Epping Forest District Council has become the first Council in Essex to introduce a new and more secure way of transferring data. The GCSx Connection (Government Connect Secure Extranet) is a secure private wide area network (WAN), which enables secure interactions between connected Local Authorities and organisations.
GCSx is connected to the Government Secure Intranet (GSI), which also enables secure interactions between Local Authorities, Central Government departments and national bodies. It provides a range of connectivity options to enable access to the GSI network and its hosted services without using the Internet or any other public networks.
The main benefits of GCSx are that it provides an accredited, managed network to connect all English, Welsh and Scottish Local Authorities, Central Government, the Police National Network (PNN), the NHS and the criminal justice communities, into a trusted secure community. A secure email service is provided and it enables secure data sharing.
This system is currently used by Benefits staff to communicate restricted data securely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, it is envisaged that the network will have wider benefits for other departments once it matures.
To obtain connectivity to the GCSx Epping Forest District Council has had to adhere to strict ICT security best practice and guidelines. Although it is not totally impossible for data not to be lost, the Council has done all that can be asked of it to secure data with the technology currently available.
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