Networks First warns of lack of CoCo compliance for GCSx connection

Networks First, the provider of support services for network infrastructures, is warning local authorities that have missed the deadline for signing up to the Government’s Connect Secure Extranet (GCSx) not to panic! Help is available to rectify the problem.

The GCSx is the Wide Area Network (WAN) provided by Cable & Wireless, under contract to the Government. The aim is to provide robust and secure inter-connection for access to common applications and data sharing between the networks of Local Authorities, critical Government bodies, and other approved organisations. Critically, the GCSx and interconnected networks are approved to carry sensitive information, such as personal data and that classed as restricted. But to ensure the data is continually protected every user has to adhere to a strict Code of Connection or CoCo.

The deadline for signing up as compliant to the various security control measures listed in CoCo was 31st March 2009. The requirements cover all areas of ICT security, with some recommended and others mandatory. One of the main challenges affecting local authorities is the mandate that remote workers accessing the networks must authenticate strongly, using a two-factor process.

Working with its partners, Networks First is currently advising authorities in choosing the right blend of authenticators for their users’ needs. The network support services provider can also provide fully managed deployments, including the key role of integrating a new security system with numerous access technologies from many different vendors, including Cisco and Check Point.

Peter Titmus, Managing Director, Networks First, explains: “As a service provider with proven skills in core aspects of networking, we have a long history of working with RSA, the leading technology provider offering a 2-factor authentication system, SecurID. Authorities need to start taking a more comprehensive approach to security and GCSx is hopefully going to be the catalyst for this.”