Hootsuite Enterprise attains security designation to provide services to US government agencies


Vancouver-based social media management company Hootsuite has announced its Enterprise service has received an authorized security designation from a United States government security and compliance program for cloud products.

“It’s more important than ever to ensure our security practices are constantly evolving to meet a rigorous set of standards.”
– Tom Keiser, Hootsuite

Hootsuite obtained an Authority to Operate (ATO) certification from the US Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). FedRAMP is a cybersecurity risk management program created for the purchase and use of cloud products and services used by US federal agencies.

This designation gives cloud services companies, such as Hootsuite, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure, a level of security authorization, if such companies want to provide their services to the government.

“Hootsuite has many customers who may be under additional obligations and regulations due to their industry, such as financial services, non-profit, education, and government,” said Ryan Donovan, CTO of Hootsuite. “Our FedRAMP ATO, and integrations with partners such as digital risk protection platform, ZeroFOX, and cybersecurity solution, Proofpoint, help to provide that added layer of protection and trust that they require.”

Hootsuite Enterprise is one of four tiered plans offered by the company, with the others including professional, team, and business. The enterprise tier offers custom social media solutions to users.

Hootsuite said in an announcement that FedRAMP designations “translate to greater confidence in security” due to their “rigorous standards.” The US Department of the Interior sponsored Hootsuite through the designation process.

“COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation exponentially,” said Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite. “With the world relying more heavily on social networks for communication, community, and global e-commerce, it’s more important than ever to ensure our security practices are constantly evolving to meet a rigorous set of standards.”

“With our FedRAMP ATO, the US federal government, and all Hootsuite customers, can feel confident that we are constantly improving on our security practices,” added Keiser.

RELATED: Hootsuite initially agreed to ICE deal before pulling out, documents reveal

The Vancouver-based company said a “growing number” of government agencies are using Hootsuite’s software, including the US Department of the Interior, the Department of State, the US Marines, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Last year, Hootsuite was part of an agreement involving the US agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which sparked controversy from both outside and inside the company. In the fall, Hootsuite announced it was pulling out of the customer contract with ICE.

Documents obtained by BetaKit at the time indicated the deal involved a delivery order of a Hootsuite licence for ICE’s office of public affairs. ICE has been a source of controversy over the last few years due to certain tactics it is alleged to have engaged in. Hootsuite pulled out of the contract, citing “broad emotional and passionate reaction” from Hootsuite employees.

Following the cancellation of the contract, two Hootsuite employees who publicly opposed the contract claimed they were let go by the company.

The fallout from Hootsuite’s ICE controversy involved B Lab, which gives designations to businesses that commit to putting ethical decisions ahead of profits. The B corporation certifier has placed Hootsuite’s B Corp status under review twice. The second investigation was first reported earlier this year and is expected to be completed by April.

Image source Hootsuite.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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