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Collab9 Leads UCaaS Pack With FedRAMP Authorization

Collab9

Lynn HaberIt took a couple of years’ worth of fortitude, patience and resources for collab9 to pursue FedRAMP authorization, but for the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) provider, it’s paid off. Collab9 announced Thursday that it has its FedRAMP authorization in hand.

Now the company can go out and, via partnerships with contractors, VARs and telcos, pursue business with federal, state and local governments as a Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS) provider. Commonly referred to as FedRAMP, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program receives its Authority to Operate (ATO) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

collab9's Kevin Schatzle“For the past two years while the FedRAMP application was in the works, collab9 built a large channel in anticipation of getting the authorization for cloud-based hosted UCaaS,” Kevin Schatzle, CEO collab9 shared with us.

More than 50 federal contractors, VARs and telecommunications service providers to be exact including the likes of, World Wide Technology, Lockheed Martin, Level 3 and Presidio, for example.

The collab9 partner program model is scaled to its North American channel of prime contractors who go to the federal, state and local markets. The way it works: In effect, collab9 becomes a subcontractor to a partner, Presidio, for example.

“They offer our solution on their contract vehicles, they prime it and sub the FedRAMP portion to collab9. They own the customer, the contract and what they’re subbing is within the four walls of the contract, i.e. the FedRAMP data center, to us and they’ll sell the CPE such as the phones, they’ll do the onsite deployment and we do everything that’s in the cloud through them,” explained Schatzle.{ad}

Collab9 has two data centers that meet the NIST 800-53 standards for federal, local and state government security requirements. The data centers are also enterprise class with the infrastructure to meet the security, capacity and performance requirements of large-scale public sector and commercial companies. NIST 800-53 is not the same as FedRAMP-authorized, which is essentially a stamp that means the facility has been certified, vetted and audited by the federal government. The expense, time and complexity of the FedRAMP process drives these types of partnerships, said the CIO.

collab9 originally rolled out its HCS solution through Westcon-Comstor and Tech Data to their partners but it didn’t prove to be the right value proposition for collab9, so the service provider opted to go directly to partners.

The UCaaS solutions offered by FedRAMP-authorized collab9 are for hosted voice that features …

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… unified messaging integrating voice mail and email; video calls, mobility, IM and presence (Jabber), customer-care applications (Contact Center); integration with Microsoft O365, Skype for Business, Gmail, and, E911.

To date, there’s been a lot of traction for Microsoft and Google email in state and local governments, not so much for voice.

“There’s been some traction with UC or voice in New York and Texas with Cisco, but for the most part there hasn’t been a lot of traction,” Schatzle said.

Servers, storage and email have gotten market penetration in government and collab9 believes that UC is next up for agencies to save money and get the benefit of cloud.

Interestingly enough, Cisco is currently in the process for getting FedRAMP certification for its cloud solutions. What does that mean for collab9? Schatzle wouldn’t say but intimated that discussions are in process. BroadSoft announced intentions to pursue FedRAMP, so for the time being, collab9 believes that it has at a minimum a six-month jump-start on the competition.

“We also have a substantial channel in place that gives us access to every major contract vehicle there is for the federal government,” Schatzle pointed out.


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