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UK gov flies IT security kitemark

New quality award scheme

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The UK Government today unveiled a quality award scheme designed to ensure that users of off-the-shelf IT security products are buying a product that meets Government-approved standards. An encryption vendor won the first accreditation today.

The CSIA Claims Tested Mark scheme is primarily aimed at IT and information security managers across the public sector, but is also expected to serve as a useful guide to small and medium-sized businesses wanting to know their purchasing meets government's preferred standards.

The CSIA (Central Sponsor for Information Assurance) is a new Cabinet Office unit that works with partners in the public and private sectors, as well as its international counterparts, to help safeguard the nation's IT and telecommunications services.

According to Jim Murphy, the Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for e-government, the scheme will boost confidence in information security.

It also aims to benefit both vendors and users of information security products. According to the Cabinet Office, vendors stand to gain from the rapid approval process (approximately 20 days), low costs to apply for the Mark (comparative to schemes for high-end assurance products), and the marketing benefits that come with a Government-sponsored quality mark.

Buyers of off-the-shelf products and services can be assured that CCT Mark recipients will deliver what they claim after independent testing, and benefit from being able to make more informed purchasing choices, said the Cabinet Office.

The scheme was not planned to be commercially launched until 2006, but after a year in pilot phase the CSIA has recommended that the Mark go live now.

Encryption security firm BeCrypt, a supplier to the Government, became the first company to be awarded the Mark at an award ceremony in Birmingham today. This was for its Connect Protect product, a device access control solution designed to secure a desktop or laptop from data leakage through devices such as removable disk drives, printers and MP3 players.

A second firm, SecureWave, had two of its products awarded the CCT Mark at the same ceremony.

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