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5 Considerations for Using the CDM Tools SIN

While threats to our most critical systems increase, agencies face ongoing challenges to keep IT assets safe from adversaries. On August 11, 2018, the continuous diagnostics & mitigation tools continuous monitoring as a services (CDM/CMaaS) blanket purchase agreements (BPAs)expired and were replaced by a new special item number (SIN) on IT Schedule 70: The CDM Tools SIN (132-44).

The CDM Tools SIN on IT Schedule 70 provides agencies with easier access to a governmentwide set of information security continuous monitoring (ISCM) tools.

The CDM Tools SIN also:

  • Allows for added flexibility and speed to market for emerging technologies related to the CDM Program
  • Supports an expanded pool of industry partners offering CDM tools

Here are five considerations for choosing the CDM Tools SIN, when implementing your system security plans and IT security solutions:

1. We’ve made it easier to strengthen your network

Our CDM Tools SIN provides agencies with products and associated services that monitor and report into their CDM agency dashboard. It also allows them to manage:

  • What is on the network
  • Who is on the network
  • What is happening on the network
  • How data is protected

2. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has vetted all products on the CDM Tools SIN

GSA’s partnership with DHS ensures that the products available on the CDM Tools SIN have gone through a sophisticated vetting process. They are added to DHS’s CDM approved products list (APL) before being added to the CDM Tools SIN. Products on the APL are consolidated and categorized for ease of discovery.

The APL is the authoritative approved product catalog for products that meet the department’s CDM requirements. DHS reviews new products every month, allowing for new and emerging products to become part of the CDM marketplace. Once approved and placed on the APL, vendors can apply to IT Schedule 70 to sell their new product on the SIN.

3. The CDM Tools SIN is open to all GSA IT Schedule 70 users

Federal agencies can use the CDM Tools SIN; state, local, tribal, and territorial government entities can also access the CDM Tools SIN through GSA’s Cooperative Purchasing Program.

The SIN is also available to Dynamic and Evolving Federal Enterprise Network Defense (DEFEND) awardees purchasing CDM tools, the Department of Defense, and other organizations that can use IT Schedule 70.

4. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Handbook calls out the CDM Tools SIN

The CIO Council recently published the CISO Handbook to give chief information security officers (CISOs) important information they need to implement federal cybersecurity at their agencies. The CDM tools SIN is called out as a resource for CISOs to address federal cybersecurity requirements.

Agencies use CDM Tools to comply with various federal mandates and to strengthen their network defenses through sustained monitoring of network activity and automatic identification and prevention of any activity determined to be unauthorized.

5. We make it easy for you to order CDM Tools SIN

GSA makes it easy to access these tools through the www.gsa.gov/cdm webpages, featuring an ordering guide and links to GSA eLibrary’s CDM Tools page. We update the site every month with the new DHS Approved Products List. We also feature a guide for industry vendors interested in applying to sell products on the CDM Tools SIN.

For more information on the CDM Tools SIN, visit www.gsa.gov/cdm, or contact the IT Security Subcategory Team at itsecuritycm@gsa.gov.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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Saying Goodbye to a Career of Federal Service

I recently announced I’m winding down my career with the federal government.  Retirement is a great time for reflection as I approach the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

After 32 years of service in the government and private sectors, I have been fortunate to work beside people whose passion is to serve in the best interests of our customers. I leave my position as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) filled with pride from what we have accomplished and confidence in the excellent ITC staff.

But none of ITC’s projects and programs would be successful without the partnership, support, perspective, and engagement of our federal agency and industry partners.

I have talked often about ITC’s many successes to illustrate that the work ITC does has significant, real-world impacts — we manage more than 5,000 contracts, representing nearly $25 billion in mission-critical IT spending annually.

Our goal is to meet all agencies’ IT needs by giving them access to the best commercial products and services available, from laptop configurations to massive IT network overhauls and everything in between.

We’re always focused on how the market is changing, and which emerging technologies are becoming critical in the modern IT landscape.

This year, ITC launched initiatives aimed at modernizing and simplifying current solutions, eliminating duplicative processes, and deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed ledger technology (DLT), to enhance efficiencies and drive savings into the acquisition process for GSA and government.

During my tenure as Director of IT Schedule 70, we focused on cross-government and cross-industry collaboration, realigning ITC to better support industry partners and help customer agencies meet their mission objectives.

One such example is the FASt Lane program, which focused on getting new technologies into the hands of customers faster. It has two parts: a quick 48 hour e-Modification (eMod) process for current Schedule 70 contract holders wishing to add or update their current IT product offerings, and a program helps get new vendors on schedule in approximately 45 days, down from the average time of 110 days.

We also implemented an initiative to renegotiate Schedule 70 base prices for many of the largest contracts. As a result, the government is achieving discounts of up to 46 percent off original pricing.

