Looking Down from the Cloud

Cloud.gov offers federal agencies one-stop access to a secure platform for web application development. Since its inception three years ago, GSA has managed the back-end server infrastructure; now they want to come down off the cloud. GSA is looking for a vendor to support the platform, which in turn offers a platform support to other agencies.

A RFI has been released to gather information from industry about the best means to support the cloud.gov system.

The current cloud.gov product offers agencies three tiers of service:

  • a free “sandbox” platform to experiment with fresh ideas;
  • a “prototyping” backend platform for $1,250 a month per office or program; and
  • a full “production” platform, where apps can be pushed out to users.

The latter offering includes an authority to operate—a verified cybersecurity posture—at a low level for $1,667 a month and at the moderate level for $7,500 a month.

The RFI lists 14 specific tasks the vendor will be asked to perform, including maintaining the front- and back-end infrastructure, using agile methods to develop and deploy code, monitoring GitHub pull requests and fixing issues, and improving the site’s automated monitoring and alert system for identifying operational failures and potential security issues.

The contract will be awarded quickly with a start date of October 2019 and options to extend through October 2020.

In a twist, the RFI template for Cloud.gov itself rests in the cloud. Contracting officers posted the RFI as a Google doc survey with just nine questions for respondents. Responses are due by 4 p.m. Nov. 20.

If you need help pulling together your responses, give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

Minimizing Minimum Order Mishaps

To improve customer experience associated with Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ), GSAAdvantage! now notifies agencies when their orders don’t meet MOQ requirements. If an item entered into a shopping cart is below the applicable MOQ, a note appears saying:

“The items from VENDOR fall below the contract Minimum Order of $____.  In order to purchase this item, you have three options:

  1. Increase the quantity of the item.
  2. Shop for additional items under CONTRACT to satisfy the contract minimum. (Contains a hyperlink to show available items from the relevant contract)
  3. Investigate if another vendor offers the item with a lower contract minimum order (Contains a hyperlink to the original product detail page). Note that MOQ is sortable (e.g. lowest to highest MOQ).”

Aside from helping agencies avoid incorrect orders, this will work in favor of contractors — no more having to decline an order that you’re not supposed to decline due to its being ordered from an executive agency.

If you have questions, we can help! Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

New Schedule 70 SIN: wheee!

The relatively new Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Tools SIN (132-44 on IT Schedule 70) provides agencies with easier access to a government-wide set of information security continuous monitoring (ISCM) tools. This SIN was created to make it easier for agencies to strengthen their networks, be aware of  who is on their network, and what is happening there. Of course, the main goal is to keep their data protected.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) vets all products on the CDM Tools SIN through a two-step process. Products are first added to a DHS CDM approved products list (APL), and then added to the CDM Tools SIN. 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 product from SIN 132-44.

Five subcategories under CDM include the following:

  • managing what is on the network;
  • managing who is on the network;
  • managing network protection;
  • managing events/incidents and what is happening on the network; and
  • emerging tools and technology.

Agencies can order from the GSA eLibrary’s CDM Tools page, and new vendors/products are added monthly.

If you have questions about getting your product listed with GSA’s CDM  SIN, give us a call at 301-913-5000.

TSA Gets FAST (in One Way At Least)

TSA plans to use its Fast Agile Scalable Teams (FAST) procurement program to acquire customized software and to bring legacy systems up to date. The agency will compile a list of tech companies to create the new software applications.

Prime vendors selected under the BPA will break large projects into smaller chunks, a great opportunity for smaller companies to develop relationships with both larger tech companies and agency contracting officers. Building and maintaining a suite of enterprise-wide software applications will take time and personnel.

The BPA will cover multiple awardees, including two statements of work focused on supporting operations and enterprise-wide systems. TSA will select other teams to maintain “mission essential systems,” create and implement a data management platform, and build new software to meet the agency’s changing needs.

FAST leaves the door open for small businesses to develop automation tools, coach teams in agile methodology, and perform an array of other functions.

Interested in working with TSA? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

Alert! Alert! AI Watching Your GSA Schedule Contract!

There seems to be a shortcoming in the acquisition oversight process. GSA is trying to fix it using artificial intelligence.

For the past 20 years, agencies found it tough to include Section 508 accessibility requirements in their contracts. GSA was unable to guarantee those contract clauses were in the original solicitations, but with AI and machine learning tools, they plan to automate the oversight process. An earlier test showed a 95 percent success rate in alerting agencies missing 508 requirements. GSA plans to move from test to production phase very soon.

Not sure if you are missing 508 requirements in your contract or have questions? Give us a call at 301-913-5000 and we can help you figure it out.