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

Student Loans Company earmarks £200m for digital transformation programme

Student Loans Company earmarks £200m for digital transformation programme

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has unveiled plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds transforming its customer interface and the technology estate that powers it.

SLC revealed on Wednesday it would be awarding £200m to its first strategic tech partner towards the end of the year, and that it has further IT procurement exercises in the works.

Council’s £2m plans for largest smart city project in UK

Council’s £2m plans for largest smart city project in UK

Peterborough City Council has unveiled £2m plans for the largest smart city regeneration project in the UK.
The city-wide scheme, The Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure project (PIRI), will be designed to cut energy bills and facilitate green heat, electricity and transport for people in the area by combining modern heat and electricity networks and electric vehicle infrastructure.

Accelerating the Evaluation and Deployment of uCPE-Based SD-WAN Solutions

Accelerating the Evaluation and Deployment of uCPE-Based SD-WAN Solutions

Unless you’ve been living on an Internet-free desert island for the past couple of years, it’s been hard to escape all the industry hype around Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN). While the business benefits of adopting SD-WAN are significant, there’s no denying the fact that evaluating and then deploying potential solutions is hard: typically, the solutions that deliver the best Return on Investment (ROI) involve products from multiple vendors, leading to complex integration and testing. A recently-announced software evaluation kit addresses these challenges, providing a pre-integrated open-source SD-WAN solution that runs on multiple white-box hardware platforms, all ready for a quick, efficient start to putting together a multi-vendor SD-WAN deployment.

Nokia mulls asset sale or merger

Nokia mulls asset sale or merger

The Finnish giant has reportedly hired advisors to help weigh their options

2019 was a difficult year for Nokia, with the company struggling to keep the pace of its rivals Ericsson and Huawei.

In October, the company decreased its earnings forecast and halted its dividend, blaming its fall in profitability on its choice of expensive 5G components. The company’s shares have been declining for the past year, falling around a third in value.

Now, Bloomberg is reporting that Nokia has hired advisors to help it explore the possibilities of asset sales and merges.

How the public sector is lighting the way with digital innovation

How the public sector is lighting the way with digital innovation

Where is ‘innovation’ truly happening? For some, the word conjures up locations prefixed by ‘Silicon’; for others, it’s just another buzzword. What doesn’t always come to mind is the public sector. Yet it’s here that technological innovation is actually happening: practical, applicable innovation that’s making a genuine difference to people’s lives every day.
At least, that’s the viewpoint of Matt Spencer, Head of Public Sector at O2. He took some time to speak with Public Sector Executive about exactly why he and the wider company are looking to the public sector to be the standard-bearers for real digital transformation.

H2 2019 – Full Fibre Broadband Covers 83% of New Build Homes

H2 2019 – Full Fibre Broadband Covers 83% of New Build Homes

Why not 100%?

The latest independent H2 2019 analysis of broadband coverage among UK new build homes has indicated that 83% of houses constructed last year were connected to a “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband ISP network (up from 73% in 2018), which rises to 96% for 30Mbps+ “superfast broadband” services (up from 95% last year).

The marriage between Public Sector ICT and Public Cloud – How to work on trust issues

The marriage between Public Sector ICT and Public Cloud – How to work on trust issues

In February 2013, when the UK government launched its “Cloud First Policy” aimed to foster the uptake of cloud solutions to cater for the UK’s public sector needs. Much has happened since then, around developing cloud procurement in the public sector. According to the Cabinet Office, after the introductory phase, an average of more than £1 billion a year was spent on cloud applications by the UK government, which has generated savings to the taxpayer of around £200-300 million per year compared to on-premise alternatives.

Public Sector customers hit as BT switches off Kilostream and Featurenet

Public Sector customers hit as BT switches off Kilostream and Featurenet

BT Wholesale has warned customers that organisations using the old Kilostream and Featurenet private circuits will need to prepare for a switch-off at the end of March. They have told customers they need to replace these services, many of which are used for telephony products, with IP services.
The switch-off has come, according to BTW, as the traditional networks are no longer cost efficient to run and network suppliers no longer produce the replacement equipment needed.
Public sector organisations are thought to make up at least a third of the remaining customers using the services of which comprise about 9,000 circuits for analogue and Kilostream and 60,000 lines for Featurenet.