We’ve just released our newest Azure Blueprints for the important US Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) certification at the moderate level. FedRAMP is a key certification because cloud providers seeking to sell services to US federal government agencies must first demonstrate FedRAMP compliance. Azure and Azure Government are both approved for FedRAMP at the high impact level, and we’re planning that a future Azure Blueprints will provide control mappings for high impact.
Azure Blueprints is a free service that helps enable customers to define a repeatable set of Azure resources that implement and adhere to standards, patterns, and requirements. Azure Blueprints allow customers to set up compliant environments matched to common internal scenarios and external standards like ISO 27001, Payment Card Industry data security standard (PCI DSS), and Center for Internet Security (CIS) Benchmarks.
Compliance with standards such as FedRAMP is increasingly important for all types of organizations, making control mappings to compliance standards a natural application for Azure Blueprints. Azure customers, particularly those in regulated industries, have expressed a strong interest in compliance blueprints to help ease the burden of their compliance obligations.
FedRAMP was established to provide a standardized approach for assessing, monitoring, and authorizing cloud computing services under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and to help accelerate the adoption of secure cloud solutions by federal agencies.
The Office of Management and Budget now requires all executive federal agencies to use FedRAMP to validate the security of cloud services. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-53 sets the standard, and FedRAMP is the program that certifies that a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) meets that standard. Azure is also compliant with NIST 800-53, and we already offer an Azure Blueprints for NIST SP 800-53 Rev4.
The new blueprint provides partial control mappings to important portions of FedRAMP Security Controls Baseline at the moderate level, including:
Access control (AC)
- AC-2 account management (AC-2). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that audit external accounts with read, write, and owner permissions on a subscription and deprecated accounts, implement role-based access control (RBAC) to help you manage who has access to resources in Azure, and monitor virtual machines that can support just-in-time access but haven’t yet been configured.
- Information flow enforcement (AC-4).Assigns an Azure Policy definition to help you monitor Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) resources access restrictions.
- Separation of duties (AC-5). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that help you control membership of the administrators group on Windows virtual machines.
- Remote access (AC-17). Assigns an Azure Policy definition that helps you with monitoring and control of remote access.
Audit and accountability (AU)
- Response to audit processing failures (AU-5). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that monitor audit and event logging configurations.
- Audit generation (AU-12). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that audit log settings on Azure resources.
Configuration management (CM)
- Least functionality (CM-7). Assigns an Azure Policy definition that helps you monitor virtual machines where an application whitelist is recommended but has not yet been configured.
- User-installed software (CM-11). Assigns an Azure Policy definition that helps you monitor virtual machines where an application whitelist is recommended but has not yet been configured.
Contingency planning (CP)
- Alternate processing site (CP-7). Assigns an Azure Policy definition that audits virtual machines without disaster recovery configured.
Identification and authentication (IA)
- Network access to privileged accounts (IA-2). Assigns Azure Policy definitions to audit accounts with the owner and write permissions that don’t have multi-factor authentication enabled.
- Authenticator management (IA-5). Assigns policy definitions that audit the configuration of the password encryption type for Windows virtual machines.
Risk assessment (RA)
- RA-5 Vulnerability scanning (RA-5). Assigns policy definitions that audit and enforce Advanced Data Security on SQL servers as well as help with the management of other information system vulnerabilities.
Systems and communications protection (SC)
- Denial of service protection (SC-5). Assigns an Azure Policy definition that audits if the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) standard tier is enabled.
- Boundary protection (SC-7). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that monitor for network security group hardening recommendations as well as monitor virtual machines that can support just-in-time access but haven’t yet been configured.
- Transmission confidentiality and integrity (SC-8). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that help you monitor cryptographic mechanisms implemented for communications protocols.
- Protection of information at rest (SC-28). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that enforce specific cryptograph controls and audit the use of weak cryptographic settings.
System and information integrity (SI)
- Flaw remediation (SI-2). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that monitor missing system updates, operating system vulnerabilities, SQL vulnerabilities, and virtual machine vulnerabilities.
- Malicious code protection (SI-3). Assigns Azure Policy definitions that monitor for missing endpoint protection on virtual machines and enforces the Microsoft antimalware solution on Windows virtual machines.
- Information system monitoring (SI-4). Assigns policies that audit and enforce deployment of the Log Analytics agent, and enhanced security settings for SQL databases, storage accounts, and network resources.
Azure tenants seeking to comply with FedRAMP should note that although the FedRAMP Blueprints controls may help customers assess compliance with particular controls, they do not ensure full compliance with all requirements of a control. In addition, controls are associated with one or more Azure Policy definitions, and the compliance standard includes controls that aren’t addressed by any Azure Policy definitions in blueprints at this time. Therefore, compliance in Azure Policy will only consist of a partial view of your overall compliance status.
Customers are ultimately responsible for meeting the compliance requirements applicable to their environments and must determine for themselves whether particular information helps meet their compliance needs.
Learn more about the Azure FedRAMP moderate Blueprints in our documentation.