019 (BCW19) in Berlin, Germany. This is one of the world’s largest international forums for the Internet of Things (IoT) and brings together the best minds to energize the co-creation of connected products and solutions invented for life. The conference,…

Survive and Thrive With Digital Transformation

By G C Network | April 17, 2019

First cloud computing then multi-cloud. How can we get ahead of this digital transformation nightmare? These are the laments heard in conference rooms and board meeting around the world. While the goal seems simple, adopting and migrating to a cloud service provider requires much more than executive willingness and a sharp IT organization. A lot…

The “George Jetson” of Today

By G C Network | April 13, 2019

He grew up in Silicon Valley, landed his first job at Apple Computers, was introduced to Nobel Prize winners by his dad and today, he takes a self-driving car to work so that he can squeeze in a few morning conference calls with the US east coast Team. Is this George Jetson!? No. It’s just…

MWC19: Where Telecommunications and Cloud Meet

By G C Network | March 23, 2019

As a cloud solution architect, my passion is learning the details about how cloud computing uniquely supports specific business cases. This curiosity is what drove my excitement when Ericsson invited me to work with them during Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. As the largest mobile event in the world, MWC Barcelona brings together the latest…

Tulane University SoPA Selects “Architechting Cloud Computing Solutions”

By G C Network | February 16, 2019

Last week, Packt Publishing announced that “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” by Kevin L. Jackson and Scott Goessling was selected for use by the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement, Applied Computing Systems & Technology Program as the textbook for their mandatory Enterprise Architecture – Hardware course starting Spring Semester 2019. I am proud and honored to be trusted by such a prestigious institution. Being an “Amazon…

5G Wireless Technology Connecting Healthcare

By G C Network | February 16, 2019

Healthcare is in the middle of massive change. Called digital transformation by many, this term describes the industry’s pursuit of the many promises offered by connected patients, connected caregivers, and connected hospitals. While the goals of this transformation are many and varied, a recent HIMAA Media survey revealed the top four as: Seeking improved quality of care…

Maria Lensing: The Network Platform for Healthcare’s Future

By G C Network | February 16, 2019

As a girl, Maria and her family traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to get cancer treatment for her sick brother. The miracle she observed, as the healthcare providers saved her brother’s life, ignited a passion for healthcare. Unfortunately, that passion didn’t apply to blood, so she went into electrical engineering and biomedical engineering, eventually falling in…

How “Big Iron” Does “Big Regulation”

By G C Network | January 10, 2019

According to Verizon, there were over there were over 53,000 security incidents in 2017, with over 2,200 of those identified as confirm data breaches. A Ponemon Institute study also showed that companies experiencing a data breach took an average of 147 days to detect that breach. These statistics serve a key motivator of Stuart McIrvine, Director…

Mainframe Synergies for Digital Transformation

By G C Network | January 10, 2019

In July  of 2018, Broadcom announced its intentions to acquire CA Technologies. In the press release, Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broadcom, said: “This transaction represents an important building block as we create one of the world’s leading infrastructure technology companies. With its sizeable installed base of customers, CA is uniquely positioned…


By Jodi Kohut
For the uninitiated, FedRAMP is the Federal Risk Authorizationand Management Program, a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Implemented to support the Administration’s “Cloud First” policy, some have pointed to FedRAMP as a great model for commercial industry’s adoption of cloud as well. But when it comes to disaster recovery in the cloud, is that necessarily the case?
One of the questions I’ve been asked from the beginning of the Federal Cloud First initiative, is, “If my data is in   The answer is not as clear-cut as the question.  In theory, most cloud services offer extremely resilient platforms and a modicum of disaster recovery is built in. In fact, those cloud service provider (CSP) systems that have received an ATO through the FedRAMP program do have fairly sophisticated contingency plans in place, with Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) clearly articulated- and plenty of alternate processing sites, policies, and procedures in place in the event of a contingency.  So, it’s in there right?

Not so fast- it depends on what services you are acquiring and how you are deploying and managing them.  The baseline of this discussion is however rooted in availability and uptime. 

the cloud, isn’t my disaster recovery built in? Isn’t that the benefit of being in the cloud?”

A CSP may be able to provide a more resilient infrastructure than an Agency can build internally.  For example, recent research from the International Working Group on Cloud Computing Resiliency (IWGCR) reported 2013 total downtime hours from major providers as follows:

  • Amazon – 28.23 hours
  • Rackspace – 97.98 hours
  • Verizon – 136 hours

The availability percentages of these providers range from 98.44-99.68%.  Even though the IWGCR believes this data may under report outages, the data may also overstate service downtime.  Let me explain.
The cloud providers mentioned here provide SLA’s for individual services.  Often these are subject to separate SLA’s rather than aggregated ones.   In practice, CSPs orchestrate these services in such a way that a customer can expect 100% availability at a fraction of a cost of building the same solution internally. Considering that only 8% of federal government agencies report confidence in being able to recover 100% of the data required by their governing SLA’s, FedRAMP authorized clouds seem to be perfect for addressing disaster recovery. These same agencies also report an inability to test their disaster recovery plans as often or as thoroughly as they would like. In addition, from an alternative processing site standpoint, Cloud Service Providers offer more, geographically distributed sites for a fraction of the cost of building equivalent solutions internally.  And contrary to the emotions of some, moving disaster recovery to the cloud does not mean relinquishing control of the process or data.  FedRAMP mandatory contractual clauses give the government absolute control of all of its data, all of the time.
So with this in mind, “Is FedRAMP a good model?” Compared to the current state of government IT affairs, the answer is an unequivocal YES! Budget cuts, rapidly increasing IT requirements and the rising threat of cyber-attack are also great arguments for rapid adoption of commercially available, FedRAMP authorized cloud baseddisaster response services. Commercial companies operating in government-regulated industries should leverage this process as well by making FedRAMP provisional approval a minimum requirement for their own cloud service providers.   The list of companies currently in process to receive provisional authorization status for FedRAMP shows industry commitment to security of systems “In the cloud”.   

(This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit TechPageOne. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are our own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.)

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