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Resilience Direct partners with ANS to speed up emergency response

Cloud Technology

The Challenge

When floods, fires or terrorist attacks occur anywhere in the UK, emergency services need to work together on a coordinated response. That wasn’t easy with blue light service providers working from different systems and regions.

Needing to meet the Civil Contingencies Act – which requires emergency responders to share information to prepare for efficiently and effectively, and respond to, emergencies – the Cabinet Office funded ResilienceDirect.

The platform, running on the ANS Secure Cloud powered by VMware,  allows organisations like the Police, NHS, Councils, Armed Forces, and coast guards to securely share information, training, and best practices for coordinating emergency responses during major incidents.

Meeting first respondent demand

Working together, ANS and ResilienceDirect have evolved the platform to make it accessible to all blue light service professionals, 24/7, 365 days a year. Today, it consists of three main components:

Mapping overlay tool

Maps from different service providers can be overlaid to improve collaboration. In a flood, for instance, diagrams outlining areas prone to flooding from the Environment Agency can be overlaid with Local Council maps of disabled or vulnerable people who most need support in an evacuation.

Document sharing and collaboration platform

A secure intranet that enables the secure sharing of documents and training materials within and between blue light groups, teams, and organisations. These materials are used daily and when emergency service teams need to quickly plan and respond to a crisis.

A database of training material

An online platform featuring training exercises and manuals to help share information and resources between different first response teams and organisations. If a health worker is on location and is given an unfamiliar radio from the fire department, they can find a training manual on ResilienceDirect.

Keeping the service secure, and online 24/7 with ANS

In an emergency, people’s lives depend on emergency service providers having fast access to ResilienceDirect. It requires a Secure Cloud provider that can go above the SLA commitment to guarantee the best level of support. According to ResilienceDirect, this is where ANS stood out against the competitors:

The highest level of security

The information stored in ResilienceDirect is of the highest sensitivity, meaning security is an absolute must. ANS Secure Cloud powered by VMware hosts ResilienceDirect in ANS UK wholly owned data centres that are G-Cloud compliant, meaning the highest level of security is guaranteed.

Online all the time

ResilienceDirect must be available constantly – because nobody knows when an incident will take place. Because ANS Secure Cloud is based in ANS wholly owned data centres, ANS can offer the industry’s highest availability SLA of 99.999% – and ANS goes over and above that to make sure there’s never an outage.

Scalability to meet demand

On a normal day, ResilienceDirect might have 300 users – but that could quickly jump up to some 10,000 during an incident. Our VMware SecureCloud solution has the capacity to vastly scale up at a moment’s notice, so there’s no chance of delays or lags during an emergency.

A long-term home in ANS Secure Cloud

For ResilienceDirect to do its job, it needs to be available to any number of emergency service workers across the UK, at any time, as soon as a threat is detected. And with ANS hands-on support, this is exactly what it can do

Hosting Resilience Direct comes with an almost unparalleled level of responsibility - it is of critical national importance. ANS is the only provider we’ve worked with that has risen to this challenge

Helena Edwards

Head of Resilience Direct

The Journey

When the contract was put out to tender 6 years ago, ANS was selected to host Resilience Direct, winning the bid for our honest approach, quality of support and hands on service.

Since then, the G-Cloud 12 framework has been tendered for renewal twice, most recently in 2021, with ANS being appointed both times. By the end of the new contract, the relationship will be the longest ResilienceDirect has had with any hosting provider.

Over that time, the platform’s grown, expanding and improving. Initially hosted on dedicated servers, it’s since been virtualised and moved over to our own Secure Cloud platform, powered by VMware, to help make the service more scalable and efficient for first responders.

The Outcomes

As a result of this project, emergency service teams like police, firefighters, coast guards, or the military can save lives by accelerating and improving the efficiency of their response.

  • 782,786 documents added to platform and counting
  • 87,000 Emergency service personnel using the platform
  • 3,000 major incidents, including the Manchester bombing and the London Bridge attack.