DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements – DoD Component Authorizing Officials (AOs) must assess and authorize commercial cloud service offerings (CSOs) that meet DoD CSO requirements to ensure their security is adequate for DoD requirements. Cloud computing provides on-demand access to shared computer resources, offering its users significant benefits like scalability and speed.
1. DoD Impact Levels
Your commercial software market is flourishing, and your brand, customer base and company have grown accordingly. Now, however, you want to expand into government sector. However, this presents unique challenges – federal governments require stringent compliance requirements and must meet stringent security needs that cannot be overlooked; to establish itself within this environment ISVs must first go through an rigorous ATO (Authority To Operate) approval process before they can gain a foothold there – but how do cloud solutions secure such approvals?
ATOs are issued by senior organizational officials to authorize the operation of information systems based on an evaluation of risks to agency operations and assets. An ATO process is essential to ensuring cloud computing services comply with various security controls, such as access control, incident response management and configuration management. Achieving ATO approval marks an essential milestone in government cloud acquisition lifecycle and could make or break an acquisition contract award decision.
CSPs seeking an Authorization to Operate (ATO) from DoD must fulfill four DoD Cloud Service Levels as laid out in its Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (CC SRG). In this blog post, we’ll examine one such level – DoD IL2 – and review its requirements and key takeaways for CSPs seeking an IL2 provisional authorization from them.
DISA published the DoD Cloud Services Reference Group as a policy document outlining an acquisition and use framework that complies with DoD component needs and requirements for commercial cloud solutions. This document draws upon FedRAMP assessment, authorization, monitoring processes as well as provides additional guidance specific to DoD needs and requirements.
Impact levels are determined by the sensitivity and confidentiality level of information stored and processed within a CSP environment. Lower impact levels such as IL2 and IL4 accommodate data that does not constitute public knowledge but still requires protection against unintended disclosure, while Level 4 serves mission critical data used directly for military or contingency operations. It is the responsibility of DoD mission owners to determine which level best applies for specific pieces of data they own.
2. DoD Security Requirements
DoD cybersecurity standards are among the strictest in the world. This is due to their mission-critical information being handled by them and their network of contractors being of national security significance – compromised systems are simply unacceptable. Therefore, to safeguard its protection, DoD lays out specific cybersecurity regulations which all IT businesses handling DoD data must abide by.
DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG). It draws heavily from FedRAMP requirements while adding some unique DoD-specific requirements and regulations that pertain specifically to managing certain information types. In addition, the document also provides guidelines for connecting in-house IT systems with DoD cloud services by way of APIs; these must be configured properly so as not to compromise security posture of both systems and ensure integrity between them.
DoD has also developed the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program to protect sensitive unclassified information shared between its non-federal contractor partners and themselves. CMMC involves assessment, implementation through contracts, and clear cybersecurity standards which must be observed by all DoD contractors that handle such information.
DoD has also established specific security requirements for managed mobile applications installed on its-owned or leased devices, including the ability to validate software authentication certificates and restrict device file system access; for this, DoD requires that such apps use an AES 128 bit or better cryptographic mechanism.
DoD security requirements for managed mobile apps stipulate they support internal/external role separation by offering multiple entry points into one security domain, with multiple points of entry designed to reduce failure due to single points of vulnerability and increase redundancy in case of disasters.
3. DoD Security Requirements Guidance
The Department of Defense (DoD) has distinct information protection requirements that exceed those outlined by FedRAMP, including passing an Authority to Operate process. Smartsheet has met these rigorous requirements and now holds provisional authorization for Impact Level 4 (IL4) service provisioning within DoD.
Federal IT departments that want to safeguard sensitive data and resources in the cloud require careful planning. This means using application programming interfaces (APIs), which connect in-house systems with cloud storage solutions. APIs should also be secure and properly configured; multifactor authentication should also be considered for added protection – employees would then require not only entering their username and password but also another form of verification such as mobile phone PIN verification or fingerprint scan access before being granted entry to access systems.
DevSecOps frameworks can help teams integrate security into the development life cycle in order to protect against threats and comply with security standards and regulations. By including cybersecurity in their continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, teams can address security issues promptly while producing robust applications with secure features.
Federal IT managers must also ensure their own IT department’s tools are integrated with the security platform of their Cloud Service Provider (CSP). This can ensure all tools in their security ecosystem work together seamlessly to protect data and systems.
To gain more knowledge on these and other security best practices for federal IT industry, take a look at our comprehensive guide to security in the cloud. It was designed specifically for IT leaders of federal agencies and gives an overview of how to protect critical assets stored on cloud platforms while choosing an ideal security solution that meets specific requirements and achieving compliance with various security laws.
Since 2011, the Department of Defense (DoD) has utilized commercial cloud services to store, access, and share data and software remotely instead of locally on computer hard drives – saving costs while increasing efficiency by allowing people to work from any location at any time. Unfortunately however, cloud computing poses its own set of challenges: according to a December 2014 memo by DoD’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), DoD components must responsibly acquire cloud service offerings minimally in accordance with security requirements such as FedRAMP or DISA’s Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (CC SRG).
DISA’s Cyber Security Resource Group (CC SRG) is designed to meet both FedRAMP PMO requirements as well as specific DoD needs, with additional controls in place for meeting them. For instance, DoD-specific requirements regarding Service Level Agreements and Privacy Overlays.
To become FedRAMP approved, CSPs must implement and document FISMA and NIST controls within their environment, document the implementation in a System Security Plan, undergo third party assessments (3PAO), submit documentation to the Joint Authorization Board for Review, and once both assessors determine that their system is sufficiently secure, issue Provisional Authorization to Operate (P-ATOs).
Once a CSP obtains a P-ATO, they must regularly monitor their system and report any potential risks to the 3PAO. Once identified, the 3PAO will assess if changes need to be made and submit these proposals for JAB approval. In addition, their P-ATO includes provisions allowing them to revoke approval if their risk posture shifts significantly.
FedRAMP and DoD CC SRGs aim to standardize how the federal government evaluates and utilizes cloud services, with the hope of cutting costs by decreasing how much time and resources agencies must dedicate to evaluating security of cloud solutions. Furthermore, the goal is also for federal agencies to easily compare and select among cloud solutions more easily.