The Infrastructure-as-as-Service cloud QTS has built specifically for U.S. federal government agencies in its Richmond, Virginia, and Atlanta data centers has been certified as compliant with FedRAMP – a set of security criteria the government created to streamline adoption of cloud services by its agencies.
QTS joins a short list of certified FedRAMP cloud providers, which includes Akamai, AT&T, CGI, HP, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services, among others. The company received FedRAMP-ready status in October.
Federal cloud is a big opportunity for service providers, because agencies have been required by law to use cloud services as much as they can since the White House issued the “Cloud First” mandate three years ago. Using certified FedRAMP cloud providers is also mandatory, but the pool is fairly limited.
The U.S. government’s total cloud budget for 2015 is about $3 billion, according to a presentation Office of Management and Budget’s Scott Renda gave at a conference in Washington, D.C., in May.
Some service providers have built multiple cloud services, each of which has to be FedRAMP-certified. Microsoft’s Azure public cloud, for example, has been FedRAMP certified, but the company this week launched a cloud service designed specifically for government users, which has not been certified yet.
AWS is the biggest provider of cloud services to federal agencies, Brian Burns, who runs the cloud division at Agile Defense, a systems integrator that serves government agencies, told us earlier.
QTS launched its Federal Cloud earlier this year. The company has emphasized that the cloud’s architecture is made of technologies federal IT workers are familiar with, including EMC and Cisco hardware and VMware software.
In 2013, the company launched a lab at its Richmond data center to help federal customers design cloud solutions.
“Federal agencies can now review QTS' complete security package in the FedRAMP repository and grant a security authorization,” Matt Goodrich, FedRAMP director, said in a statement.
FedRAMP was created in 2011 so individual agencies do not have to evaluate cloud services and make sure they meet the government’s security requirements.