GSA deal jump-starts information security
- By Diane Frank
- May 15, 2000
The General Services Administration last week awarded a task order for 500,000
digital certificates that will be given free to agencies in order to jump-start
the use of a GSA governmentwide information security contract.
The GSA Access Certificates for Electronic Services (ACES) contract
provides the technology and services for agencies to develop a public-key
infrastructure and enable their applications to work with that infrastructure.
The creation of a PKI allows agencies to use the digital certificates to
provide security and authentication for employees and citizens performing
transactions over the Internet.
Although agencies have recognized the need for security measures such
as PKI, the implementation of the technology is complicated and costly.
To help agencies with the expensive task of buying and issuing certificates,
GSA is paying for the 500,000 certificates and will be awarding them to
agencies that propose viable applications.
The task order calls for Digital Signature Trust Co. to issue up to
400,000 certificates and for ATT Corp. to issue the other 100,000. The certificates
will be good for one year, and the agencies will only have to pay the per-transaction
"We believe that offering these certificates free of issuance costs
is a great opportunity to prime the ACES pump," said Mary Wagner, associate
administrator of GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy. "We are confident
that federal agencies will quickly see the benefits of providing businesses
and the public with a safe and secure way to interact with the government
over the Internet."
The ACES Customer Advisory Board, led by chairman and OGP chief of staff
John Sindelar, will be evaluating agencies' proposals for using the certificates.