New FedRAMP Authorization Secures Remote Access for Federal Agencies

Civilian and defense agencies are rethinking how they connect employees to the data and applications they need. Last year, some agencies reported 80-90% of employees working remotely and for many, teleworking will continue in some fashion. As work environments continue to evolve, digital infrastructure must evolve with it to accommodate a hybrid workforce. Cloud-delivered services that are FedRAMP Authorized can scale quickly and secure remote access for agencies.

Increasing cloud adoption also has US federal agencies exploring how to offer secure access to the cloud for teleworkers and government branch offices while maintaining worker productivity and reducing the burden on agency IT and cyber teams. Steps are being taken in the right direction to protect organizations, data and the mobile workforce. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently announced finalized versions of a few Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) 3.0 use cases, including for government branch offices. Additionally, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is working to simplify how Department of Defense (DoD) users outside their information networks can securely connect to cloud services.

To support these efforts, we are excited to announce that Prisma Access has achieved a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Moderate Authorization. Prisma Access is a cloud-delivered security service that helps protect all traffic between remote workers and branch offices and the applications and data they need to do their jobs. By extending a Zero Trust architecture to remote workers and branch offices, agencies can comply with the recent Executive Order on Cybersecurity while managing their network and security operations centrally. Agencies can offer a great user experience and leverage existing network and cyber skill investments utilizing the following capabilities.

Securing an excellent digital experience for remote workers

Government work is going to look different post-pandemic. Telework has been a tremendous success according to a federal employee survey, and agencies are exploring many options. Some workers may return to the office, but remote-first, hybrid, or telework days are all possible. Whether they are in the office, at home or across the country, employees should have the same seamless access to the tools they need to do their jobswithout putting agency operations or data at risk.

Cloud-delivered secure remote access using Prisma Access offers flexibility agencies need to support their continually changing remote workforce. With connection points across the country and internationally as well as guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs), workers enjoy high-performance connectivity to apps from anywhere. Granular, role-based Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) policies ensure workers get seamless access to the apps they need, just as they would in the office. Going beyond ZTNA, Prisma Access inspects all apps, users, ports and protocols and secures against all threats even after a valid user has established a connection. This greatly reduces the risk of attacks and data breaches. And since Prisma Access automatically scales with demand, IT and cyber teams avoid having to deploy and maintain additional infrastructure as demand changes.

Improving branch office productivity

Government branch office workers provide essential services to their citizens and communities. Traditionally, branch office traffic has flowed to the data center over private Wide Area Network (WAN) links and then, if needed, on to the public internet or agency commercial cloud environments. As more workloads move to the cloud, this traffic hairpinning not only introduces latency, it requires more equipment in the data center and larger, more expensive WAN links.

Prisma Access helps agencies improve government branch office productivity by eliminating performance bottlenecks for cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) apps, without adding more hardware or upgrading WAN links to data centers. With nationwide presence in a FedRAMP Authorized environment, agencies can securely offload cloud and SaaS traffic from expensive data center links. Granular security and usage policies allow agencies to prioritize sanctioned SaaS app traffic over general internet use, for example. Branch office workers benefit from a great digital experience, while network and security teams can centrally create, monitor and enforce policies independent of branch or application locations.

Complying with new guidance on internet connectivity

With IT modernization, agencies are moving away from large, centralized internet connection points, yet new internet connection points must still be controlled. Prisma Access allows US federal, state and local governments to apply consistent security across their many internet connection points while meeting regulatory requirements. For civilian agencies, Prisma Access secures remote workforces and other TIC 3.0 use cases using consistent Zero Trust policies. The DoD can use Prisma Access to securely connect to their expanding commercial cloud environments at scale. Prisma Access is also suitable for US state and local governments considering adopting StateRAMP security controls. For government agencies already using Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls, network and security teams can use the familiar Panorama network management system to configure and manage Prisma Access.

Prisma Access is part of a suite of FedRAMP Authorized, cloud-delivered services that are helping US agencies modernize their IT and cybersecurity. Learn how Palo Alto Networks and its FedRAMP Authorized cloud services, including Prisma Access, can help secure federal networks and their remote workforces.