On June 5, federal agencies using cloud systems will be required to meet Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) security standards for these systems. While the program was designed to create a standardized system to ensure the security of cloud deployments, it has put much strain on agencies and vendors as they worked to meet the deadline. But on May 30, eight days before the deadline, Salesforce announced that it is the first vendor to offer FedRAMP approved services for both platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

“What’s significant for our government customers is that we’re really now offering [them] a choice when they leverage Salesforce," said David Rey, senior vice president of public sector for Salesforce. "They can use our No. 1 customer relationship management software on our platform, or they can leverage our world class Salesforce1 platform to do their own custom development to build their applications to reach their employees and the citizens in a whole new way."

This announcement is one that Salesforce’s government customers have been looking forward to, Rey said, noting that it’s also an opportunity for them to attract new business. “[The] Salesforce1 platform is really like the next generation systems platform for connecting government,” Rey said. Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the General Services Administration use the platform to great benefit, he explained.

“In one instance, the [Department of Agriculture] has a warehouse that’s over 2 million square feet,” Rey said. “They took our platform and they built an application so that now, they can use their mobile devices to scan this equipment and the engineers can know the service records and what needs to be done -- a much different way than they used to operate.”

The General Services Administration has a unique challenge, as its employees travel around managing the agency’s one-third of a billion-square-foot office space around the nation, Rey explained. “They needed a way to be disconnected from the office but really connected to their applications,” he said. “GSA has really used a lot of time using the Salesforce1 platform to build applications very rapidly, and what they found is they are developing applications 75 percent faster, they have reduced their total cost of ownership for each app by about 90 percent and they’ve been able to retire over 200 servers to date.”

Last year, Amazon Web Services became the first major cloud provider to secure FedRAMP certification. Agencies that don’t meet the upcoming June 5 deadline will be subject to penalties from oversight bodies like the Government Accountability Office.

Colin Wood Colin Wood  |  Staff Writer

Colin has been writing for Government Technology since 2010. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their dog. He can be reached at cwood@govtech.com and on Google+.