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CCS highlights home working options for public sector


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has urged public sector organisations to ensure their broadband bandwidth and data deals can cope with a surge in home working by employees.

It is part of the agency’s new guidance on how to facilitate home working in response to the spread of coronavirus.

CCS says that public authorities’ staff are now accessing networks and applications in much greater numbers, and that they need to consider the external network bandwidth to the services. This will be dependent on the organisation, service types and potential number of staff using them.

“It is recommended that you contact your existing network provider to check any potential impact,” the agency says.

It also points to the likely increase in the use of mobile data and says this should be monitored, with organisations considering taking on additional data bundles. To be effective, employees need to be able to tether devices so they can access mobile data through their laptops.

Free offerings

A handful of specific packages are highlighted in the guidance. One is an arrangement with Cisco, with which CCS has a memorandum of understanding, for 90-day usage of its Umbrella, Duo and AnyConnect applications for secure web use and secure sign-in.

Four sets of remote working tools are mentioned: Microsoft’s Office 365 E1 package is available for six months on an extended trial; Google is rolling out free access to its Hangouts Meet video conferencing capabilities until 1 July; Cisco is providing a free 90-day licence for its Webex video and audio conferencing platform; and Telefonica is offering the Visionable video and data collaboration platform from O2 to the public sector on a free six-week trial.

The guidance also warns that it could be difficult to purchase large quantities of new devices and hardware as resellers’ stock levels have been depleted over the past week, and says that organisations might consider refurbished devices to meet short term requirements.

In addition, it points to the Technology Products and Associated Services framework as a source of quotes for currently available stock.

CCS has also encouraged public authorities to check its Purchasing Platform and Digital Marketplace before awarding any contracts.

Image by Logan Ingalls, CC BY 2.0


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