Welcome to our “Government Cybersecurity” series of blogs! These posts emphasize important cybersecurity news, information, and threats relevant to government and educational organizations. Generally, this series will focus more on local and state news, but the topics should be applicable to all forms of public institution.
How Local Governments Can Use the GSA Schedule to Improve IT and Cybersecurity
Local governments have been faced with a growing problem. Cybercriminals are focusing greater and greater efforts into wreaking havoc within the nation’s most vulnerable systems. Operationally, few organizations have the stringent requirements that are placed on local government and educational institutions. Public organizations are an extension of the community and an implicit trust is established between government leadership and those interacting with government entities. When a cyberattack devastates a city, state, or educational institution, the entire nation is a victim. Investing in government cybersecurity services will enable dramatically improved detection, prevention, and response for cybercriminal incidents. These vital services can be easily obtained via the GSA’s acquisition solutions.
What is GSA and Cooperative Purchasing?
Purchasing government cybersecurity services via the Open Market can be a cumbersome process. State and federal entities have formed a wide array of purchasing arrangements to help ease the burden associated with obtaining new government services. The GSA’s acquisition solutions include a component called MAS (Multiple Award Schedule). This consolidated list of offerings contains supplies and services that can be purchased directly, enabling easier acquisition and pre-negotiated pricing. By visiting the GSA eBuy website (linked below), offerings with full pricing can be viewed. This even extends to labor categories for specialized services, allowing outsourced labor at a predefined rate. A special component of certain schedules is the capability to participate in Cooperative Purchasing. Cooperative Purchasing enables services or supplies to be purchased directly by state, local, and educational institutions.
IT and Cybersecurity on the GSA Schedule
The need for managed cybersecurity and IT services has never been greater. Multiple economic and social factors make hiring experienced security personnel an unrealistic proposition. By utilizing the MAS Information Technology, public organizations are able to obtain IT and cybersecurity services. In order to view these available services, visit the website https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/. Services located within this schedule are pre-negotiated, compliant, and extensive. By utilizing the Special Item Number (SIN) system, purchasers are able to sort the available services by category. The IT Professional Services SIN covers a wide range of IT services that can be purchased via the predetermined rates available online. The relevant SINs for cybersecurity and IT are outlined below.
What Services do Public Organizations Need?
Determining the issues facing a government body can be a difficult proposition. Compliance requirements, conflicting staff perceptions, and a changing threat landscape ensure that most organizations are playing catch-up more often than not. Now that a list of easy-to-purchase and relevant services has been established, a roadmap for execution is necessary. Generally, any organization will benefit from starting with an assessment by certified auditors to determine Information Technology gaps and Cybersecurity risks within the environment. By utilizing a GSA-listed IT Auditor, organizations can purchase an assessment without the need for a costly open-market engagement. The rates are all available online and shopping is encouraged within the system. Once an audit has been completed, the gaps revealed within the results should be resolved by utilizing relevant services within the IT MAS or via another government purchasing vehicle. By staying within the GSA MAS ecosystem, public acquisitions can be completed at a rapid pace and an organization’s posture can be dramatically improved.
Improved IT and Cybersecurity – Cataloged and Pre-Negotiated
All government operational leadership should consider utilizing a pre-negotiated GSA service in order to improve IT operations and cybersecurity. A large array of private organizations are actively attempting to prevent attacks that devastate local and state operations. The attackers have become experts at finding and exploiting vulnerabilities that could once be safely ignored. Check out the links below to some of the relevant GSA informational and purchasing pages. As always, feel free to contact our team for any questions regarding GSA purchasing!
Scarlett Cybersecurity GSA Contract – Our GSA Contract with Pricing and Labor Categories Included
MAS Information Technology – Purchasing information and explanations of the MAS system
GSA Advantage – Online Shopping and Ordering System
GSA eBuy System - FAR compliant purchasing platform
IT Professional Services - (SIN) 132-51 (legacy) / 54151S (new)
Cloud and Cloud-Related IT Professional Services - (SIN) 132-40 (legacy) / 518210C (new)