The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is an assessment and authorization process which U.S. federal agencies have been directed by the Office of Management and Budget  to use to ensure security is in place when accessing cloud computing products and services.
The OMB identified cybersecurity as one of 14 Cross Agency Priority (CAP) Goals  established in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010.
The second Chief Information Officer of the United States, Steven VanRoekel, issued a memorandum to federal agency Chief Information Officers on December 8, 2011 defining how federal agencies should use FedRAMP. FedRAMP consists of a subset of NIST Special Publication 800-53 security controls specifically selected to provide protection in cloud environments. A subset has been defined for the FIPS 199 low categorization and the FIPS 199 moderate categorization. The FedRAMP program has also established a Joint Authorization Board (JAB) consisting of Chief Information Officers from DoD, DHS, and GSA.
Before the introduction of FedRAMP, individual federal agencies managed their own assessment methodologies following guidance loosely set by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.
The Joint Authorization Board (JAB) is responsible for establishing accreditation standards. The Third Party Assessment Organizations (3PAO) perform the security assessments of cloud solutions. The JAB reviews authorization packages (that include the results from the 3PAO's assessments), and may grant provisional authorization (to operate). The federal agency consuming the service still has final responsibility for final authority to operate. Participating vendors sell a variety of hosting services, Software as a Service packages, and several 3PAOs that provide assessment and security consultanting services to other vendors.
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