A new US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows that the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security (DHS), Labor, and the Treasury have not fully implemented six key cloud security practices for their systems.
According to the 60-page GAO report (PDF), only one agency fully implemented four practices for most of its systems, while three other agencies fully implemented three practices for their systems. The remaining practices, GAO says, were either partially implemented or not implemented at all.
Cloud security practices that were fully implemented for almost all systems, GAO says, include defining security responsibilities, documenting ICAM policies and procedures, and documenting procedures for incident response and recovery.
Partially implemented or not implemented cloud security practices include defining security metrics in a service level agreement (SLA), implementing continuous monitoring, and addressing FedRAMP requirements.
“Although the agencies developed a plan for continuous monitoring, they did not always implement their plans. In addition, […] agencies’ service level agreements did not consistently define performance metrics, including how they would be measured, and the enforcement mechanisms,” GAO notes.
According to the report, the federal agencies should fully implement all key cloud security practices to ensure that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information contained in their cloud systems is not at risk.
In its report, GAO makes 35 recommendations to implement these practices, noting that, while DHS has concurred with these recommendations, Agriculture, Labor, and the Treasury neither agree nor disagree with them.
The Department of Agriculture, GAO says, needs to fully document the access authorizations for PaaS (platform-as-a-service) systems, to implement continuous monitoring for selected PaaS and SaaS (software-as-a-service) systems, define performance metrics in service level agreements with CSPs, provide the authorization letter to the FedRAMP PMO for its selected SaaS system, and require service providers to comply with FedRAMP security authorization requirements.
DHS needs to fully implement continuous monitoring for selected PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) systems, to define performance metrics in service level agreements, implement the FedRAMP requirements for selected IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS systems, and to require service providers to comply with FedRAMP security authorization requirements.
The Department of Labor needs to implement continuous monitoring for selected PaaS and IaaS systems, define performance metrics in service level agreements, fully implement the FedRAMP requirements for selected IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS systems, to provide authorization letters to the FedRAMP PMO upon issuance of the authorization, and require service providers to comply with FedRAMP security authorization requirements.
The Department of the Treasury needs to define security responsibilities for selected SaaS systems, implement continuous monitoring for selected PaaS and SaaS systems, define enforcement mechanisms in service level agreements, implement the FedRAMP requirements, require service providers to comply with FedRAMP security authorization requirements, and document response and recovery procedures for selected SaaS systems.
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