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

Huawei gets the green light for £1 billion Cambridge R&D centre

Huawei gets the green light for £1 billion Cambridge R&D centre

Cambridge City Council has officially given Huawei permission to construct a 50,000 sq. meter R&D centre to focus on optoelectronics, serving as the international HQ for the segment.

While Cambridge has long been associated with academic excellence thanks to the university, the region is increasingly gaining a reputation as a hub for the telecoms and technology industry. As well as Huawei, Microsoft and Amazon are also expanding their footprint in the area, sitting alongside the likes of ARM and DeepMind who have called Cambridge home for years.

Huawei will invest £1 billion in the first phase of the project, the construction of the facilities, with the plan to employ 400 people at the site in the future. The centre will eventually be named the international HQ for Huawei’s optoelectronics business, a technology used in fibre optic communication systems for data centres and fixed networks.

The 2020 to 2021 GOV.UK roadmap

The 2020 to 2021 GOV.UK roadmap

An exciting future and an admission

I will start with an admission: GOV.UK has not published a roadmap since 2017. This has not been deliberate and has been largely due to our focus on urgent work (Brexit and more recently coronavirus work) which was, by its nature, reactive to critical changes in circumstances.

We have been agile, starting and pausing work to make sure that we’re delivering the most value to users and government. The current work has, as a consequence, been focussed on rapid delivery.

While this work continues at pace, so does our commitment to delivering the transformation required to meet our users’ expectations, and doing this in the way that GOV.UK always has: transparently and with users at the heart.

The Government SME Agenda: will £1 in £3 be the new normal in a post-COVID world?

The Government SME Agenda: will £1 in £3 be the new normal in a post-COVID world?

Robert Stoneman, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, demonstrates that the claim government is spending more than ever with SMEs may not be all it is cracked up to be.

“The amount of money the government spent with small businesses in 2018-19 was highest since government records began in 2013.” This was the claim made in January on the release of the Cabinet Office’s latest figures for how much Government spends with small businesses (SMEs).

Looking at the figures, over £14bn was spent with SMEs in 2018-19, a quarter of the £55bn total recorded procurement spend. Though this remains short of the goal of spending £1 in every £3 with SMEs by 2022, it still represents an extra £1.8bn compared to the previous year. For SMEs, this must keep improving. After all, it is they that have largely borne the brunt of the economic difficulties arising from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

NCSC reports milestone for newly launched suspicious email reporting service

NCSC reports milestone for newly launched suspicious email reporting service

The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) claimed that its suspicious email reporting service (SERS) has achieved the milestone of receiving more than one million reports in just two months of its launch.

The agency said that fake cryptocurrency investment lures accounted for more than half of all online scams that were detected after being reported by the public through the use of the new service.

Over half of the 10,000 online links to scams were either blocked or taken down by the NCSC with the help of the public. These are said to relate to cryptocurrency schemes, where investors are usually promised high returns in exchange for buying Bitcoin and other currency.

IP Telephony Guide – OUT NOW

IP Telephony Guide – OUT NOW

Comms Business is delighted to announce that the IP Telephony Guide is now available to readers. In this specialist supplement Comms Business offers readers an insight into the current IP Telephony landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic and where the opportunities sit for partners to help businesses maintain flexible working practises.

O2 UK Finally Refunds Mobile Customers.. AFTER 15 YEARS

O2 UK Finally Refunds Mobile Customers.. AFTER 15 YEARS

Mobile operator O2 (Telefonica UK) has refunded a number of their customers for over-charging following a double “billing issue“, which wouldn’t be nearly so interesting if it wasn’t for the fact that the problem itself occurred over 10 years ago (i.e. some refunds are from as far back as 15 years). Better late than never? That’s a stretch

Ofcom Consults on Openreach UK Copper Retirement Process

Ofcom Consults on Openreach UK Copper Retirement Process

The UK telecoms regulator has today opened a short consultation on their proposal to push back some key decisions regarding the retirement process for Openreach’s (BT) copper lines in favour of fibre optic broadband. In short, Ofcom wants to see a bit more FTTP roll-out take place first (for experience), before they set out a final plan.

Why Slack’s CEO Doesn’t Want to ‘Kill Email’

Why Slack’s CEO Doesn’t Want to ‘Kill Email’

Workplace chat apps have existed for years, but few have “disrupted” office culture more than Slack. It’s converted back-and-forth threads into chirpy instant messages. It’s replaced water cooler conversation with silent DMs. It’s reorganized discussions around specific topics, added more transparency to those discussions, and made workplace communique a lot less formal (see: Slackmoji). In some cases, especially during the months-long work-from-home experiment of 2020, it’s even replaced the office itself

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