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Public Services Network could close by 2023


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Public Services Network (PSN) could close down by as early as 2023, according to the latest indication from the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Mark Smith, head of PSN and cyber compliance at GDS, has signalled the intent in a blogpost on progress on the closure, first announced in 2016 on the grounds there are now technical controls for internet traffic that can provide sufficient security assurance.

Smith said GDS aims to have an estimated date when most organisations will exit the PSN by the end of March 2021, and expects some of the key applications to have migrated by that year.

“We anticipate a scenario where only a few organisations are still using the PSN, which would mean they would pay inflated network costs,” he said.

“It’s in every public sector organisation’s interest to exit the PSN as soon as possible and we believe this should be an urgent priority. The benefits will be a greater return on investment and a more secure, modern technology environment for the public sector overall.”

Applications issue

Over the past few months GDS has worked with central government departments and received feedback from local authorities on the issues they face in leaving the network. It has established that a significant number of councils are stull using applications on it, and it can be difficult to move them off because of complex dependencies on other organisations or applications.

But it has identified various migration options and now wants to step up its efforts to support the transition.

Among the steps identified by Smith to encourage organisations providing applications over the PSN to accelerate their migrations, to encourage those using the applications to plan ahead for migration, and to compile a roadmap of PSN exit for all application providers.

Alongside this, the Crown Commercial Service is running a project on exit from the Government Convergence Framework – a tactical solutions for a subset of services on the PSN.

Image: Rozszerzonej Gwiazdy, public domain

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