Protecting State and Local Election Systems and Strengthening Cyber Defenses

Posted by Kay Ely
on September 12, 2018

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

Posted by Kay Ely
on September 11, 2018

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.

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Air Force and GSA Sign MOU for IT Products BPAs

Posted by Kay Ely
on September 5, 2018

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

In June, I hosted several officials from the U.S. Air Force here at GSA for an official signing ceremony. My team and their counterparts at the Air Force have worked diligently together over the past several months to better understand the Air Force’s IT products needs as their current contract solution approaches its sunset in November 2019.

Our two agencies have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This MOU sets forth guiding principles for a strategic partnership that allows GSA’s IT Hardware Category Team and IT Schedule 70 to establish a multiple-award blanket purchase agreement (BPA) on behalf of the Air Force. This BPA will replace the Air Force NETCENTS-2 IT Products IDIQ contract.

The IT Products BPA is expected to be available to all federal government agencies, as well as state, local, and tribal entities, consistent with GSA’s Cooperative Purchasing program.

Partnering for Better Solutions

This MOU allows us to consolidate knowledge and buying power to shape our acquisition strategy, making sure that we’re helping the federal government effectively acquire IT goods. The solution we develop will streamline the Air Force’s acquisition process — and, the federal government’s, more broadly — as well as reduce contract duplication, while saving time, resources, and taxpayer dollars. This solution also:

  • Ensures Air Force receives Trade Agreements Act (TAA)-compliant products
  • Mitigates risk of grey-market items
  • Incorporates enhanced supply chain risk management (SCRM) processes from GSA-vetted industry partners

Answering the Call to Increase Savings

Partnerships like this directly address the call to action presented in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). PMA Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal 7 on category management specifically directs agencies to “leverage common contracts and best practices to drive savings and efficiencies.”

We Appreciate our Partners

I would like to thank the Air Force for the confidence they placed in us as we formally acknowledged this agreement.

We value our continuing partnership with the Air Force and their commitment to using GSA. We are looking forward to working together to build a world-class solution for purchasing IT products efficiently, securely, and at competitive prices.

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

From Left: Mary Davie, Deputy Commissioner, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service; William E. Marion II, Deputy Chief, Information Dominance and Deputy Chief Information Officer, USAF; Kay T. Ely, Assistant Commissioner, GSA’s Office of Information Technology Category; Mr. Richard W. Lombardi, Deputy Under Secretary of the USAF; Brigadier General Cameron G. Holt, USAF

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