BlackBerry First to Get FedRAMP For Crisis Comms


BlackBerry is launching the FedRAMP version of its AtHoc Crisis Communications software to general availability today. The sponsoring agency for the authorization was the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

BlackBerry AtHoc currently protects more than 70 percent of U.S. Federal Government employees using on-premises software and cloud services. By offering a FedRAMP certified version of AtHoc, government agencies will be able to transition away from legacy on-premises and hybrid cloud versions of the software.

BlackBerry will offer continuous monitoring and incident response capabilities required by FedRAMP, through its newly formed U.S.-based BlackBerry Cyber Security Operations Center (CSOC).

The CSOC is led by former US Coast Guard CIO and Cyber Commander, RADM (ret) Bob Day who is now the VP of BlackBerry’s Cyber Security Operation Services. Under his leadership, the CSOC will also provide support for future BlackBerry products that are slated for FedRAMP authorization process.

The FedRAMP authorized version of AtHoc includes AtHoc Alert and AtHoc Connect, among other capabilities. AtHoc Connect offers secure data sharing and meets federal goals for interoperability of software across agencies set out by the DHS Interoperable Communications Act H.R. 615. AtHoc Alert enables secure multi-channel, two-way mass notifications via secure mobile apps, telephony and texting. AtHoc Alert also integrates with other mass notification channels such as loud speakers, two-way radios, and digital displays.

AtHoc is the first of several services BlackBerry intends to move onto FedRAMP certified environments.

“We have been evaluating how to move our services to FedRAMP compliant instances and started with AtHoc based on customer need. The process took about 12 months,” Day explains in an interview with CivSource. “The lessons we’ve learned from this process will inform how we approach moving our other services over. Right now, we’re looking at doing a parallel approval process for our next two most popular services – BlackBerry Workspaces and BlackBerry UEM, our mobile device management product.”

Day adds that BlackBerry is also looking how to work with Microsoft Azure and AWS, which already offer FedRAMP certified cloud services, in order to find ways of including FedRAMP secured instances of BlackBerry software within those cloud environments.