Pentagon Spending on Vulnerable IT Highlights Need for Government Contractors to Educate Customers

Written on August 12, 2019

The Department of Defense spent $33M on COT’s IT with potentially significant security weaknesses, according to a recently released DOD IG report.  Printers, cameras and even seemingly well-known off-limits brands such as Lenovo laptops, were all purchased. The IG report focused on the damage done to the agency’s security, but another question is “Why does this happen?” Many contractors know the answer. Volumes of anecdotal evidence suggests that “buying cheap” is the prime driver for why the DOD, and other agencies, cut corners. The drive to get a bargain can be stronger than the mandate to buy secure, safe IT solutions. Companies selling these solutions need to show their customers the IG report, as well as easy to digest information on why an extra five or ten dollars per item up front can keep their networks safe, and keep the buyers out of the headlines. If more customers understand that the safe acquisition choice is also the secure IT choice, incidents such as those logged in the IG report would fall. Contractors should not assume that their customers know that certain items are prohibited for DOD acquisition, or that those that seem ok have security shortcomings. Making sure that your customer has that information, especially if it is on DOD letterhead, can help you help your customer make a smarter buying decision.

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