GAO: Contractors Unprepared for Cyber Threats

Earlier in the month, in a report to Congress, the Government Accountability Office and the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee, surveyed bid protests, suspensions and debarements of federal contractors.
 
Although the report, documented a continued downward trend, some analysts believe that a similar report next year will reflect a different picture, as the result of stream-lined processes and new enforcement initiatives.
 
The report, noted however, that the numbers of protests filed by contractors in fiscal 2019 is significantly down.
 
Although the report found  the contractors suspended or debarred by agencies in fiscal 2018 also dropped considerably, following a four-year downward trend. Some believe that there is little reason to expect a the trend to continue into 2020.
 
GAO's annual bid protest report to Congress shows an overall decrease in the number of cases filed as well as downward trends in nearly every other category. But the one area that didn't increase is the number of task or delivery order bid protests. GAO reported vendors filed 373 complaints last year, up from 356 in 2018 and 256 in 2017. 
 
Analysts of the report, expect and uptick in suspensions or debarements, urging agencies and industry to pay need to really pay attention to is the fine print in the new reports that shows an increase in cybersecurity compliance activities.
 
Most analysts surveying the reports and expected outloook, agree that the issue of cyber-security is important to national security. 
 
Post-report discussions, have focused in on changes to agency processes. Of note, is the increase of pre-notice letters -- which has almost tripled in use over the last decade and increased by 37 since 2016 -- shows agencies working to catch up with the issue of cyber breaches, while working to ensure contractors are given an opportunity to explain any cyber-security concerns.



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