One of the first contracts featuring highly secure access has been awarded under the U.K. government's Public Services Network (PSN) Connectivity framework. The PSN attempts to provide a single unified comms standard for all the country's public sector networks.
Specifically, the U.K. end of French aerospace, transport, defense and IT firm Thales has been tapped to provide secure network connectivity services to The Insolvency Service, a government agency that helps people through the process of bankruptcy or radical financial restructuring. (The latest figures show that the service helped about 25,000 clients in the first three months of 2013.)
Thales, whose 2012 sales were in the order of £1.3 billion ($1.9 billion), will supply secure WAN services across all the service's 35 sites, including its head and regional offices and associated data centers, in a five-year deal. No contract size has so far been released.
"Thales has invested heavily in developing our PSN offers over the past twelve months," said Thales' British VP for security and consulting Sam Keayes. "Securing this contract has given us a good foundation to win future business."
[ Is the U.K.'s tax collection system in need of a security overhaul? Read British Tax Authority Criticized On Data Handling. ]
The vendor will also be responsible for the migration of the existing Insolvency Service network onto the new secure communications network, along with running associated support services for its 2,100-strong workforce.
The deal is noteworthy not only for its PSN connection, but also for its high level of security: Impact Level 3, one of the highest classifications in British public ICT.
PSN, which originates back to 2005, was solidified in June 2012 when a core set of early suppliers, including Thales, were identified. In addition to providing one network enabling British civil servants, NHS staff and other public sector workers to better share services and collaborate, the initiative is intended to cut costs and encourage greater adoption of cloud services.