Government issues edict instructing public bodies to move email and websites to gov.uk and other new domains
Public-sector bodies still using .gsi email and website addresses have less than 18 months to migrate to newer domains hosted in the public cloud.
Addresses from the gsi family of domains – which include gsi.gov.uk, gcsx.gov.uk, and gsx.gov.uk – are no longer issued by the Government Digital Service. These addresses have been replaced by gov.uk domains, as well as others including gov.scot, llyw.cymru, and gov.wales.
Any public-sector entities still using gsi domains for their organisation’s email communications have been instructed by the government to stop doing so by a deadline of March 2019. Any organisations outside the public sector with gsi email domains must replace them with a non-government alternative within the same timeframe.
The government believes that “the timescale should be achievable for most organisations”. Any bodies that have large or complex requirements that might make timely compliance challenging are asked to contact the Cabinet Office to discuss the matter in more detail.
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Public sector users must move to the newer public cloud-based email domains but “can use hosted or on-premises email services in the short term if you can’t move right away”, the government said.
The government said that email migration should be considered a priority, but the policy and deadline also applies to websites and any other web-based services using gsi domains.
“These domains no longer deliver value for money and our security needs can be delivered in better ways,” said the government. “This policy covers all services that use a gsi-family domain name, but you must prioritise your email. Other technologies that make email secure are now widely available at low cost on the public cloud, and are built into many of the messaging tools that people use every day.”
It added: “For other services, like websites, the first step is to change to your new domain name. You should also consider migrating it from the PSN to the internet.”
The Government Secure Intranet, or GSi, was launched in 1997 to enable public-sector organisations to securely communicate and share data online. The government first indicated its desire to move away from gsi domains back in 2010, when it announced that they would continue to be supported for no more than five years. That deadline may have come and gone, but this week’s policy update marks the first time that a definitive deadline for their retirement has been set.