Government on the lookout for ‘Secret hosting providers’

The Rosa digital platform used by government entities around the globe to access and share highly classified information is seeking to appoint commercial partners to support the hosting of data

Government is looking to engage with “Secret hosting providers” to help support a global IT system through which officials can access highly classified information.

First launched in 2018, the Rosa IT system was created to provide a service through which registered users in settings such as embassies, diplomatic missions, and nuclear power facilities can securely access information classified at Secret level. This is the middle of government’s three tiers of security classifications, and is applied to “very sensitive information that justifies heightened protective measures to defend against determined and highly capable threat actors [and] where compromise could seriously damage military capabilities, international relations or the investigation of serious organised crime”.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – which houses the Rosa Service Organisation, a specially created unit to manage the platform – has published a procurement notice inviting bids from tech providers that could help support Rosa’s operation by hosting key software tools. The chosen firm most offer technology compatible with the Secret-level data service.

“FCDO Services… invites tenders from Secret hosting providers,” the notice. “The successful hosting supplier will provide a solution enabling the authority to host a standard enterprise asset management solution the supplier will support the authority and any FCDO Services third-party supplier chosen with system configuration required to adopt the new system. This solution must include connectivity with Rosa enabling authority staff to access the EAM solution using Rosa terminals across the world.”

Suppliers wishing to bid for the contract – of unspecified value – have until 25 July to do so. The FDCO experts to enter into an initial two-year agreement with the winning firm in November.

The delivery of Rosa was led by the Cabinet Office in a six-year project costing £126.5m, according to government data. Since its launch, the network – and the thousands of desktop and laptop computers it includes – have been managed on behalf of the Cabinet Office by the FCDO-based unit created for the purpose.

Sam Trendall

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