What kind of strategic boost does FedRAMP give HP and Lockheed?

Earlier this month, Lockheed Martin and HP got tapped for the government's FedRAMP program, but what do the two players have to say about it?

If you’ve been tuning into government news at all this month, you know that June marked a rise in the number of companies authorized for the government’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, better known as FedRAMP.

The government-wide program enables a standardized approach to getting cloud security assessments and authorizations.

Among those new companies were Hewlett-Packard and Lockheed Martin, two of the biggest players in the federal market, and both were excited to talk about what FedRAMP means for their businesses.

The contractors each received their authorizations on June 6, with the government giving the go ahead to Lockheed’s SolaS (solution as a service) cloud solution, and HP’s Enterprise Cloud Services – Virtual Private Cloud.

They join Autonomic Resources, which received its certification at the end of 2012, and CGI Federal, which was certified in January. Amazon Web Services also has an agency certification for FedRAMP, which it received from Health and Human Services in May.

In HP’s eyes, FedRAMP is a step in the right direction; “Government applications really require a level of security that isn’t readily available out there in the market,” said Stacy Cleveland, director, ITO Portfolio Management, U.S. Public Sector HP Enterprise Services.

FedRAMP establishes that standard by which the federal government can realize what Cleveland called “the promise of cloud computing.”

It doesn’t hurt that the program is good for business, either. The federal government is a big chunk of HP’s business, so FedRAMP has proven to be “an important building block for us with our strategy in terms of how we penetrate this part of the government sector,” Cleveland said.

As for Lockheed, June 6 wasn’t the beginning of their FedRAMP journey; “Lockheed Martin has been involved in the FedRAMP program since its inception,” said Mel Greer, senior fellow and chief strategist for cloud computing at Lockheed Martin.

The company had an interest in the program because it’s yet another way that they can help their customers meet their needs.

“It’s good for us because it’s good for our customers,” Greer said.

And when it comes to the customer, their mission is top priority. “There are a number of avenues that we look for when we think about trying to help our customers. All of them are mission-focused,” Greer said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s space operations, warfighter support or biometric-enabled identity management; a good cloud project for us is when it meets our customer’s mission objective in the best possible fashion for the most affordable cost,” he said.

In that sense, FedRAMP is a great fit for the company, but it’s not just Lockheed Martin that sees it this way; since the federal government has become one the leading adopters of cloud computing, many a firm has stepped up to the plate, making competition a bigger issue than normal.

Some of the new players, like Amazon and Google, have “certainly created a different kind of dynamic,” Cleveland said. That puts the focus on differentiation.

HP doesn’t see this as a problem because whereas most of their customers are asking for infrastructure based in the cloud, Cleveland said, HP can go the extra mile with what it does well: end-to-end solutions.

Lockheed Martin isn’t fazed by the competition, either; the company actually sees it as an opportunity; having more players means more opportunities to develop unique partnerships, Greer said, and the company has already been hard at work developing them.

“We’ve developed a cloud computing and cybersecurity alliance which is focused on understanding the security restraints and requirements associated with cloud computing,” Greer said.

There are more than 140 corporate members within Lockheed’s Cloud Security Alliance, and while the companies may vary across the spectrum, they all share a “vested interest in understanding the security requirements associated with cloud computing,” Greer said.

Each is committed to “ensuring that those requirements are being met by the industry as a whole,” he added.

So, it’s nothing but good vibes. FedRAMP is an example of the government working in the right way: creating programs that boost efficiency and cut costs, and doing so during a time when efficiency and cost matter greatly.

And FedRAMP is also a shining example of good government contracting; as Cleveland said, “it allows us to support the client’s mission,” plain and simple.