The solutions that we have put in place are truly critical to enabling the government to do its ultimate job — serving the American taxpayers.

I look forward to following GSA’s and ITC’s future endeavors and celebrating their successes from a new vantage point.
Many thanks to this entire community for your tremendous partnership over the years.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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Protecting State and Local Election Systems and Strengthening Cyber Defenses

By Kay Ely, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Information Technology Category

Preventing infiltration and tampering of elections systems and fortifying cyber defenses continue to be important topics.

Through our established IT contract vehicles, GSA can provide government agencies with access to cybersecurity products and services to improve resilience, protect important information, and bring election systems into compliance with leading-edge practices for enhancing security in today’s tech-savvy environment.

Cooperative Purchasing Program

GSA’s Cooperative Purchasing Program allows state, local, and tribal governments to benefit from access to solutions, products, and services from pre-vetted industry partners through IT Schedule 70 — the same as those offered to federal agencies.

That means these government agencies can buy the newest cybersecurity offerings under the Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Services (HACS) and Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Special Item Numbers (SINs) which can help with risk assessments and management of election systems.

Cyber Products and Services

Services offered by our HACS partners:

  • Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) services that adhere to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) methodology for assessing High Value Assets
  • Penetration Testing to proactively identify and detect cyber vulnerabilities
  • Cyber Hunt to mitigate immediate and potential threats
  • Incident Response to expand government’s ability to recover from cyber attacks

Government agencies can also buy cybersecurity tools that are on DHS’s CDM Approved Product List through the CDM Tools SIN. These offer hardware and software tools designed to:

  • Identify enterprise cybersecurity risks on an ongoing basis
  • Prioritize these risks based upon potential impacts
  • Enable cyber security personnel to mitigate the most significant problems first

Here at GSA, we are committed to providing the best quality products and services to our state, local, and tribal government customers and we’re ready to help you secure our nation’s systems.

For more information on the HACS and CDM Tools SINs, visit https://gsa.gov/itsecurity, or contact the IT Security Subcategory Team at itsecuritycm@gsa.gov.

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Better Process, Price through Government-wide Strategic Solution (GSS) for Desktops and Laptops Program

We pride ourselves on providing federal agencies with IT solutions at the best value through an efficient buying experience.

To further improve the buying experience, the Governmentwide Strategic Solutions (GSS) for desktops and laptops program formed a partnership among procurement teams from agencies across government. Working closely with our industry partners, the GSS team negotiated better terms and conditions, more consistent pricing, and a streamlined buying process for federal, state, and local governments.

The government depends on desktops and laptops every day to accomplish its mission. More than $1 billion is spent annually on this critical IT hardware. Most of this $1 billion is spent on similar desktop and laptop configurations from the same original equipment manufacturers, but spread across thousands of different contracts.

The Workstation Category Team, established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), worked closely with agency and industry stakeholders to create GSS standard configurations. They’re designed to meet 80 percent of the government’s desktop and laptop requirements, helping the government aggregate demand and use its consolidated buying power.

How’d we do it?

The category team worked to ensure participating contractors offer the full breadth of GSS-compliant desktops, laptops, options, and accessories through their IT Schedule 70 contracts. Also, GSA Advantage catalogs for GSS desktops and laptops were fully overhauled to clearly show compliant machines, with full descriptions and a menu-driven option and accessory configurator.

To make buying these products quick and easy, IT Schedule 70 awarded three multi-agency (government-wide) single-award Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) to support OMB’s GSS Desktop and Laptop category management strategy.

These BPAs are recompeted annually to ensure the latest technology is available in a GSS-compliant configuration, at the most competitive prices in government.

These three BPAs are available via the GSA AdvantageSelect buying platform.

Better Buying for the Future

GSS program use has increased nearly 700 percent over the last two fiscal years. At the same time, use of our AdvantageSelect GSS BPA has increased by 400 percent from FY17.

The discounts realized through the competitive process encouraged this growth. Agencies executing large-quantity purchases through GSA’s GSS Program in FY18 have realized discounts of up to 40 percent off GSA contract ceiling prices.

To make sure everyone hears about this, GSA’s IT Hardware Category Management team hosts regular training sessions that tell agencies how to maximize savings and buying power for obtaining GSS-compliant desktop and laptop computers, as well as options, accessories, and peripherals at competitive prices.

These webinars make it easier for agencies to benefit from this outstanding program; learning more about simple purchasing options is especially important to government buyers as we near the end of a fiscal year. To learn more about the configurations and contracts and to make your purchase, see GSA Advantage or the Acquisition Gateway.

For GSA GSS Desktop/Laptop help, please visit our webpage or contact workstations@gsa.gov

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.