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Google aims for higher government security accreditation for Apps

Cloud giant explores possibility of getting IL2 accreditation

Google is looking to gain higher security accreditations that would enable wider use of Google Apps by the UK government.

It was recently revealed that Google Apps is currently being used by the Cabinet Office's Government Digital Services (GDS).

The government applies a Business Impact Level (IL) classification to ICT suppliers to indicate the security level of their services. IL0 (protected) is the lowest level of security, while IL6 (top secret) is the highest. IL2 is often the minimum requirement for government services, for example, it is the minimum requirement for providers biddings for network contracts.

However, the Cabinet Office has confirmed that GDS only uses Google Apps and Google Docs at IL0, which it said is relevant to the majority of its work.

"If a higher security level is required, the staff can access products that have been given a relevant higher security level," a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said.

Google has a number of security certifications for its Google Apps, including SSAE 16 Type II and its international counterpart ISAE 3402 Type II. The apps are also certified by the US government's Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

The company said that it is exploring a number of possible, additional, security certifications, including IL2 accreditation.

"Certifications help communicate certain assurances to customers, but they only tell part of the story. Most were not developed with the cloud infrastructure in mind.

"Google Apps has secured several important certifications while developing our own security technology specific to cloud computing," a Google spokesperson said.

As part of the government's G-Cloud programme, its information assurance body, CESG, said it is also working on creating information assurance guidance for the overall assurance and accreditation process for G-Cloud suppliers.

The government expects assurance for the G-Cloud programme to be completed by next Friday, 10 February.

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