What is it?

PSN is the trusted, shared infrastructure that connects increasing numbers of organisations delivering public services to each other and to cloud based and hosted services they can use or share. Developed in 2011, after the Cabinet Office asked Industry to design an inclusive eco-system, the PSN was based on common Enterprise standards including performance and service, it’s made up of inter-connected commercial networks from many competing suppliers, so ensuring best value.

Why is it trusted?

To create the right environment for public service providers to share information and services, trust must be established between organisations. The annual PSN compliance process does this by ensuring that both suppliers and customer adhere to appropriate standards including security and technical interoperability. Using existing good practice and standard commercial services wherever possible, this approach creates ‘good and safe’ place for the PSN community to do business at least cost. This way, trust can be established  without direct contracts and previous experience.

How secure is PSN?

PSN provides an Assured Wide Area Network (WAN) suitable for using with information classified as Official (or Protect/IL2 in old terms). All services certified as PSN compliant are pre-accredited to ensure this and so cover the great majority of government requirements. Where information is classified as Official-Sensitive (similar to the old term  Restricted/IL3), then PSN can also meet this need with Protected WAN overlay services, using common agreed encryption or connectivity utilising  the Inter Provider Encryption Domain (IPED).

What’s the objective?

PSN aims to save the Public Sector money by better utilisation of conectivity and a greater choice of consumption and services and enable more efficient and joined-up public services. The initial aim was to provide a demonstrable £500m a year savings. This was achieved in 2013, according to HM Treasury.

What’s the benefit?

PSN saves money straight away by helping consolidate multiple networks, doing away with duplicate connections to other organisations, allowing the purchase of standardised, rather than bespoke services and promoting open and dynamic competition between suppliers.

Most importantly, PSN enables much larger benefits by providing the conduit for shared services, better collaboration and greater efficiency; transforming the way public services are delivered. Digital delivery to the citizen means that the public services ‘supply chain’ of processes, applications and information must be seamless and online too. PSN provides the trusted means to do this across departments, agencies and authorities.

How do I know if a service is ‘PSN’?

Before any supplier’s service can be connected to PSN it must be certified as complying with the relevant PSN standards. PSN compliant services can provide network connectivity plus a wide range of applications including voice, video, conferencing, collaboration, hosting, mail and many others. You can find a list of compliant services and those undergoing certification on the PSN website.
If in doubt, ask your supplier for the PSN compliance certificate for their service.

What about the PSN Frameworks?

Two procurement frameworks were let by the Crown Commercial Service in 2012, covering network connectivity (PSN-Connectivity) and a range of network services (PSN-Services). Although called ‘PSN’, the frameworks include both compliant and non-compliant services. To be clear, a PSN compliant service can be bought through any legitimate procurement mechanism and not solely through the PSN frameworks. Likewise, a listing on the PSN frameworks does not itself mean that a service is PSN compliant. Although extended into 2016, the PSN frameworks are due to be replaced with a new framework in 2015 called Network Services Framework which will list services that are PSN Compliant as an attribute, so removing any confusion between frameworks and compliance.

How do I connect to PSN?

Before connection to PSN as a user, you need to have PSN Compliance. This certifies that your network environment meets the basic requirements to connect to PSN, and ensure that you’re able to share and consume services across the PSN community. Find out more about becoming a customer from the PSN website. You also need to acquire a certified PSN connectivity service, whether that’s a complete WAN or just a single connection into PSN.

How do I make a service available on the PSN?

Any organisation, commercial, public or voluntary, can make services available to consume on PSN. Think of PSN as a ‘wire frame’ connecting hundreds of organisations on which shared services from communications to line of business or critical support applications can be hung. Doing this generally means gaining appropriate PSN certification as a service provider for each individual service before it can be connected to PSN.

More guidance on how to become a service provider is on the PSN website. Innopsis as the industry association for all PSN suppliers provides invaluable support from compliance workshops, networking and information to regular meetings with key stakeholders. PSN services can be sold through any legitimate procurement mechanism including the Digital Marketplace.

What’s the market for PSN services?

