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GDS to identify routes away from PSN

23/09/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has begun to work on identifying ways for organisations to move away from using the Public Services Network (PSN) for secure communications.

Graphic of network hubs connected to laptops

It has moved into the second phase of the Future Networks for Government (FN4G) programme, aiming to understand the full PSN landscape and finding appropriate transition paths. This is set to run until March of next year.

This follows the production of guidance on moving to other network solutions, with information on relevant standards, as the first phase of the programme.

FN4G was launched last year to help organisations move away from the PSN towards modern networking solutions. GDS first indicated in 2017 that the network would not be necessary in the long term because of improved standards around issues such as email security, transport security and virtual private networks.

In a blogpost on the move, GDS head of PSN and cyber compliance Mark Smith says it wants to develop a tracker for purposes include understanding the use of the network across the public sector, the challenges in moving to alternatives, finding opportunities for organisations to collaborate and getting a better picture of dates for the transition.

Overall it wants to help organisations get off the PSN as soon as possible.

GDS has also begun a procurement for support in identifying the services and systems used by local authorities on the PSN as they interoperate with central government or other agencies.

The notice says it has already identified 270 relevant contracts and that the number is rising.

Support, sharing and feedback

Smith says in the blog that GDS will identify selected organisations and offer practical support in planning for the change, and will share the learnings and good practice. It is also looking for feedback from organisations.

“We want to make sure that the benefits of moving away from the PSN are understood and achievable,” he says.

Among the objectives of FN4G are to identify its current users and main use cases of the PSN, find migration paths to new services, and to develop a set of standards and guidance to help organisations in the move. It is also supporting the ultimate closure of the Crown Commercial Service procurement frameworks related to the PSN.

Image: Rozszerzonej Gwiazdy, public domain

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