SSE Enterprise Telecoms – one of the UK’s leading connectivity suppliers, and part of SSE plc – this week announced that it has been certified by KPMG and the National Cyber Security Centre to the CAS(T) UK Government standard for telecommunications companies for its layer one Optical and layer two Ethernet network services. CAS(T) provides assurance to customers that their systems and services are adequately protected against risks to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information classified as HM Government OFFICIAL.
A major driving force in reducing the concern of potential physical or cyber-related threats is becoming CAS(T) accredited. In winning this accolade SSE Enterprise Telecoms assures customers in the public and private sector, as well as partner systems integrators and outsourcers, that it can deliver connectivity to the CAS(T) assured standard. This, coupled with the recent network sharing deal signed between SSE Enterprise Telecoms and Capita, further boosts connectivity between systems integrators and service providers serving the public sector.
The CAS(T) certification – which stands for CESG (Communications Electronics Security Group) Assured Services (Telecommunications) – involves an independent assessment focused on the key security areas of: service availability, insider attack, unauthorised access to the network and physical attack. Firewalls, authorisation processes, access policies and the physical vulnerability of the network were all analysed. Once the assessment was completed, the recommendation report was submitted to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which approved the certification.
‘Secure and available’ foundations
SSE Enterprise Telecoms has a long heritage of going above and beyond to ensure customers are safeguarded on a much broader scale as part of its parent company, SSE Group. Clayton Tudor, Head of Network Operations at SSE Enterprise Telecoms explains:
“To put it into context, SSE Group is responsible for the management of some of the UK’s most critical infrastructures – power stations, hydro-electric dams and the like – we ensure their connectivity is undisturbed. The CAS(T) accreditation recognises the stringent measures we have put in place for our public and private sector Telecoms customers.”
Tudor adds: “In addition to the regular stress testing we conduct on our own services, we have a controlled access set-up, whereby no supplier is able to gain access to the network without authorisation at the time of connection. We also have a real-time physical awareness of all assets, so we can pinpoint an issue in the unlikely event of a compromise. The Government’s Cyber Breaches Survey reported nearly half (46%) of all UK organisations suffered a cyber-security incident in the last year, with critical infrastructures like hospitals as key targets. We fully recognise the role networks play in preventing and deflecting potential threats to the network and connectivity.”
Customer support and customer excellence are also vital components of this accreditation reveals Colin Sempill, Managing Director at SSE Enterprise Telecoms:
“We’ve taken several steps to vet and ensure excellence in our own customer support services, which this CAS(T) accreditation embodies. Not only do we apply an individual NPS score to each customer service case, our transactional NPS score of 70+ places us on par with the consumer tech industries’ greatest innovators.”
“The certification is our first in the public sector space and means we will be working more closely with our systems integrator partners who sell directly to the public sector. It also marks our commitment to support the UK’s ‘Digital Strategy’ – a nationwide initiative for secure, high-capacity, reliable connectivity for business.”
About SSE Enterprise Telecoms
SSE Enterprise Telecoms provides class-leading connectivity and data centre services that deliver very high performance, cost efficiency and a competitive edge. The company operates a 13,700km private telecoms network and an estate of 15 data centres that span the UK. With its extensive telecoms and data centre operational expertise it offers commercial security with unrivalled in-house engineering resource.