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Armedia’s FedRAMP Environment Offers FOIA Alternatives

by | Sep 16, 2022 | FedRAMP, FOIA Software Solutions, FOIAOnline | 0 comments

FedRAMP Compliant FOIAonline alternative

Successfully navigating the turbulent oceans of the U.S. government procurement ecosystem is akin to Captain Ahab fighting Moby Dick. It’s frightening, dangerous, and expensive beyond imagination. 

Armedia’s FedRAMP certification allows government agencies to transition away from FOIAonline and access the highest-rated cybersecurity protocols for governmental servers and cloud-based FOIA and privacy solutions.

A Brief History Lesson

An example of a choppy and treacherous government procurement sea is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This gargantuan law was enacted in 1966 to ensure the public had access to important information about government agencies. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has administered the FOIA database on governmental servers via FOIAonline since 2012. The vast dichotomy between protecting the environment and managing a colossal database unrelated to EPA’s core mission induced operational problems that gradually rendered the system problematic in the age of government-mandated web services where digital records needed more protection and faster access.  

FOIAonline Access is Ending

Recognizing it had a growing problem, the EPA announced in late 2021 that it would not support FOIAonline after 2023 because it was falling behind the curve in the fast-paced landscape of evolving cybersecurity standards. The government acknowledged the problems and is taking steps to rectify the situation. 

The decision to scuttle FOIAonline posed more than a little concern for the 22 government agencies that relied on that system for information for the past decade. Nevertheless, the EPA worked diligently to pave the way for the transition as private businesses and government agencies attempted to make the change. 

Gaining secure access to large and evolving government databases creates a lot of moving parts that tend to close a two-year window rather quickly. That’s precisely why Armedia’s FOIA FedRAMP environment presents all parties with a viable and cost-effective solution. 

What is FedRAMP, Anyway?

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a U.S. government initiative designed to enhance secure cloud-based standards across the federal government by providing security and risk assessment protocols for cloud technologies. In short, a FedRAMP FOIA solution is the logical alternative to FOIAonline. 

Goals:

  • Inducing government agencies to transition away from government servers to cloud-based technologies.
  • Enhancing the process of how agencies secure and authorize cloud technologies.
  • Creating strong partnerships with FedRAMP stakeholders.

Benefits:

  • Reduces operational duplication, program inconsistencies, and costs.
  • Creates robust public-private relationships that promote innovation and secure IT.
  • Enables the government to accelerate cloud computing by creating transparent standards.

Emerging web-based security standards also require government agencies and private industry to adopt Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). This communication system provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the entire web. 

As you can see, earning a FedRAMP certification is a daunting task for any business in terms of committing the company’s resources, time, and ulcers. Certification requires employing 325 specific security controls that must be maintained and audited by approved third-party inspectors. High-level security access also requires creating extensive audit reports/logs and managing complex dashboards to track the entire system to submit monthly reports to the General Services Administration (GSA)

For enterprising and forward-thinking agencies, however, the end of FOIAonline presents exciting new opportunities to expand and enhance their government business profiles beyond the standard-issue GSA Schedule 70 and ISO 9001 certifications.  

Why Armedia’s FedRAMP Certification is Vital

Because of its extended vision and total commitment to serving government agencies and SMBs playing in that arena, Armedia now stands head and shoulders above other competing offerings. The company fully grasped the long-term significance of the government migrating to the cloud (i.e., CloudFirst Initiative) as well as the benefit of FedRAMP as a framework for accrediting SaaS solutions and took the bold and sage initiatives to work towards earning a FedRAMP certification. 

While there are 1,000+ companies qualified to provide products and services to the federal government, only 150 are committed to FedRAMP certification. Considering all the time, effort, and cost needed to accomplish this goal, a company must make a long-term commitment because it’s literally a “bet your company” proposition. For example, a GSA-required 3PAO audit alone has an average price tag of $150K.  

A Smooth Transition From FOIAonline

Armedia’s FedRAMP offering is a winner because the company is well-positioned to help government agencies make smooth transitions away from FOIAonline by offering critical value-add solutions that include:

  • Low setup costs: expensive software and hardware requirements are reduced
  • Low cost of ownership: software update needs are mitigated
  • FedRAMP-compliant and FedRAMP-ready solutions for fast deployment
  • Flexible architecture 
  • Secure web access from any device
  • Minimal staff training
  • AI to help automate repetitive tasks
  • Seamless integration with future technologies
  • Low-code or no-code tools

While becoming a FedRAMP Certified partner for government agencies is essential, being a qualified solution for private industry is key to Armedia’s long-term financial success. Companies will need FedRAMP-ready access to conduct business with most government agencies after 2023. Armedia can offer high-level security solutions to companies not pursuing government contracts but need most of the features of FedRAMP protocols to support their business models. 

Armedia is a platform-agnostic solution integrator that partners with AWS, ArkCase, Hyland, Ephesoft, and OpenText. The company offers four leading-edge technologies that support business applications for document/records management, cloud content services, FOIA and privacy solutions, and other case management solutions, such as legal, investigative, etc. To satisfy FedRAMP security requirements, Armedia uses RHEL FIPS 140-2 validated OpenSSL for Entropy Source, NGINX, Apache, OpenSSH, and BoringSSL tools.

Increased Demand From the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is particularly interested in Armedia’s security protocols due to stringent HIPAA regulations regarding patient records. Armedia developed a FedRAMP-compliant solution for the World Health Organization (WHO) and is working with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Based in Washington, D.C., PAHO is dedicated to improving the health and living standards of people in the Americas. 

Armedia’s government client list includes some of America’s most important government agencies, including IRS, USDA, GSA, FDA, CDC, DoE, and DoD, to name but a few.

FedRAMP certification to support access to governmental servers has three Impact Levels of security: Low, Moderate, and High. Armedia is Moderate classified and supports most (if not all)  commercial security requirements. That also applies to many government agencies not involved with national security or defense. 

In a retail or consumer-centric commercial setting (e.g., online shopping), a Moderate impact level approach bodes well for the retailer and the consumer since most of the general public does not practice safe computing. 

Since the company meets all current FedRAMP requirements, Armedia is well-positioned to support clients with FedRAMP High security needs. While the Moderate certification requires 325 security controls, the High certification requires 500 controls. FedRAMP High Impact Level can be attained once all of the 500 controls are tested and maintained in the application. 

A Secure Alternative to FOIAonline

Government agencies need an effective and secure alternative to FOIAonline. While several plausible alternatives are available today, the most cost-effective and viable solution is the FedRAMP protocol since it offers a host of operational and cost advantages, including being a government-approved system. 

Government agencies and commercial entities will be well-served in their transition by considering Armedia as a reliable and proven partner that is FedRAMP. Armedia has the broad IT and cybersecurity experience needed to provide reliable, comprehensive, and robust support for all their transition needs. 

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