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

Meet UK’s 80 female technology leaders of tomorrow

Meet UK’s 80 female technology leaders of tomorrow

As it stands, women occupy just 16% of IT jobs in the UK and make up less than 14% of CIOs, less than 10% of CEOs at technology companies and less than 5% of board directors at technology firms. With the aim of contributing to the drive towards improved female representation in UK’s technology scene, ‘Future Stars of Tech’ launched two years ago.

BT Strategy Targets “Green” Recovery from COVID-19 Crisis

BT Strategy Targets “Green” Recovery from COVID-19 Crisis

Broadband and UK mobile giant BT Group has today launched two new UK initiatives, the ‘Green Tech Innovation Platform’ and the ‘UK Electric Fleets Alliance’, which they say will help to form the foundation for a climate friendly recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and help to drive the country’s “Net Zero carbon emissions.”

The Future of Network Procurement

The Covid-19 lock-down is causing a massive change in the way we are working. Social Distancing and restricting the spread of the virus means that millions of Britain’s are working from home. How many will still be able to still work in the same fashion after the lockdown will remain to be seen. Certainly, from an environmental and efficiency view, continuing as much home working as possible will be desirable. However, this will have a major impact on the networking requirements for the Public Sector.

Why service providers and vendors are tuning up home-based SD-WAN services

Why service providers and vendors are tuning up home-based SD-WAN services

ith millions of employees now working from home, service providers are looking for ways to offer more secure, manageable services into those home offices. SD-WAN could emerge as a prime technology that better enables work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) scenarios for enterprises.

In short, home-based SD-WAN is doable, but it may not look like current SD-WAN offerings.

Before we get into the details, it’s worth noting that Versa Networks CEO Kelly Ahuja said “The home is now the branch” in an interview with Futuriom founder and analyst Scott Raynovich in a FierceTelecom story. During several interviews since Raynovich’s story ran, I’ve asked if the home is now truly the branch.

Update on the future of GOV.UK

Update on the future of GOV.UK

In November last year I posted about our plans for the future of GOV.UK. We want to provide trusted, joined-up and personalised interaction for users, so that we can provide the right things to the right people, in the way they want to use them.

Since then a lot has changed. GOV.UK has been at the centre of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing vital and up-to-date information and services. GOV.UK has repeatedly seen record demand, peaking at over 132m page views in a single week (and that’s just of those who consent to analytics tracking – true number approaching 300m?). We have worked across the public sector, including with colleagues in the NHS and local authorities, to build and launch services – from scratch – in just days, to help people receive essential supplies and to help organisations offer their support.

UK joins US-led Covid-19 HPC consortium to tackle prevailing health crisis

UK joins US-led Covid-19 HPC consortium to tackle prevailing health crisis

The UK government announced its decision to join the global Covid-19 High Performance Computing consortium (Covid-19 HPC consortium), a private-public effort led by the US and IBM, which has been set up in response to the pandemic.

Bu joining the consortium, UK’s researchers and scientists are expected to get access to the largest and fastest supercomputers in the world where they can quickly carry out complex calculations. This is anticipated to speed up the UK’s coronavirus research rapidly, and through the use of advanced modelling, develop further treatments, gain knowledge, and get an understanding of how the virus behaves.