But Seriously, What is a 3PAO?


3PAO means “third party assessment organization” under the FedRAMP program. FedRAMP is the U.S. government’s first program for the protection of federal information in the cloud. A 3PAO audits the cloud service provider because, in short, self-assessments are not permitted.

Stated another way: a 3PAO is an independent entity that performs initial and period security assessments of cloud systems. This comes into play when a cloud service provider (CSP) wants to contract with the federal government and desires to be FedRAMP authorized. The rules of FedRAMP state that a FedRAMP-accredited 3PAO must be contracted for by the CSP. The 3PAO services include performing independent security assessments of the cloud system, while simultaneously helping its client protect its intellectual property. This entails a rigorous technical review of the cloud system. The rigor of the review is intended to provide the government confidence that that the system does not contain any unacceptable or unanticipated risks.

Aside from being extremely competent, a 3PAO must maintain objectivity, impartiality, and independence at all times. A 3PAO must maintain independence from the CSP in accordance with International Standards Organization (ISO) standards. Impartiality must be safeguarded. The 3PAO may not audit their own work.

How We Can Help

For more information on Sera-Brynn’s 3PAO services, contact fedramp@sera-brynn.com or info@sera-brynn.com.
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