Recently, IBM battled out Amazon in a court room in order to obtain the rights to build out a private cloud for the CIA. IBM bowed out of that battle and handed over the $600M project to Amazon. IBM wasn’t going to be outdone though. Since losing the battle to build the CIA’s cloud infrastructure, IBM has “Ramped” up its efforts to become the sole cloud provider of the U.S. government by obtaining the FedRAMP certification. What is a FedRAMP certification? FedRAMP is short for Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program and a certification of this is indicative of the U.S. government doing their homework on your enterprise, thus allowing the government to accept bids from a company without having to break down each and every part of the infrastructure because the infrastructure has already been proven to be secure.
This “Certification” isn’t a formal certification that you would get from a school; it is merely a seal of approval saying that the government can do business with a business because it has been proven to meet internal criteria for security as directed by the federal government.
IBM has striven to become FedRAMP compliant because studies show that the U.S. federal government plans on instituting a cloud environment for all branches of government, and spending for such infrastructure should triple in the next five years. In 2013, the government spent around $2B in cloud computing. By 2018, the federal government will spend more than $6B while getting all other branches of government up and running in the cloud. By acquiring cloud computing giant SoftLayer and the FedRAMP certification, IBM has positioned itself to become one of the go-to providers of cloud services for the United States government. IBM realizes that its main competitor is Amazon and you will probably see commercials produced by IBM that target Amazon and paint the company’s cloud as an inferior product to what IBM offers, thus allowing IBM to perhaps gain additional government contracts for cloud computing going forward.