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Government institutions seek counsel with SecurEnvoy

Local government agencies and institutions handle sensitive personal data every day, sorting through tax entries, electoral details, planning applications and other key administrative tasks. SecurEnvoy has provided local governments across the world with secure network access methods, helping to keep important data safe. For local governments, as with every other organisation, data security is always a concern – authenticated access must be easy to use, reliable and above all, secure.

These local and regional authorities also have a concern that is unique to them as public sector organisations – they are responsible for spending public money. As such, local government organisations focus on getting the best equipment and services for the best possible price. For local and regional authorities with mobile staff and remote offices, previous token systems were hamstrung by the need for a physical device. Physical tokens are fundamentally inconvenient – they are too easy to lose and need to be carried with the user at all times. The best security systems account for human error.

Russell Hookway, Network and Telecommunications Manager for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – and a SecurEnvoy customer – outlines an issue encountered by so many local authorities and companies: “The problem with the previous solution was that it was a physical device. This meant that accessing the network securely was an extremely time consuming process.”

Remote working is becoming increasingly popular, and councils need to adapt to the new ways of working as much as private sector organisations. Another SecurEnvoy customer, James Nightingale, Head of ICT Client Services at Cambridge City Council commented: “[Cambridge] Council encourages employees to maintain a good work/life balance, and being able to log on remotely is an important part of this. However, the more remote workers you have, the more the IT security risk goes up.”

SecurEnvoy has pioneered the development of tokenless two factor security that eliminates the burden of physical tokens. For the user, the whole process is simplified, while the systems administrator can rest assured that security is just as tight (and there’s no time spent replacing lost tokens).

City of Lincoln Council is just one example of a local authority that scoured the market and decided that SecurEnvoy was the clear choice for secure authentication. Dave Wormall, Principal IT officer said: “We required a cost effective, secure, reliable and flexible solution providing two factor authentication for remote access. We evaluated three products, including our existing supplier, during the selection process. SecurEnvoy’s cost effectiveness, ‘In Case of Emergency’ (ICE) services and reliability came through as the primary choice.”

SecurEnvoy’s SecurAccess system looks to use existing resources to improve and simplify the process of logging on to a remote network. Most councils issue key workers (and thereby those most likely to be working remotely) with mobile phones, and so it is through SMS text messaging that SecurAccess delivers the unique passcode necessary to login to a VPN or remote network. There’s no need for costly and inconvenient physical tokens, security levels are maintained and no software needs to be installed on the user’s mobile phone.

Dundee City Council also went down this route, selecting SecurEnvoy’s SecurAccess SMS option. Graeme Quinn, IT team leader said: “We were looking to enhance our VPN security, and liked the easy process for accessing our network safely via SMS. Nearly everyone these days has a mobile phone, so this limited overall costs. We thought SecurAccess would be a quick, easy solution to combat the security issues around remote access.” Quinn also appreciated that using SecurEnvoy’s products allowed Dundee City Council to adhere to standards laid out in The Scottish Government’s Code of Conduct for local councils.

In England, the Government Connect scheme has been put in place to ensure that all network communications between central government and local councils are secure. Peterborough Council decided to switch to SecurAccess, allowing the council to comply with Government Connect standards. According to Government Connect, two factor authentication is mandatory for all local councils. In line with these requirements, Peterborough Council had to update the authentication processes it was using for the majority of remote workers. “Although two factor authentication was always in the pipeline, Government Connect enabled us to procure this technology quickly to fulfil part of our compliance requirement.” said Mark van-Kerro from Serco, Peterborough City Council’s IT partner.

Another great advantage of SecurEnvoy’s SecurAccess solution is scalability: rolling out to 10 users is almost no different to rolling out to 10,000. Graeme Quinn of Dundee City Council added: “We have 1,000 licences at the moment, but we’ll look at increasing this in future. Our requirements are always changing and it’s great to have technology in place to cope with our developing workforce.”

To find out how your company – whether a private sector firm or public sector organisation – can benefit from tokenless two factor authentication, call SecurEnvoy on 0845 260 0010 or email info@securenvoy.com.

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