GDS emphasises continued need for PSN compliance

Senior official says public authorities still need Public Services Network certificate – despite long term plan to run it down

The head of compliance for the Public Services Network (PSN) has told government organisations that they should still ensure they have a valid compliance certificate for using it, despite recent indications that the should look to use the internet to exchange data.

PSN compliance certificateMark Smith, who leads the relevant workstream in the Government Digital Service (GDS), has said in a blogpost that organisations connected to the PSN will still have meet the assurance requirements if they want to reach important government and law enforcement services.

“If you’re a PSN-connected organisation or provide a service over the PSN, you’ll need to ensure you continue to demonstrate to us that your organisations’s security arrangements, policies and controls are sufficiently rigorous for us to allow you to interact with the PSN and those connected to it,” he says in the post.

“That means you’ll need a valid PSN compliance certificate – and do everything you’ve been doing to get one and maintain it – for the foreseeable future.”

This follows the announce in January encouraging government organisations to use the internet rather than the PSN, on the grounds that there are now technical controls that can provide sufficient security assurance.

Network of networks

The PSN was launched in 2011 as a ‘network of networks’ for the public sector, with the aim of providing a level of information security not obtainable at the time through regular internet connections.

Smith adds that when government moves away from using the PSN, it will remain important for public authorities to show they are doing the right thing in using government services and data. This will involve providing similar levels of trust to that provided by the network.

He suggests that his team has been working on the approaches that could make this possible, saying it has been looking at ways to “expand and reframe PSN compliance in a new context”.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0