News Feature | May 13, 2014

Government IT News For VARs — May 13, 2014

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Government IT News

In this week’s news, the General Services Administration (GSA) expands its contract program to nonfederal entities, the GSA facial recognition contract is awarded, and Heartbleed’s impact on Federal IT is discussed.

GSA Expands Contract Program To Nonfederal Entities

In an announcement released in April, the GSA confirms that, in an effort to ease disaster relief, the agency will be expanding the Federal Supply Schedules Program to nonfederal entities. The Washington Business Journal reports that the change will grant access to the organizations like the American National Red Cross and state and local governments, if their purchasing activities are based around disaster preparedness or response. Companies currently holding contracts are not obligated to accept orders by these qualifying organizations.

Animetrics Awarded GSA Facial Recognition Contract

Facial recognition API creator, Animetrics, has been awarded a GSA Schedule 70 contract, allowing it to provide “information technology equipments, software, and services to the U.S. government.” Biometrics Update reports that the company will provide leading-edge facial recognition and identity management software to the federal government, as well as to numerous state and local governments in the area of law enforcement.

Heartbleed In Federal IT

With Microsoft releasing a fix for Heartbleed vulnerabilities last week, it can feel like the security threat is a thing of the past. But FedTech Magazine reports that the federal government did not escape unscathed. Some independent government agencies were faced with the difficult choice of killing their business or not doing business at all as a result of the security threat. The OpenSSL vulnerability ultimately highlighted the importance of agnostic enterprise applications in federal IT, in addition to the importance of agency awareness of what exactly they’re running on their networks and how that relates to security threats.

Cloud Providers Benefit From Sharing Vulnerabilities

Deeper questions around the cloud and security information as shared between government agencies are posed in this piece from InformationWeek. Government agencies have an opportunity to derive a higher level look at threats by sharing and comparing information provided by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), the organization's security operations center (SOC), or several other industry threat feeds.

Government IT Talking Points

The White House’s report on Big Data, intended as a response to recent allegations against NSA surveillance, released last month, is drawing criticisms from some groups. The recommendations in the report align with the priorities of privacy advocates. The Hill reports on reactions to the report, and the pending Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Government IT Resource Center.