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By Bruce Sussman
Tue | Aug 20, 2019 | 7:38 AM PDT

This one feels like getting to the gate at the airport when the door to the jetway is already closed.

You can see your flight, you just can't get there.

Cybersecurity company is 90 seconds too late with contract

IT integrator and cybersecurity company Criterion Systems does a lot of business with the U.S. federal government.

But it lost out on a significant cybersecurity operations contract because it submitted the contract 90 seconds after the deadline.

The stated deadline for submission to the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was November 21, 2018, at 5 p.m. ET. 

However, court documents show:

"... the agency advised Criterion that the receipt time stamp for its revised quotation was 5:01:30 ET on November 21, 2018."

In other words, it was a minute and a half too late to be accepted.

The company suggested it may have been a technology issue of some sort.

"Prior to rejecting Criterion's quotation, the agency asked Criterion whether it could provide any evidence that the quotation was timely submitted... in response, Criterion stated that it believed that it had uploaded the quotation in a timely manner but that there 'may have been latency issues' that caused the quotation to be stamped as received at 5:01 p.m."

The agency did not buy that explanation, and it rejected the company's proposal.

Criterion appeals government decision on cybersecurity services

Criterion Systems appealed the rejection of its cybersecurity services contract with a couple of arguments, but the General Accounting Office denied that protest earlier this year. Read and download that decision here.

And this week, a U.S. federal claims court rejected the protest as well.

So if you're an InfoSec vendor working with the federal government, make a note of this one to the team that submits proposals.

If not, the value of your proposed contract could be gone in 90 seconds.