What GSA’s Decision to End the ACES Digital Certificate Program Means for You

By Global Servies on Friday October 12, 2018 

According to the GSA, a digital certificate is “an electronic credential that: asserts the identity of an individual, enables eOffer/eMod to verify the identity of the individual entering the system and signing documents, encrypt or decrypt data to ensure that it is securely transmitted, [creates] a packet of information that is stored on a web browser or on a token , [and] create[s] digital signatures which are verifiable” (GSA, 2018). As of August 2018, GSA has required all certification authorities to stop issuing digital certificates under the Access Certificates for Electronic Services (ACES) program. Many Schedule applicants/holders rely on these certificates to access eOffer/eMod. In this post, we’ll discuss what this change requires and take a look at other options to replace ACES.

Do I still need a digital certificate to access eOffer/eMod?

YES. A digital certificate is still required; the available options are discussed below.

Can I still purchase an ACES digital certificate?

YES. Existing valid ACES certificates will be supported through 2020.

Can I still use my existing ACES digital certificate?

YES. Existing valid ACES certificates will be supported through 2020.

What will replace ACES?

IdenTrust offers two options, either of which can be used for GSA Schedule purposes. These are the IdenTrust Global Common (IGC) certificate and the DoD External Certification Authority (ECA) certificate. The differences between and requirements for the two are outlined here. IdenTrust also provides a Selection Wizard to help you determine which of the options will better suit your intended uses.

What if I need a digital certificate for non-Federal purposes (e.g., for access to secure State and Local websites)?

This support page discusses these cases and provides Selection Wizards to help you determine which available digital certificate will work for your needs.

Do you have questions about the ACES digital certificate program, digital certificates in general, or any other aspect of obtaining and maintaining a GSA Schedule? Come explore some ways we can help you enhance your contracts today!