a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: What to Know about FedRAMP

Lisa Hawke and Steven Sinofsky

Posted August 28, 2019

The government wants to get onto the cloud! But how do they assess the levels of risk in adopting specific cloud products, and which “cloud service providers” (aka “CSPs”) to work with? That’s where FedRAMP — the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program — comes in. And enterprise SaaS companies need to pay attention, since it will be a requirement for selling to the U.S. government, which is one of the biggest buyers of tech. Not just that, but even state governments and private/public companies may seek FedRAMP certification because they either work with the federal government or are just seeking standards.

How similar or different is FedRAMP to other types of certification, authorization, and compliance (such as ISO, SOC-2, GDPR, even HIPAA); and what does it mean for a startup to go through organizationally, culturally? Is it like a check-the-box policy thing, is it like getting a driver’s license… or what? One thing’s for sure: It’s an opportunity for enterprise SaaS startups, and the government is trying to help companies through the process.

What are the steps to certification? What are some acronyms and terms to be aware of? When and how should you bring a consultant, advisor, or third-party auditor into the process? How long does it take, really? And how does it affect your sales team? Most importantly, what is the best strategy for moving forward? (Hint: start with a customer). Lisa Hawke, VP of Security and Compliance at Everlaw, an a16z company, shares her expertise and their experience in navigating all this, as well as the resources below, in this episode of the a16z Podcast hosted by board partner Steven Sinofsky. (The two were also previously on another episode sharing everything startups need to know about GDPR.)

links mentioned in this episode (and other resources):

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The a16z Podcast discusses the most important ideas within technology with the people building it. Each episode aims to put listeners ahead of the curve, covering topics like AI, energy, genomics, space, and more.

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