Geofencing technology to enhance the UK’s digital defence

Novel geofencing software will aid the UK’s digital defence, enabling flexible working while mitigating the security threats associated with it. 

In a progressively more digital planet, the need for a more adaptable workforce is increasing as more people are opting to work remotely.  However, with this comes the necessity of enhancing digital defence.

While the advantages of a mobile workforce are acknowledged, working from home also poses an increase in security risks. A major difficulty that confronts both industry and government employers is the task of enabling a mobile workforce while retaining control over security threats.

Developing digital defence software

TriCIS, in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, obtained assistance from DASA to deliver proof of concept of District Defend® software for use within the Ministry of Defence.

District Defend® is an innovative and highly developed endpoint security system which automatically reconfigures security permissions centred on the position of the device. It utilises contextual triggers including locality and user behaviours to mechanically modify mobile devices – like laptops and tablets – to the applicable security settings.

Trialling the software

The project consisted of a 90-day trial, throughout which the software was tried and assessed by a multidisciplinary group of specialists from Defence Digital, Dstl and the British Army in three unique scenarios:

  • An open plan workspace which forced the software to disable features – including microphone and webcam – but was capable of identifying a shift into a private, secure office, and reactivate those features in order to successfully operate a video conference.
  • A deployed location where the software was forced to identify when it was in a protected tent or in an open atmosphere where it could interact with other technology.
  • Inside and outside a protected vehicle, to test District Defend’s ability to distinguish its environment, even in a small physical distance.

Paul Varcoe, Innovation Lead at Defence Digital explained: “There was a positive ‘can-do’ approach that enabled three scenarios to be tested during the difficult COVID-19 lockdown period. All parties worked well together and DASA ensured this was a straightforward experience.”

Implementing the software

District Defend is a mature product and is already being utilised in the US. TriCIS did not need financing for product development, but rather required an introduction to UK Defence users and the chance to deliver proof of concept.

In this case, DASA supplied added value by connecting the space between Science and Technology and Defence Equipment by enabling a joint-funded project that may have otherwise fallen between the gaps.

Following the initial trials, the researchers have acknowledged the necessity of integrating the District Defend software with MOD hardware and systems for additional testing.


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