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HMG Security Policy Framework, PSN compliance and janusSEAL

The Government Protective Marking System made easy for users

Government Departments and Agencies in the United Kingdom (UK) must abide by the Security Policy Framework issued by the Cabinet Office.

A janusSEAL solution allows staff of Departments and Agencies to quickly and easily apply the UK's Government Protective Marking System to information assets such as email messages and Microsoft Office files.

 

What are Protective Markings and why are they useful?

SECRET stampA Protective Marking, as the name implies, is a marking on a document or piece of information which identifies the confidentiality requirements of the information. It also conveys those protective requirements to all those who handle it. Protective markings are also known as security classification labels.

It is the ease with which other people and (in the electronic information space) other IT systems can interpret and understand the protective marking that shows their benefit.

 

Her Majesty's Government mandates use of Protective Markings on information assets

The use of protective markings in the UK government is defined in UK Government Security Policy Framework (SPF) in which it is mandated that:

  1. Departments and Agencies must apply the [Government] Protective Marking System... (MR6)
  2. ...Assets must be clearly and conspicuously marked... (MR7)
  3. ...Only the originator or designated owner can protectively mark an asset... (MR7)

The Government Security Classification (GSC) is defined in the Framework as comprising the five security classifications, in ascending order of sensitivity

  • OFFICIAL
  • OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE
  • SECRET
  • TOP SECRET

For the purposes of confidentiality, these classifications can also be mapped to the Business Impact Levels (BILs) discussed in SP2.

How does janusSEAL help to achieve HMG SPF compliance?

A simple solution to comply the protective marking requirements of the HMG Security Policy Framework is to:

  • deploy janusSEAL for Outlook  and janusSEAL Documents software to all staff desktops in the Department or Agency
  • configure all staff desktops using the pre-made configuration templates based on the UK Government Security Classification

In more advanced deployments the Department or Agency would also use other janusSEAL products and janusNET's expert knowledge to enable protective marking capability across a wider range of email clients and devices, such as:

  • deploy janusSEAL for Outlook Web App to all Microsoft Exchange servers in the Department or Agency with Outlook Web App (OWA) enabled; this will allow senders to protectively mark emails sent from any web browser using the OWA system.
  • control the email content being sent to mobile devices based on the message sensitivity with janusGATE Mobile; or
  • use janusSEAL Mobile App to classify messages with no additional software required.

Deploying janusSEAL in these ways makes it easy to comply with the protective marking requirements of HMG SPF by:

  1. HMG SPF MR6 - ...must apply the Protective Marking system...
    janusSEAL is easily configured to use the GSC and ensures electronic information assets such as e-mail messages, meeting requests, assigned tasks and Microsoft Office files have protective markings. janusSEAL is supplied with a pre-made configuration template which complies with the Government Security Classification; it is also available for download from our forums area.
    UK-Protective-Markings
    janusSEAL for Outlook's On Send Classification Dialog prompting the sender to apply a security classification to the message. janusSEAL for Outlook has been configured with the 'factory supplied' GSC security classification schema. The sender has hovered their mouse over the RESTRICTED security classification so janusSEAL is showing the (configurable) tooltip for this classification.
     
  2. HMG SPF MR7 - Assets must be clearly and conspicuously marked.
    janusSEAL has numerous configuration settings about where and how to apply protective markings. janusSEAL can put the markings in message header fields, subject lines, at the start and end of the message body, in Office file fields and in the text, header, footer and watermark areas. The configuration settings also let you use a variety of string tokens related to the security classification and you can also control the font, formatting and paragraph alignment for markings in the message body.
     
  3. HMG SPF MR7 - Only originator...can protectively mark an asset.
    janusSEAL relies on the notion that the person sending the message is the person best able to specify its sensitivity in the form of a security classification. That is why the sender is always forced to select a security classification.
    With Office files there can be numerous authors of the file over its lifetime. janusSEAL allows each to be the originator but any changes in the security classification are audited.

Find out more

Read the UK Government Security Classification (including CoCo) Application Brief, contact us by calling 020 3318 0785  to discuss your Protective Marking priorities.