FedRAMP approves its first unified communications system

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The General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program approved its first cloud-based unified communications system — and some say more are likely to follow.

Last week, communications company Collab9 earned the first FedRAMP certification for unified communications as a service, or UCaaS. With the approval, the company will now offer federal agencies a single, third-party-based cloud system that connects different types of communication, like phones, voicemails and video messaging. The Federal Communications Commission helped fast-track Collab9’s progress.

While other companies offer elements of communications services, Collab9 has the first FedRAMP-approved product to provide the full suite of UCaaS offerings. Though Collab9 CEO Kevin Schatzle expects competition to grow.

“We think unified communications is the next low-hanging fruit after email,” he said. “The federal government today has an enormous amount of legacy systems they are paying ghastly maintenance on. We think the federal market is huge — it’s a good vertical market for us to focus on coming into.”

Indeed, FedRAMP Agency Evangelist Ashley Mahan said she’s noticed more specialized cloud services, including UCaaS, pursuing certification.

“As agencies are increasingly using more cloud services, specialized services like UCaaS solutions are gaining greater entry into the federal marketplace,” she said. “FedRAMP is cloud agnostic so the authorization process works for any delivery model or service type. The federal government’s increasing adoption of all types of cloud services will result in many more specialized services coming through FedRAMP like UCaaS solutions.”

The trend is in part thanks to recent technological advancements in broadband and processing power that could allow agencies to cut costs if they switch to cloud-based UCaaS systems, said Burke Daidy, Broadsoft’s senior director of government solutions.

“The application of the service has really started to latch onto the gears here and has become an obvious choice for the government, and I believe it is why you are now starting to see these services,” said Daidy, who already spent 18 months working toward FedRAMP compliance.

Schatzle said receiving FedRAMP compliance was a “long, arduous journey.” Collab9 had constant contact with the FedRAMP office to ensure it met a long list of security requirements, such as strong controls for breaches and reliable technical architecture. In the end, he said the certification will help agencies receive a new kind of service.

“The reason why this is such a big lift for any federal agencies is that we’re offering them an end-to-end solution for voice, voicemail and all other added solutions,” Schatzle said.

Contact the reporter on this story via email: Jeremy.Snow@FedScoop.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyM_Snow. Sign up for the Daily Scoop — all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning — here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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Applications & Software, Cloud, Collaboration / Unified Communications, emerging technology, FedRAMP, Tech
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