FedRAMP vs. TX-RAMP: A Comparative Analysis

As cyber threats continue to surge, regulatory bodies across the U.S. are introducing stringent standards to ensure data integrity and security. Two such programs, specifically tailored for cloud services, stand out: the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and the Texas Risk and Authorization Management Program (TX-RAMP). Both are robust, but they cater to different jurisdictions and have nuanced distinctions. In this article, we'll compare the frameworks, and offer guidance to Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) trying to navigate this space.

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Origins & Jurisdiction:

FedRAMP: Launched by the U.S. federal government, FedRAMP standardizes security assessments, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services used by federal agencies. FedRAMP promotes the adoption of secure cloud services across the federal government by providing a standardized approach to security and risk assessment for cloud technologies and federal agencies.

TX-RAMP: Originating from the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) in response to Senate Bill 475, TX-RAMP is a state-focused initiative. It primarily ensures cloud services and products associated with Texas state agencies, and higher education institutes uphold stringent security standards.

Scope & Application:

FedRAMP: The scope is federal, any CSP aiming to serve a federal agency needs to ensure its services are FedRAMP authorized.

TX-RAMP: While it has a similar ethos as FedRAMP, TX-RAMP is specific to Texas state entities. Certain cloud services, like email notifications, educational tools, and specific design tools that don't handle confidential information, are exempt from its requirements. Learn more about exempt products and services here.

Security Assessment & Certification Levels:

FedRAMP: FedRAMP offers three impact levels: Low, Moderate, and High. Each level represents the potential impact of a security breach. The required security controls and assessment processes become more rigorous as one moves from Low to High.

TX-RAMP: TX-RAMP has three certification levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Provisional. Level 1 is for public or non-confidential data, while Level 2 caters to confidential data. The provisional certification allows for an interim period where agencies can contract with cloud services working towards full TX-RAMP certification.

Validity Duration & Continuous Monitoring:

FedRAMP: Once a CSP achieves authorization, they must provide monthly continuous monitoring deliverables to maintain the authorization status. An annual assessment is also mandatory. Learn more about this here (pg. 11).

TX-RAMP: Level 1 and Level 2 certifications are valid for three years. Provisional certification, on the other hand, is valid for 18 months, allowing state agencies to collaborate with CSPs working towards full TX-RAMP compliance.

TX-RAMP Level 2 certification mandates the submission of vulnerability reports on a quarterly basis, whereas Level 1 only calls for annual submissions. These reports must include identified vulnerabilities along with their respective mitigation activities, and are to be sent to the Texas DIR.

What CSPs Should Be Aware Of:

Geographical Reach: If a CSP is aiming to serve federal agencies across the U.S., FedRAMP is the only route. However, if they don’t have federal agencies on their radar, and instead will focus on Texas state entities, TX-RAMP is crucial.

Comprehensive Compliance: CSPs can leverage their compliance with other frameworks to aid compliance with the other. For instance, the DIR accepts evidence of FedRAMP or StateRAMP authorization as a replacement for TX-RAMP certification. Specifically, TX-RAMP Level 1 certification can be attained by submitting evidence of StateRAMP Category 1 authorization or FedRAMP Low authorization. TX-RAMP level 2 certification can be attained by submitting evidence of StateRAMP Category 1 authorization or FedRAMP moderate authorization.

Resource Allocation: Achieving and maintaining compliance with either program can be resource-intensive. It's essential to allocate adequate resources, both in terms of personnel and finances.


Both FedRAMP and TX-RAMP play pivotal roles in fortifying the cybersecurity landscape of cloud services serving government entities in the U.S. While their core objective remains consistent - safeguarding sensitive data in the cloud - their applicability varies based on jurisdiction and specific requirements. CSPs must evaluate their target clientele and geographical focus to determine which certification aligns best with their goals.

About the author

Keaton Olson is the co-host of The Paramify Podcast. Through his involvement in the podcast, he has the opportunity to engage and learn from Kenny Scott and various professionals in the fields of Information Security and Cybersecurity. His writings reflect the wealth of knowledge and insights he gains from these interactions. Keaton holds a degree from Utah Valley University and has a profound passion for creative projects and enjoys the challenges that come with them, aiming to deliver content that is both enlightening and engaging for the readers.‍