Authority to Operate (ATO) Automation

Solution / Authority to Operate (ATO) Automation

Authority to Operate (ATO) Automation

Before software can be deployed within a Federal agency, it must first go through the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Risk Management Framework (RMF). This approval process is known as the Authority to Operate (ATO) process and has a reputation as being a painful and lengthy process for all parties involved. It’s also frequently not optional, as attaining an ATO is a hard requirement in numerous agencies across the US Government. Attaining an ATO tends to be a costly effort because of the complexity, lengthy time requirements, and required involvement from numerous teams.  

Ironically, the process to obtain an ATO can also create a security issue in itself. In many cases, by the time that an agency has received an ATO, the various aspects of the documented security process are often outdated. Staff spends so much of their time just keeping up with the daily effort to keep the lights on, so aspects like compliance and ATOs become afterthoughts as their systems drift further from the documented standard. When it’s time to audit and make ATO updates, teams find themselves even further behind, and possibly need to repeat large portions of the process again.  

The ability to rapidly attain an ATO is a huge advantage to the adoption of innovative and modern technologies, but most technology vendors lack the knowledge or desire to invest in this costly process, and Federal agencies are often too overworked to effectively support these efforts. It’s clear that in order to move toward cloud migration and modernization, organizations must transform their ATO processes. Only a fully integrated and automated solution that includes the governance, technology, process, and personnel will reduce the burden and increase innovation.  

Many US Federal Agencies are looking for an alternative path to the complicated ATO process. With the adoption of compliance automation, organizations can significantly reduce total cost and the time typically required to monitor and validate ATO controls, while also increasing compliance scores.  

Compliance Automation

By implementing ATO automation, MindPoint Group has enabled Federal organizations to take their ATO time from an average of 3-4 months per application to only 1-2 weeks. Our ATO Automation customers accelerate their time to an ATO, and are also are able to: 

  • Adhere to the FISMA requirements set forth by the National Institute of Technology (NIST). 
  • Make data-driven risk-management decisions with real-time data collection. 
  • Shift resources to high-value work by simplifying Information Security Continuous Monitoring (ISCM) 
  • Lower costs by reducing the number of hours previously needed to achieve compliance. 
  • More rapidly adopt new and next-generation technologies to help them innovate and modernize entire infrastructure and capabilities faster than ever before. 

Process

MindPoint Group is committed to help you achieve an ATO for your new and existing applications and systems.  Our team will help you automate the process to save you time and money, all while improving your organization’s security profile. Our process consists of three components:  

1. Explore and Identify: MindPoint Group knows that for any process to work, the key players and must have a say. We take each of the stakeholders into account and gather feedback before getting started.  

2. Automate: We help produce an environment that allows developers to do everything they need within their application, all with code.  

ATO Automation  Security

It’s hard to talk about our automation process, without talking about DevSecOps. DevSecOps requires that teams collaborate and cooperate across functional areas. Doing this requires an easy way to define what compliance looks like. Security baselines like CIS or DISA STIG can be extremely difficult to scale and to be consistently meeting compliance requirements like HIPPA, CMMC, NIST, or FEDRAMP. Difficult that is, until you adopt automation.  

MindPoint Group’s Lockdown Enterprise product makes it easy for teams to meet regulatory and cybersecurity requirements for operating systems and applications with our collection of Ansible Role content. Lockdown Enterprise works with your people and processes to reduce the impact on the team while increasing your compliance and system security. 

3. Onboard: We help onboard our customers by automating the creation of “spaces” for our customers within their specific team. These spaces enable our customers to perform all of the necessary tasks to request, provision, and deploy their application or service. Onboarding is made easy with user self-service provisioning so they can easily launch applications and infrastructure. 

Getting Started 

Want to get started with ATO Automation for your organization? MindPoint Group is here to help reduce the challenges, expenses, and time previously associated with the ATO process. Contact us to get started.   You can also download our datasheet for more information.

Download the datasheet

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