Proposed E-Sign Requirement Speeds Up Contract Process
In recent months the GSA has placed significance on the importance of having a digital certificate. A digital certificate is essentially a way of verifying an individual’s identity and securing internet transmissions. It reassures the parties involved in the transmission, as it creates verifiable digital signatures and enables secure transmissions of data through encryption and decryption. The GSA desires its contractors to have these digital certificates because of added security and verification benefits. Some GSA schedules already require a digital certificate to access the applications in the online eOffer/eMod system. With the increased prominence and use of digital certificates, it is important to understand what they are, why they are important, and how to obtain them.
Obtaining a digital certificate is done through an online process with a company such as IdenTrust and Operational Research Consultants. The certificate can take up to two weeks to be issued after all of the necessary paperwork is completed. If you already have a digital certificate, make sure that it is up to date. Every two years the digital certificates must be updated. Expired digital certificates will cause delays in your online contracting processes.
Recently, GSA proposed that vendors must e-sign all modifications made to GSA schedules. If the modifications are approved, contractors will be able to provide the most recent products and services to the federal government in an even faster way. eMod encourages Rapid Action Modification (RAM), which allows contracting officers to process administrative changes and eliminates requirement for contractor signature on the Standard Form 30, Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract (SF30). The new contract submission process will be faster, simplified and more structured. “Use of eMod will establish automated controls in the modification process that will ensure contract documentation is completed and approved by all required parties,” GSA wrote in the proposal. Benefits of the digital certificate requirement include: less of a labor intensive process, less exchanges of information, more secure, and added controls to prevent submission of incomplete requests.
Important requirements to know:
- GSA schedule contractors will be required to obtain a digital certificate.
- Contractors are required to use the eMod system for submitting, approving, and or rejecting contract modifications.
- Digital certificates will be valid for two years and cost $119 per issuance.
For more information on digital certificates and how to obtain them, read here!