Government to drop .gsi email by March 2019

Cabinet Office tells organisations to use new domains and move email to public cloud

The Cabinet Office has said that government organisations should replace any remaining .gsi email domains by March 2019, replacing it with newer alternatives such as gov.uk, gov.scot, llyw.cymru or gov.wales.

eMail iconIt has issued a guidance statement also indicating that government email should be moved to a public cloud, although it will permissible to use hosted or on-premise services in the short term.

The move comes in response to a trend that has seen many organisations move away from using .gsi, and the Government Digital Service not issuing any more relevant domains, as new mechanisms for providing the relevant security needs have been developed.

The statement acknowledges that the timescale could be difficult for some organisations – such as those with internal services or processes depending on .gsi domains – but says it should be achievable for most.

Any non-government organisations using a .gsi domain name are expected to replace it with a non-government domain.

Intranet origin

The .gsi domains derive from the Government Secure Intranet, a wide area network that enables the peer-to-peer transfer of files between accredited networks. It was set up 1997 and was widely used in central government, but has been gradually phased out of many organisations.

In 2010 the Cabinet Office indicated that it planned to drop the domains within five years, although this has been extended for a further two.

Its statement also reiterates earlier advice to move email traffic from the Public Services Network to the internet. This has been reinforced by the National Cyber Security Centre launching the UK Public Sector DNS service to keep government employees from stumbling on malicious internet domains.

Image by AJC1, CC BY 2.0 through flickr