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Bryan BirchfieldBusiness is moving at a rate faster than ever due to many changes in technology. Yet, despite continued budgets cuts, federal as well as state and local agencies are still expected to move at break-neck speed to fulfill agency missions. Cloud, perhaps the most disruptive technology of the last decade, is in part responsible for this demand but is  also the answer to helping agencies fulfill the need to move with the swiftness of today’s rate of business. 

While cloud is part of the answer, it also brings with it increased concerns about security and compliance for those working with sensitive agency data. To speed cloud’s move to market, collab9- a hosted UC provider- is seeking FedRAMP authorization for their cloud solution, eliminating some of the time and cost of cloud adoption for federal agencies.

Recently, the EDGE360 editorial team had the opportunity to sit down with collab9’s Bryan Birchfield, a Cisco Collaboration Pre-Sales Engineer, to get his insight on the FedRAMP process and on the steps collab9 is taking to streamline the cloud adoption process. Keep reading below to see what Bryan had to say:

EDGE360: Thank you, Bryan for speaking with us! Cyber Security is a hot topic these days for industry as well as federal agencies. What makes security an even more important pain point for those working in the federal sector?

Bryan Birchfield (BB): Every IT system procured by the government- whether it’s on-premise, hosted private cloud, or a public cloud application – has to go through some sort of security accreditation.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers a list of security controls that agencies can use to perform an internal audit.  Additionally, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) dictates that after a federal agency deploys an on-premise PBX (private branch exchange) shortly following implementation and installation, the agency then needs to perform an internal audit. As part of the process, security officers and/or IT staff must go through and check all of the security controls to certify that the IT system is compliant.

That process can be long and costly. However, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) aims to ease the process for federal agencies.  So a cloud service provider, like collab9 with our hosted voice and collaboration service, after having gone through the process with FedRAMP, can then offer a pre-certified solution to agencies.

As a result, having a FedRAMP approved solution can accelerate adoption within the federal space.

EDGE: How has collab9 appealed to these needs for federal agencies within their Hosted Cloud Solutions?

BB: There are several cloud service providers listed on FedRAMP’s website that are either going through the FedRAMP process or have completed the process to become authorized.

But, what we don’t see listed is a hosted voice or Unified Communications as a Service provider. Private hosted voice has been around for a long time but at collab9, we are taking it to the next level by offering a public or hybrid cloud voice and collaboration solution. That’s the market that collab9 is trying to fill. Upon completion of the FedRAMP process, we’ll be positioned to be the first and only hosted UC solution to be authorized by FedRAMP, giving us a unique position in the market.

EDGE: Are there any new features being added to the platform/solution in preparation of the upcoming busy season in September 2016?

BB: Collab9’s entire solution was designed with Cisco’s Collaboration Portfolio in mind.

Everything from data center infrastructure to the applications that we provide and utilize are Cisco-based. Every year, Cisco debuts new product versions and applications. Part of our responsibility as a cloud service provider for Cisco is to ensure that all of our customers have access to all of the new software, applications, and solution releases. The services collab9 provides are constantly being upgraded across all business verticals.

Those utilizing collab9’s solutions essentially have access to an evergreen solution that does not need on-premise upgrades, software license managements, and so on. Solutions upgrades and updates are all included in the subscription, making the solution not only persistent but also intuitive to end-user needs within federal as well as state and local government organizations.

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