Oct 07 2021

GSA to Roll Out New Federal Cloud Marketplace

The General Services Administration plans to launch a marketplace as a one-stop shop for federal agencies.

There will soon be a new way to buy cloud services across the federal government.

The General Services Administration is on the cusp of unveiling a plan for a new governmentwide framework and marketplace for cloud solutions, designed to be a one-stop shop for agencies looking to deploy commercial Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service offerings.

Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category in the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said on Sept. 16 during an FCW webinar that a request for information on the marketplace is expected to be released early in fiscal year 2022, which began Oct. 1.

“We’re looking at how we put together a cloud marketplace that then becomes a buying platform for agencies,” Stanton said, according to FCW. “We want to put together not just a framework, but a market contractual vehicle that will allow our agencies to buy these core cloud services that we’re seeing them need more and more.”

In addition to continuing to migrate legacy applications to cloud architectures, President Joe Biden’s May 12 cybersecurity executive order requires agencies to adopt zero-trust security architectures that make use of secure cloud services.

A New Marketplace to Simplify Cloud Procurement

The new GSA marketplace would provide agencies with both post-award contract management tools and professional IT services, FCW reports. It would also serve to set a “foundational set of requirements” to ensure government cloud services meet baseline security and adhere to guidance from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), Stanton said.

Agencies could, in theory, use the new marketplace as a single purchasing platform for cloud services, as well as to get access to IT professional services to maintain their cloud platforms.

“We’ve learned a couple of things,” Stanton said, according to MeriTalk. “We’ve learned that there is a whole host of more governance that agencies need in order to manage their cloud services. We know that there are professional IT services that agencies need when they buy the licenses.”

“So, instead of having to put do those separately or each agency look into the necessary requirements, or even having to build in their own baseline security requirements for FedRAMP, we’re looking at what was sort of that foundational set of requirements,” Stanton added.

The idea is to streamline the entire cloud procurement process for agencies. Currently, FedScoop reports, “GSA uses the cloud and cloud-related IT professional services special item number (SIN) 518210C as a vehicle for multiple-award procurements. The contract type can be used to acquire cloud computing services, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”

Stanton said that the GSA keeps “hearing that agencies have to go multiple places to buy cloud,” according to FCW. “We decided it was time to take the next step.”

The RFI will gather input from industry stakeholders, which, Stanton said, “helps us understand how we need to make decisions.”

RELATED: How can agencies benefit from a cloud security posture assessment?

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