The General Services Administration is seeking governmentwide contracts with vendors who can ensure the security of federal employees’ smartphones and tablets and the applications that run on them, solicitation documents show.
The agency is looking for vendors with mobile device management and mobile applications management tools that agencies can tack onto existing governmentwide contracting vehicles, according to the request for technical capabilities document initially posted Feb. 1.
MDM and MAM tools are broadly focused on ensuring government information employees keep or access on their smartphones and tablets doesn’t fall into the hands of non-employees who either hack into the devices or pick up a device that’s lost or stolen. The tools typically allow agency information technology shops to spot strange usage patterns and to remotely wipe any government information from a suspect device.
The GSA request is part of a governmentwide push to lower the price government pays for mobile and wireless services by buying those services in larger bundles, including at an agency-wide or multi-agency level.
The first part of this initiative, which stems from the May 2012 federal digital strategy, focused on bulk buying wireless telephone service. That program suffered a setback in September when the Comptroller General’s office upheld a protest from Verizon.
The wireless provider argued the government sought contract terms that are not common in commercial contracts such as allowing agencies to pool cellphone minutes to avoid overage charges and to turn off international roaming charges for federal customers working near the Mexican and Canadian borders.
The Comptroller General’s decision isn’t binding on GSA. The government spends roughly $1.2 billion annually on mobile and wireless services, according to the digital strategy.