The Cabinet Office has developed a new encryption service to enable the most sensitive information to be shared over the expanding Public Services Network.
The Inter Provider Encryption Domain (IPED) has been developed in partnership with leading industry specialists. IPED allows "RESTRICTED" information at Impact Level 3 (IL3) to be safely shared across the Public Services Network (PSN), said the Cabinet Office.
The PSN is designed to allow government departments and other public sector organisations to share services safely and work together more efficiently.
IPED builds on existing PSN services which currently operate at the lower security level of IL2 (PROTECT).
"The IPED encryption service will help extend the reach of the PSN to organisations that provide citizen-focused services and need to access information from areas like criminal justice and social services," said the Cabinet Office.
"Sharing this sort of information needs more encryption and identity protection than the agreed PSN standards in use across the public sector. Making IL3 PSN services available will extend and speed up the growth of the PSN so that departments can work together more effectively," it said.
In all, said the Cabinet Office, 588 public sector organisations are currently transitioning from the old GSi/GCSX Government Secure Network infrastructure to the new PSN network.
The first suppliers of IPED-enabled IL3 PSN services are BT and Vodafone. Both have achieved IPED PSN certification.
The IPED offering will eventually consist of services from at least six PSN-compliant service providers, the Cabinet Office said.