UK: What is the GCSx Code of Connection (CoCo)?

A code of connection (CoCo) is a mutually agreed set of rules used by two parties to allow the Exchange of information between their systems.  The UK government has pursued several initiatives in recent years to connect all government organisations into the secure networks of the central government intranet.

GCSx stands for Government Connect Secure Extranet.  This is the network which will specifically connect Local Authorities (LAs) to the central government intranet (GSI – Government Secure Intranet). GCSx relates only to LAs in England and Wales. Scottish LAs will connect through GSX (Government Secure Extranet). Local Authorities must achieve CoCo compliance in order to be access access to the Government Secure networks. Confused yet? Being driven CoCo.Nuts?

Here’s a diagram to help see how it all fits together:

There are jut under 100 controls and measures that a Local Authority needs to put in place in order to be CoCo compliant. The most prominent of these are listed here:

Email Labelling
User Education and Awareness
Incident Response
Access Control
Compliance Checking
Protective Monitoring
Intrusion Detection
Patch Management
Removable Media Control

 The current version of the GCSx CoCo is 4.1. The most recently published (enacted) before this was version 3.2. In version 4.1, changes included the addition of protectively marking emails based on central government methodology for protective marking issued by the Cabinet office.  Boldon James provides products to assist in Email Labelling, and also in User Education and Awareness.   The Boldon James Classifiertool can be implemented to restrict the distribution of emails based on their label. It can also be the central lever to educate users about the information they are dealing with on a day to day basis and its level of sensitivity.  If you want to more know more about the Boldon James Classifier product, please visit:

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