UK Protective Markings

Understanding the UK Government Protective Marking System

Protective markings – also known as security classification labels – are markings that identify the confidentiality requirements of the document or piece of information on which they appear. These labels also convey the sensitivity level of the asset to anyone who handles it.

A major benefit of protective markings is the fact they are simple to understand for human users and easy to interpret by other IT systems.

HMG Security Policy and Protective Markings

In the UK, government departments and agencies must abide by the Security Policy Framework issued by the Cabinet Office.

The use of protective markings in the UK government is defined in the UK Government Security Policy Framework (SPF), which mandates that:

  1. Departments and Agencies must apply the [Government] Protective Marking System (MR6)
  2. Assets must be clearly and conspicuously marked (MR7)
  3. Only the originator or designated owner can protectively mark an asset (MR7)

The Framework identifies the following four levels of classification which make up the Government Security Classifications (GSC). In ascending order of sensitivity, these classifications are:


Janusseal provides easy-to-deploy security classification solutions to comply with the protective marking requirements of the HMG Security Policy Framework.

Email and document classification provides a straightforward solution for ensuring compliance with the current UK Government Protective Marking System, including pre-configured settings that minimise deployment time and complexity.