Public Services Network (PSN) & Future Networks for Government (FN4G)

Recently, GDS have announced their intention to decommission the PSN (Public Services Network) as early as 2023.  This is an ambitious target which affects all users of the PSN and anything or anyone connected to it. 

What is the PSN?

The Public Services Network (PSN) is a Pan-Governmental network of networks providing OFFICIAL services to Government Bodies, Agencies and Arms-Length organisations in order to share data and communications be it email or other some other method of getting data to and from people as needed. 

It sounds quite simple doesn’t it? Well in essence it is, however as you can imagine, there are thousands of organisations using it and hundreds of services provided over it – so moving away from the PSN is no easy task. 

Why is the PSN going?

Surprisingly, it’s not only about money, which is often the driver for these changes, it’s more about its suitability for the future. 

The PSN in various guises, has been around since 1997, was designed at a time when the internet was a lot “wilder” and communications electronically with various departments and organisations was not standardized or as secure as much as it is these days… it was no wonder that a single system for communication was a boon to everyone! 

Historically, this has been relatively expensive for those organisations that do not have the in house skills to complete or the funding to put in infrastructure. More importantly, in order to get on it (and to this day is still the case) you have to ensure a level of security, and data assurance with systems integrity.

Today, where we have standardised secure ways of communication, much better and cost affective internet services and solutions which present a more effective way of working and ease of use – it was time for a re-think therefore, the public sector is now on a journey away from the PSN – enhancing the digital transformation aspirations of GDS.

Future Networks for Government

“The Future Networks for Government (FN4G) programme started in 2018 to help public sector organisations move to modern networking solutions and away from the legacy PSN.” 

“FN4G is focussed on the long-term future of networking for government” 

There’s no definitive right way to move off the PSN and consume services. We are still in the early days and there is a lot more information coming as to what and where services will go and how you will access them. 

The risk ownership is also a consideration. The core requirement of accessing the PSN is a Code of Connection (CoCo) and, as an organisationyou have to demonstrate you are compliant to be allowed onto the networkHowever the “assurance” provided by the PSN will no longer be in place – organisations and commercial providers will responsible for the security and integrity of systems communicating with others. 

Several organisations have already made the first steps and, in some cases, leapt onto providing services over the internet. What we do know, is that you will still need to provide the same level (or higher) assurances to those organisations you are connecting to. No matter how long the PSN has left, the overriding factor in all these cases will be the need to ensure that data is protected, risks managed and solutions are secure to these new services.

So with PSN not going anywhere soon; How can Nine23 Help? 

  • Do you still have expensive fixed infrastructure in place?
  • Still paying for expensive connectivity?
  • Need a managed service provider that can provide a fully managed gateway service?

No matter what stage you are in your PSN Journey, Nine23 provide Cyber Security solutions and services to suit your needs. Whether you need to migrate to a more cost effective PSN service, need assistance with professional technical advice, start your migration away from the PSN or connect to another public-sector network, Nine23 have the credibility & expertise to deliver value and be your trusted partner.

Our services are underpinned by a mature and PSN (Code of Service – available) accredited UK Sovereign private cloud Platform FLEX, that delivers the benefits of full compliance to the required Government security standards and best practises – ultimately enabling the end-user to operate securely. The access and network connectivity you need is already in place and certified for today’s PSN and the Future Networks for Government (FN4G).

Leave a comment