GSA selects second digital certificate vendor

The General Services Administration on Wednesday announced the second award for digital certificate technology under its governmentwide public-key infrastructure program.

The latest award under Access Certificates for Electronic Services (ACES) went to Operational Research Consultants Inc., an 8(a) company based in Chesapeake, Va.

GSA created ACES to provide agencies with a single source for a wide range of PKI solutions, which will provide the security needed to move government services to the World Wide Web. PKI uses digital certificates and encryption to secure and authenticate the transmission of data over an open network like the Internet.

A team headed by Digital Signature Trust Inc. captured the first contract. With the second award, GSA has the competition needed to begin taking task orders from agencies, said Judith Spencer, director of governmentwide security at GSA.

Other security vendors are still going through the procurement process at GSA, and the agency expects to announce additional awards this month.

Both ORC and Digital Signature Trust also captured contracts through the Defense Department's Interim External Certificate Authority program, which will provide digital certificates to non-DOD personnel accessing Defense applications through the Internet. The coincidence is not all that unexpected, Spencer said.

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