UK Defence Forces

Company: ProtekCustomer: UK Defence ForcesSubmitted by: ProtekDate: October 2002Protek and BAE SYSTEMS have embarked upon a long-term collaboration to develop a modern secure messaging service that will deliver highly sensitive command orders to and from the UK defence forces.

There is no other environment where the deployment of ultra-secure messaging technology is as imperative as in the defence sector. When an intercepted message could put lives at stake or endanger national security, armed forces must be able to transmit command and control information to naval fleets and air forces supremely confident that these highly sensitive messages are impervious to hostile access or manipulation.When BAE SYSTEMS, the world’s third largest defence specialists, was contracted by the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to build a secure military messaging system for the British navy, it called upon technology and services from Protek’s Security Suite, to help deliver it. Following the initial development the two suppliers will again collaborate on the deployment of the solution across the entire UK armed forces.

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Replacing obsolete technology

Microsoft because of the users’ familiarity with such a popular interface, but no widely commercial product can deliver the level of security needed for the defence sector.

“He continued, “Protek’s reputation in delivering top-level military and defence messaging projects, from their Total Network Security suite, is well known, and their Enterprise Mail EM4 solution, based on Microsoft Outlook, already has a level of military-strength security built in. They were able to offer us the skill and expertise to develop their core solution further to meet the full-blown naval requirement.”

Meeting stringent security requirements

Following the initial evaluation, the MOD awarded BAE SYSTEMS the contract to replace the navy’s existing system with a completely new secure messaging service. The PASCO system as it has become known, developed by BAE SYSTEMS in collaboration with a number of suppliers including Protek, is essentially a backbone messaging system that enables the UK navy to send and receive operational messages. As well as providing a standard emailing and Web service, handling less strategic messages such as supply requisitions, the solution provides the most stringent encoding and security capability to handle highly confidential messages, such as an order to the fleet to attack.

When the PASCO system goes live in summer 2001 approximately 200 sites will connect into seven messaging nodes, five in the UK and two overseas. All 5,000 users of the system will access and control messages through the Protek desktop interface, developed from the supplier’s EM4 solution. Protek and BAE SYSTEMS have worked hand in hand to design the front-end solution to combine all the ease of use of the popular Microsoft Outlook application with the stringent security demands of the UK navy.Yard said, “PASCO is a massive development project, and it is great to work with a product like EM4 that is so open to custom development and that so easily integrates with other components within the system. Even when we have hit a issue, which is inevitable in a project of this magnitude with so many varied components, Protek has always persevered to find the right solution, whatever time day or night.”He continued, “We have been extremely impressed with Protek’s skill and expertise and also their commitment to creating the very best solution possible.

Their input has been invaluable not only with the development of the front-end solution but throughout the wider system build.”

Commercially-available military strength solutions

With the project still in progress the MOD are already considering potential future deployments for this technology.In addition, BAE SYSTEMS and Protek will continue to collaborate on the development of the wider PASCO solution, from creating an Arabic version to making it available to military markets worldwide.Yard said, “With organisations’ widespread concern about security breaches we see enormous value in bringing the development work we have undertaken within the PASCO project to commercially available messaging applications. Our work with Protek means that together we can offer military organisations worldwide secure email and messaging solutions that guarantee the most stringent standards of reliability, confidentiality and business protection.”He concluded, “The PASCO project has heralded the beginning of what we see as a long term partnership with Protek.

The dedication and expertise that they have brought to this high-profile, extremely important project has been second-to-none, and we welcome working with them on future collaborations.”