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News / 05.24.21

Broad Institute granted FedRAMP authorization for Terra platform

By Broad Communications

FedRAMP certification enables federal agencies, or federally funded projects, to engage more deeply with the cloud computing system for handling sensitive data.

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has been granted an Authority to Operate under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) for the management and analysis of data on Terra — a cloud-based platform operated by Broad and developed in partnership with Microsoft and Verily, an Alphabet company.

FedRAMP is a US government program that provides federal agencies with a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Being FedRAMP-compliant means a cloud computing system has established and documented a highly secure environment that has withstood comprehensive, rigorous review.

“FedRAMP is a very thorough program of multiple audits and requires demonstration of security at all levels — from technical excellence to documentation,” said David Bernick, chief information security officer at the Broad Institute. “This certification establishes that we have an active and robust security program.”

The certification enables all federal agencies, or projects that are federally funded, to store sensitive data on the Terra platform, use Terra for analyses, and sponsor research activities that also use those data on Terra. This specific authorization has been granted for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and affirmed by the FedRAMP office in the General Services Administration, to use Terra for handling Moderate-level data.

Terra is now listed on the FedRAMP Marketplace along with other authorized cloud service providers.

Various NIH entities already use Terra under previous FISMA (Federal Information Security Modernization Act) authorizations, including the All of Us Research Program, the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Genomic Data Analysis, Visualization, and Informatics Lab-Space (AnVIL), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s BioDataCatalyst, and the National Cancer Institute.