Gateway to innovation
Agencies tap IT Schedule 70 for cloud, mobility, cybersecurity, and other emerging technology needs
Federal agencies are increasingly turning to the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) IT Schedule 70 Programs to address their technology requirements and comply with government mandates in areas such as cloud computing, data center consolidation, mobile computing, sustainability, and cybersecurity. Since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the “25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management” in December 2010, GSA and IT Schedule 70 officials have developed numerous programs and technology offerings to help agencies meet the plan’s deadlines and goals.
“IT Schedule 70 addresses the OMB 25-point plan in many different ways,” said Dan Baskin, Senior Program Manager for IT Schedule 70. These include IT Schedule 70 industry partners who participate in a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) that enables agencies to purchase infrastructure services through the cloud, as well as vendors who offer a wide variety of data center services and solutions.
“A lot of agencies think of IT Schedule 70 as a products-driven Schedule, but we are really a solutions-based Schedule,” Baskin said. “There are not many things in the IT environment that agencies can’t get from Schedule 70.”
Supporting Cloud Migrations
Agencies can gain access to GSA and IT Schedule 70 cloud services through GSA’s “Apps.gov” website, which provides one-stop shopping for cloud applications and services. For example, the Schedule 70 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) BPA for cloud-based infrastructure provides cloud storage, virtual machines, and web hosting services that are rapidly scalable, secure, and accessible over the Internet. In addition, agencies pay only for the services they use. “The value of Apps.gov is that agencies can find applications and services from Schedule 70 vendors that have been pre-approved and certified as compliant with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA),” Baskin said.
OMB’s 25 point plan calls for closing of at least 800 federal data centers by 2015, and so agencies are using IT Schedule 70 to meet the consolidation mandate. Vendors, both large and small, can provide professional services to help with planning, such as deciding how to consolidate data centers and whether to migrate specific applications and services from a local data center to a cloud provider, Baskin said.
“A lot of agencies think of IT Schedule 70 as a products-driven Schedule, but we are really a solutions-based Schedule. There are not many things in the IT environment that agencies can’t get from Schedule 70.” Dan Baskin, Senior Program Manager for IT Schedule 70
Although many agencies have begun cloud migrations (e-mail being the most popular candidate, Baskin said), some agencies are waiting for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) to launch its services in the third quarter of 2012. The GSA-run FedRAMP is a government-wide program to provide a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Once FedRAMP is operational, agencies will have two years to ensure that their cloud services meet FedRAMP requirements. Baskin said agencies can spend more than $100,000 to certify their new cloud data center vendors, so FedRAMP will save them money as well as provide needed security certification.
GSA is helping agencies address their requirements for mobile computing and workforce modernization through the new Wireless Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI), which includes a BPA based on IT Schedule 70. The Wireless FSSI BPA will allow federal agencies to buy cellular services and devices at discounted prices, while the program also supports a governmentwide wireless center of excellence. GSA is currently evaluating proposals for the five-year BPA valued at $3 billion.
GSA officials received strong input from federal agencies as they created the BPA, said David Peters, a GSA Program Manager for Mobility. “Agencies were extremely active in defining their baseline business, technical, and management requirements,” Peters said.
The Wireless FSSI program will help agencies address one of their chief challenges: a fragmented approach to acquiring and managing wireless assets. For example, the BPA will enable a business portal interface and centralized program management to help agencies track inventory. Overall, agencies will be able to implement an integrated, enterprise approach that centralizes—and makes more efficient—the acquisition, operations, security, and management of wireless assets, Peters said.
The Wireless FSSI and other IT Schedule 70 contracts can provide products and services that make federal work locations more efficient by helping the worker be more mobile, said Bill Lewis, a GSA Program Manager for Workplace Modernization. “IT Schedule 70 provides access to suppliers of the IT devices, infrastructure, and software that are essential in ensuring that we use our federal workplaces efficiently. If we can enable workers to be more mobile, our real estate costs can be significantly reduced. ” he said.
Looking ahead, GSA officials intend to keep IT Schedule 70 current with the trends around mobile computing. For example, the number of different operating systems used by federal agencies is starting to multiply; and the demand for mobile applications is growing more pronounced, as is the shift toward Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) by the federal workforce.
“IT Schedule 70 provides access to suppliers of the IT devices, infrastructure, and software that are essential in ensuring that we use our federal workplaces efficiently.” Bill Lewis, a GSA Program Manager for Workplace Modernization
“Employees are accessing their e-mail and other federal applications every day, whether it’s from their personal computers at home, tablets, or smart phone devices,” Peters said. “The reality is that Bring Your Own Device is here, and so we need to help agencies manage it.”
As the cybersecurity challenge grows increasingly complex, IT Schedule 70 has expanded its offerings to help agencies combat cyber threats. Contract holders offer a wide spectrum of cybersecurity solutions and professional services, such as access management, identity management, security systems, analysis of physical and network security, HSPD-12 identity solutions, and compliance support.
GSA also supports the cybersecurity needs of IT Schedule 70 customers with SmartBUY for cybersecurity, which has software that is compliant with both FISMA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—and thus approved for government use. “We are helping our businesses get their software certified, either through a NIST laboratory, FedRAMP, or other programs, so agencies don’t have to worry whether a product or solution is compliant with federal cybersecurity requirements,” Baskin said.
GSA provides agencies with streamlined access to IT Schedule 70 vendors offering sustainability solutions through the GSA Advantage!® website, which has a link to GSA’s “Environmental Program” aisle. Here agencies can browse GSA’s multiple award schedules for energy services, environmental advisory services, environmental compliance services, and more. In addition, GSA has created the Sustainable Facilities Tool to help agencies plan and implement sustainable buildings programs, and the website includes a Green Products Compilation showing products with designations such as Energy Star and EPEAT.
“The reality is that Bring Your Own Device is here, and so we need to help agencies manage it.” David Peters, a GSA Program Manager for Mobility
“GSA has a number of vehicles from which customers may purchase green goods, services, and supplies that can not only help agencies meet environmental mandates, but also improve resource and energy management and meet other goals such as disaster recovery and continuity of operations,” said Michael Morimoto, a GSA IT Specialist for Green Initiatives and Sustainability.
A Robust, Versatile Contract Vehicle
The fact that the administration and GSA are using IT Schedule 70 to address a wide range of emerging technology needs—through the IaaS BPA, Wireless FSSI, and other programs—demonstrates Schedule 70’s strong foundation of products and services and its ability to incorporate new technologies quickly, said Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement.
“IT Schedule 70 provides the flexibility, the competition, and the infrastructure for federal government to address evolving technologies such as cloud computing, mobile computing, and data center consolidation,” Waldron said. “It’s the strength of the vehicle that enables agencies to acquire and take advantage of cutting-edge solutions as they become available.”
IT Schedule 70 Contact Information
Helpline: (877) 446-IT70 (4870)