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December 10, 2010

Government urged to upgrade to Windows 7

Security is good enough, so time to ditch legacy OS


Windows 7 has been declared the safest Microsoft operating system by CESG, the Information Assurance (IA) arm of GCHQ, who have also urged the UK government to upgrade to it.

The reasoning behind the announcement is primarily because of security; BitLocker, Microsoft’s full disk encryption feature, has been deemed suitable for use up to Business Impact Level 3 by CENG. This means it meets the needs of most government departments, the organisation said.

Windows 7 should now be the operating system of choice within the government when looking for a new OS, CENG says.

"CENG has a proactive approach to partnering with industry leaders and because of our strategic partnership with Microsoft, we have been able to produce guidance on using Windows 7 for all government bodies," explained Jonathan Hoyle, director general ISA, CENG.

The two have produced a best practice framework for configuring Windows 7 for government use, called Government Assurance Pack (GAP) for Windows 7.

"Working with CENG on the security of our products is an ongoing engagement that reaffirms our commitment to UK Government as a strategic partner," says Dr Nicola Hudson, general manager, Microsoft Public Sector UK. "We are making considerable investments to increase the security of our technology and to provide implementation guides and training based on industry best practices."

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The government here has also been urged on many occasions to upgrade from the ancient and vulnerable Internet Explorer 6 browser, but this summer announced that it would be more cost effective to continue running it while relying on firewalls and malware-scanning software for protection.

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