A high security Intranet for transporting extra sensitive emails and policy documents has been ordered by the UK government.
The government already has a secure IP based network, called Government Secure Intranet (GSI), announced in April and used by 25,000 government workers.
But while GSI was touted as a secure, reliable network, the government now plans to equip itself with an even more secure system, dubbed xGSI, for the transport of confidential information.
GSI is part of the government's drive towards creating a paperless office. The government has pledged to use the Internet and ecommerce for 25 per cent of its procedures by 2002.
The premium rate network will use encryption to secure email, file transfer, online directory and Web browsing activities by government workers. Thirteen government departments including the DTI, the Treasury and Whitehall, have already expressed interest in using xGSI.
Usage of xGSI is unlikely to be as high as that of GSI, because it targets a niche sector, said Simon Bearne, GSI product manager at Cable & Wireless, which provides the infrastructure for GSI and xGSI under a contract with the government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency.
"With GSI you have about 25,000 end users on now and it's growing rapidly. xGSI doesn't grow, but allows a key subset of users to pass confidential information," said Bearne. GSI is expected to have 50,000 to 75,000 users by next March, according to Bearne.
Parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office, Peter Kilfoyle, said xGSI will enable more highly classified networks to connect to the existing Intranet. This will be "a major breakthrough in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of how departments and agencies can work together", he added.
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