Cybersecurity

GSA to break out cyber services in Schedule 70

Shutterstock image (by Den Rise): Security services and protection concept; businesswoman displays a padlock, symbol of security.

The government is looking to change the way federal agencies buy cybersecurity services. Under the administration's Cybersecurity National Action Plan, the General Services Administration is planning to create a new category and a new special item number for agencies to use when acquiring cybersecurity services from the massive Schedule 70 contract vehicle.

The new category, detailed in a request for information posted June 8, will increase availability and improve access to cybersecurity services, as well as give vendors a way to differentiate cybersecurity offerings from other IT services.

GSA listed such activities as network mapping, penetration testing, phishing assessment, vulnerability scanning and database and web application assessment as "proactive" services. Incident response is categorized as a "reactive" service and "remediation" services include implementing approved security controls.

GSA officials have said they aim to have a solicitation out by late summer.

The new RFI comes only a few months after GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Office of Integrated Technology Services issued an RFI to get industry input federal agencies' cyber needs, and what role GSA could play in making it easier for agencies to get a suite of cybersecurity services. IT Schedule 70 is the federal government’s largest, most widely used acquisition vehicle and has more than 5,000 contracts. Over the last few months, GSA has been working to make it easier to use overall for vendors, as well as for federal agencies.

In hopes of attracting smaller or more technical companies that haven’t got much experience in working with the federal government, GSA Administrator Denise Roth unveiled FAStlane, a simplified, fast-track admission process for its IT Schedule 70 contract. GSA claims many companies are now getting contracts within 20 days.

The process lowers the sometimes-substantial admission time, which can stretch over 100 days, that puts off some smaller innovative tech suppliers and has kept them away from the federal market.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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