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

UK government lost thousands of devices last year

UK government lost thousands of devices last year

Major security risks caused by forgetful staff.

Thousands of devices belonging to UK government staff have been lost or misplaced over the last year, new figures have revealed.

Between June 2018 and June 2019, more than two thousand items, including smartphones, laptops and external storage devices, were stolen or lost by government workers across the UK, according to a freedom of information (FoI) request by Viasat.

This was equivalent to 39 devices being lost or stolen per working week – or eight per working day, during a period where the UK government was attempting to work through the challenges of delivering Brexit.

Mobile Access North Yorkshire project to bring 4G to rural areas

Mobile Access North Yorkshire project to bring 4G to rural areas

North Yorkshire is set to trial the £6m Mobile Access North Yorkshire project (MANY project), which is one of the seven projects to have prevailed in the UK government’s £30m Rural Connected Communities (RCC) competition.

Led by wireless internet service provider Quickline Communications, the project will tap into innovative technology to deliver mobile connectivity to certain areas of North Yorkshire which do not have 4G mobile coverage.

Nottinghamshire to pilot 5G Connected Forest project at Sherwood Forest

Nottinghamshire to pilot 5G Connected Forest project at Sherwood Forest

Nottinghamshire County Council is set to move ahead with the £10m 5G Connected Forest project to provide a 3D experience to visitors at the Sherwood Forest Country Park.

According to the council, visitors will get to experience the new technology in action as early as next month, during the first year of the 25-month test bed and trial programme at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre.

Apart from the Sherwood Forest Park, the 3D experience can also be enjoyed at the nearby Rufford Abbey Country Park, managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Parkwood Outdoors on behalf of the Nottinghamshire County Council.

Ofcom UK Tests 5G Mobile Emissions and Finds No Concerns

Ofcom UK Tests 5G Mobile Emissions and Finds No Concerns

As part of its job the UK telecoms and media regulator conducts a spectrum measurement programme, which has been measuring the electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions from equipment used to transmit mobile signals and other wireless services for a number of years. Previously this focused upon existing mobile services (2G, 3G and 4G) but the work has now been extended to 5G and related frequencies.

Bridging the Gap between Start-ups and Public Sector Procurement

Bridging the Gap between Start-ups and Public Sector Procurement

Although start-ups are driving innovation throughout most of the UK economy’s private industries, their presence in the public sector is far less prominent. There is an undeniable need for innovative solutions dedicated to public sector pain points, but long sales cycles and slow procurement processes have made most government organisations traditionally unappealing customers – especially for revenue hungry, early-stage businesses.

Despite these obstacles however, the UK is home to one of the fastest growing GovTech ecosystems in the world, with an estimated value of £6.6 billion as of 2017. The public sector has sought to further stimulate this sector’s growth through various policy initiatives and alterations to procurement routes, such as Spark, an innovative dynamic purchasing system aimed at accelerating the process for smaller technology providers. While the government is yet to achieve its 2020 target of 33% of procurement spending coming from start-ups and SMEs, the growing proportion of startup interactions between government and start-ups is promising and likely indicative of continuous improvement moving forward.

Below, are 5 examples of start-ups currently working with the UK government to improve the provision of public services.

Your home PC is twice as likely to get infected as your work laptop

Your home PC is twice as likely to get infected as your work laptop

Outdated operating systems and poor security put consumer PCs at risk

Consumer PCs are twice as likely to get infected as business PCs, new research from Webroot has revealed. According to the company’s findings, the reason consumer PCs are more susceptible to infections is due to the fact that many are running outdated operating systems such as Windows 7 and because consumers aren’t employing the same security solutions used by businesses which offer greater protection. Of the infected consumer devices, more than 35 percent were infected over three times and nearly 10 percent encountered six or more infections.

UK is the Top Flyer for Telefonica, as the rot continues elsewhere

UK is the Top Flyer for Telefonica, as the rot continues elsewhere

The UK business remained the high-flyer in the group, with reported revenues up 4.7% for the year, to €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion). In Germany, Telefónica managed a modest 1.1% improvement in sales, to €7.4 billion ($8 billion).

The Spanish telecom giant today reported a 0.6% dip in sales last year, to around €48.4 billion ($52.3 billion), and saw underlying profits (or OIBDA, for operating income before depreciation and amortisation) fall 2.9%, to €15.1 billion ($16.3 billion), as restructuring costs tore into profitability. Telefónica said revenues and OIBDA grew 3.2% and 1.9% respectively on a like-for-like basis. It is guiding for stable revenues and OIBDA this year.

The operator cut more than 4,500 jobs in 2019, nearly 4% of total positions, as it worked to boost profits under its latest strategy of doubling down on a smaller number of key markets, according to financial results published this morning.

UK Google users to lose EU data protection

UK Google users to lose EU data protection

Users in the UK will soon fall under US jurisdiction following Brexit.

In the aftermath of Brexit, Google plans to shift UK accounts outside the control of European Union privacy regulations, and under US jurisdiction instead

The move is expected to make information more accessible to UK law enforcement, and leave data with less robust protection than is afforded by EU standards.