Details of new, souped-up digital service revealed
HM Revenue and Customs has published details of its new digital system for sharing and receiving large amounts of information with businesses, all which will be migrated to the updated platform by the end of next month.
The department’s newly launched Secure Data Exchange Service (SDES) replaces the incumbent Secure Electronic Transfer (SET) platform. The outgoing service has been in operation since 2010, and was launched to allow companies to share with HMRC tax and accounting data in bulk, without the need for CDs, tapes, and paper.
HMRC indicated that the news system will use “industry-standard” encryption tools: HTTPS for transfers made via web browsers; and TLS 1.2 protocols for automated transfers.
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“Files are always encrypted during transit or at rest,” said the department. “There’s no direct access to any files within SDES, meaning that even HMRC technical support teams can’t access files.”
Once files have been sent, they remain in the SDES system for 144 hours – six days – after which “they’re deleted for security purposes and can’t be recovered”, according to HMRC.
Prospective users of the SDES have the option to trial the service and ascertain their upload and download speeds by sending a test file.
To register for SDES, companies must call or email an HMRC support team, who will advise if the data that needs to be transferred is suitable for the service. To use SDES, organisations require a Government Gateway account. Individual users can be added via this account.
The service is not yet up and running, but is due to go live “soon”.
“If you currently use SET, you’ll be migrated over to SDES by the end of February 2018,” said the department. “HMRC will contact you with details about how and when you can migrate.”