10 SmartBuy encryption contracts awarded

Agencies can now purchase the strongest standard encryption products and services at the best price because of the awards today of 10 blanket purchase agreements under the SmartBuy governmentwide procurement vehicle.

The Office of Management and Budget, Defense Department and General Services Administration awarded the BPAs to protect sensitive, unclassified data on government laptop computers, other mobile computing devices and removable storage media devices.

The federal government will save as much as $73 million through cost avoidance during the agreements and has the potential to accelerate standard data security on mobile devices. Over five years, the BPAs could result in contract values exceeding $79 million.

The winners are MTM Technologies, Rocky Mountain Ram, Carahsoft Technology, Spectrum Systems, SafeNet, Hi-Tech Services, Autonomic Resources, GovBuys, Intelligent Decisions and Merlin International. One other vendor that was a candidate for an award did not complete all requirements at this time.

The awardees will provide these products:
  • Mobile Armor’s Data Armor.
  • Safeboot’s Safeboot Device Encryption.
  • Information Security’s Secret Agent.
  • SafeNet’s SafeNet ProtectDrive.
  • Encryption Solutions’ SkyLOCK At-Rest.
  • Spyrus’ Talisman/DS Data Security Suite WinMagic’s SecureDoc.
  • Credant Technologies’ CredantMobile Guardian.
  • GuardianEdge Technologies’ GuardianEdge.
Agencies may begin to purchase encryption services for data at rest through the BPAs immediately. The agreements were selected under DOD’s Enterprise Software Initiative and GSA’s governmentwide SmartBuy program.

DOD ESI and the Air Force’s 754th Electronic Systems Group at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., will provide acquisition and contract support for the awards and administer the contracts. GSA’s SmartBuy will provide all acquisition support for civilian agencies, including state and local governments.

The collaboration of several agencies to quickly establish such agreements that cross federal, state and local governments is a huge win, said Dave Wennergren, DOD’s deputy chief information officer.

“I think it will raise the bar for security for everybody,” he said during a teleconference to announce the awards.

Many agencies have acquired encryption for some or all of their mobile devices, such as the Veterans Affairs Department.

“There was nothing to preclude people from buying encryption products before the OMB memo,” he said. “But this is a way to leverage our buying power and get a better deal and price and make sure that the products that we’re buying really are secure and meet the standards. You can also look at this to see if you can get something better or more cost-effective.”

Mobile data security is a critical issue at all levels of government, so DOD, GSA and OMB made the SmartBuy BPAs available to all federal, state and local entities, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for information technology and e-government.

“This is a milestone that will help build public trust as we continue to improve security within our information technology systems governmentwide,” she said in a statement.

Evans’ directive that agencies encrypt data on mobile devices was a catalyst for the agreements. OMB issued that directive and others last year after a laptop computer containing personal data on millions of veterans was stolen from the home of a VA employee.

Under the SmartBuy agreements, contractors offer three categories of software and hardware encryption products: full disk encryption, file encryption and integrated products. All products use cryptographic modules validated under the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Federal Information Processing 140-2 security requirements, and they have met stringent technical and interoperability requirements.

Prices under the BPA awards are as low as or lower than prices each vendor has available on GSA schedules. Additionally, discounts on volume pricing range as high as 85 percent based on tiers for 10,000, 33,000 and 100,000 users, said Tom Kireilis, acting director of GSA’s Strategic Solutions Division and GSA's SmartBuy director.

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