The federal government’s on-line vendor database, the System for Award Management (SAM), is temporarily shut down for purposes of accepting new registrations and updating existing vendor registrations.
The General Services Administration (GSA), SAM’s administrator, says that vendor registration in SAM will again be available on Monday morning, March 25, 2013.
GSA gave notice of this temporary suspension of access to vendor records on SAM’s home page at https://www.sam.gov. In a notice posted there, GSA said:
- “Some components of SAM.gov are temporarily unavailable. Users will not be able to register a new entity or update an entity record until Entity Management is available at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 25. GSA currently is strengthening security measures to protect user information. The security of SAM registrants’ information is a top priority for the agency and we will continue to ensure the system remains secure.”
On March 15, 2013, GSA notified, via email entitled “SAM Security Incident,” all existing SAM registrants of a potential security breach. In that notice, GSA told vendors:
- “The General Services Administration (GSA) recently has identified a security vulnerability in the System for Award Management (SAM), which is part of the cross-government Integrated Award Environment (IAE) managed by GSA.
- “Registered SAM users with entity administrator rights and delegated entity registration rights had the ability to view any entity’s registration information, including both public and non-public data at all sensitivity levels.
- “Immediately after the vulnerability was identified, GSA implemented a software patch to close this exposure. As a precaution, GSA is taking proactive steps to protect and inform SAM users.
- “The data contained identifying information including names, taxpayer identification numbers (TINs), marketing partner information numbers and bank account information. As a result, information identifiable with your entity registered in SAM was potentially viewable to others.
- “Registrants using their social security numbers instead of a TIN for purposes of doing business with the federal government may be at greater risk for potential identity theft. These registrants will receive a separate email communication regarding credit monitoring resources available to them at no charge.
- “In the meantime, we wanted you to be aware of certain steps that all SAM users may want to take to protect against identity theft and financial loss.
- “Specific information is available at www.gsa.gov/samsecurity. If you would like additional background or have questions, you may call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET), Monday-Friday starting Monday, March 18. We recommend that you monitor your bank accounts and notify your financial institution immediately if you find any discrepancies.
- “We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this situation may cause. We believe it is important for you to be fully informed of any potential risk resulting from this situation. The security of your information is a critical priority to this agency and we are working to ensure the system remains secure. We will keep you apprised of any further developments.”
GSA’s March 15th email to vendors was signed by Amanda Fredriksen, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Integrated Award Environment.
There have been system implementation issues associated with SAM ever since its launch in July 2012. Counselors with the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) continue to make themselves available to vendors encountering SAM registration problems. We have identified a number of remedies to assist Georgia businesses in the registration pr0cess. For vendors located outside the state of Georgia, please be advised that there are procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs) located across the country who stand ready to assist businesses with SAM and other government contracting issues. To find the PTAC nearest you, please visit: http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.
For more background on SAM implementation, please visit: http://gtpac.org/tag/sam/