There’s a dynamic and open marketplace for PSN network connectivity and services, with many suppliers competing through the PSN frameworks, G-Cloud and other commercial routes. It is estimated that approaching £500m has been spent to date through the PSN frameworks and on PSN compliant services through other channels.  Innopsis is expanding with around 60 members, at least 50% of whom are SMEs entering the growing PSN market.

PSN General Documents and Technical Standards

Ever wondered what a vPoC is? Where does a PoI fit in? What exactly a DNSP is? What is PSN? What documents are in the overalll PSN Standards? The answers are here.

The core of the PSN Operating Model is the Technical Design Document (TDD). This describes the minimal technical standards of PSN Services.

To view or download the documents, please click here

Service Management Framework

In an environment where end to end service may be dependent on suppliers or other consumers who are uncontracted, there has to be a set of rules to obey, a way or working and a common vocabulary that all can understand. There needs to be an agreed ‘way of doing things’, otherwise there will be chaos. This does not have to be difficult or onerous, just following common sense practice.

The Service Management Framework decribes how PSN runs, day to day. For details of the documentation, please click here

Compliance

How does a Supplier or consumer know that any services connected or connecting meet the agreed standards? Compliance provides a short cut to experience. Services and Customer Environments that meet the conditions described in the PSN Operating Model, and can be backed up by verification, also a rapid trust environment to be established.

How is this done? The PSN Compliance documentation provides the information.

To see the documentation, please click here

Watch your MANRS: Akamai, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Google, and pals join internet routing security effort

Watch your MANRS: Akamai, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Google, and pals join internet routing security effort

Filtering, anti-spoofing, coordination, validation to prevent crooks, spies hijacking victims’ connections.

A community effort to improve the internet’s routing security has won the backing of some of the web’s biggest names.

Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Akamai, and Netflix, among others, have signed up to the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) group, in their roles as content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud providers (CPs).

BBC Suggests Broadband ISP Levy to Replace UK TV Licence Fee

BBC Suggests Broadband ISP Levy to Replace UK TV Licence Fee

The BBC has given its response to the UK Government’s (DCMS) consultation on their proposal to decriminalise TV licence fee evasion, which among other things includes a suggestion that the fee could be replaced by a levy or tax on consumer broadband bills. But they are not “advocating” for that, yet.

At present a colour TV licence costs £157.50 per year (up £3 on the previous fee) and a black and white licence costs £53 (up £1), while those who are blind (severely sight impaired) can apply for a 50% concession on that charge. The current payment system is court-enforced and can attract a criminal sanction if somebody fails to pay, which has long caused disagreement.

NHS launches messaging service for people with suspected coronavirus symptoms

NHS launches messaging service for people with suspected coronavirus symptoms

The UK National Health Service (NHS) has launched a messaging service to provide regular check-ins for people staying at home with suspected coronavirus symptoms.

The healthcare system will send daily texts to new patients who register their symptoms of Covid-19 and contact details with the 111 online service.

According to the NHS the messages will check how people are, and make sure that those who require help, get them through their isolation period.

Microsoft warns hospitals about VPN cyberattacks during coronavirus

Microsoft warns hospitals about VPN cyberattacks during coronavirus

The tech giant notes that as more people work remotely, a new breed of hacker could attack.

Up to 80% of Americans are on government-mandated lockdowns, forcing many of them to work from home while they keep away from the office to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. Many of these people use technology to access their work called virtual private networks, or VPNs. And now Microsoft says that those companies — and specifically health care workers — need to be on the lookout for a different breed of threats that come from them.

Europe develops coronavirus tracking app meant to also preserve privacy

Europe develops coronavirus tracking app meant to also preserve privacy

A pan-European initiative shares code for an app that’s designed to warn people, without violating their privacy, when to self-isolate.

Researchers and scientists across Europe are collaborating to develop apps that can track the spread of the coronavirus without violating the EU’s stringent privacy regulations.

The Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing initiative (PEPP-PT) announced on Wednesday that it was releasing code for an app that it believes will allow for contact tracing while still abiding by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As part of the initiative, 130 academics from eight countries have worked on the code, which will analyse Bluetooth pings between devices to keep track of who people have come into contact with.