Challenge: To secure communication and enable remote working for the council

Solution: e-Token Pass Authentication Manager from Safenet

Benefits: Employees can work remotely, securely, wherever they are on equipment of their choice.

“From 20 tender responses, Ecommnet’s solution and approach came out on top. We invested in a 1500 user two-factor authentication management solution – Safenet’s e-token Pass. Rapid uptake soon meant ordering a further 1000 tokens. We know that we have a market leading solution from a technically competent partner.”

As a local authority Kirklees Council needed to find a way to connect securely to specific internal resources from insecure locations in line with the Government Connect (GCSX) policies.  They were also challenged with growing demand to support the use of what they define as ‘unmanaged devices’ – external, often personally owned computing equipment, personal laptops, computers, smartphones, or even computers in libraries used by staff wishing to access internal systems and in particular, their email when away from the office.

Allen Haigherty, Technical Support Officer at Kirklees Council explained how they came up with a solution.

Security – of vital importance

“Meeting the stringent requirement for GCSX access and ensuring our own security policies were adhered to meant that we needed to take a thorough look at the options in the market place and so we decided to go to tender.  The response was great and we were able to select five strong proposals from the 20 or so we received.”

Critical Criteria – choosing the right solution

“We put together a matrix of decision-making criteria against which we measured proposed solutions and providers.  The key criteria were the security level of the solution, the cost, the quality of the support contract, ease of use and the look and feel of the product.

Ecommnet proposed SafeNet’s e-token Pass Authentication Manager solution and we selected them to provide a Proof of Concept.

Ecommnet helped us design and finalise the necessary infrastructure and ran the POC over three days.  During the POC, their installation engineer worked closely with Kirklees’ IT team to install, configure and test the system whilst fully documenting the installation process and the configuration settings for future support use.  Ecommnet also provided a day of training for both Administrators and Helpdesk staff around the use of the 2-factor authentication management console and the processes involved in the lifecycle of the tokens.

During our POC and subsequent move to live system, Ecommnet and Safenet provided a very attentive and responsive support service whenever we encountered problems.  Using Ecommnet’s web support portal to raise support calls and requests for changes resulted in a fast response.

We now have secure remote access to internal resources while ensuring security compliance.”

Authentication Management from Ecommnet

“The success of the POC gave us the confidence to go ahead and invest in supporting 1500 users.  The uptake was tremendous – there was a high degree of enthusiasm about the solution and the first tranche of tokens were quickly used up by employees keen to be able to access their email and work from home.

In particular our management enjoy this solution as well as Councillors, who often work from home or whilst on the move around their constituencies and find it invaluable to be able to connect to their email whilst working remotely.

We have since ordered a further 1000 tokens in anticipation of a wider scope of use for the solution and an expected increase in uptake of the solution.

A partner to trust

“We asked Ecommnet to both install the solution and train us to use it.  They were excellent throughout the process; clearly very knowledgeable about every aspect of the technology.

They are a personable team with great technical skill – they really knew their stuff and were able to overcome the inevitable challenges along the way.  Any problem that came up they solved pretty much instantly.”

“Having our Authentication management solution in place has helped us to comply with the Government Connect Code of Conduct and to gain accreditation and authorization to securely access the GCSX.  This means that management, Councillors and other staff can access regulated forums, and connect to and exchange information with other services.”

Getting on board

The feedback from users has been fantastic.  They like not having to lug their laptop to and from work all of the time.  They can simply get home and log in securely using their token on their own computer and it makes a big difference being able to respond real time to any issue arising.

Councillors now feel reassured that they can engage with their constituents or in political debates via email while away from the office, knowing the communication is secure.”

Great support and peace of mind

The bulk of our management staff and those that need and want to work more effectively, remotely, are now using the system and we have had no problems.  Ecommnet have set up a simple way of logging calls through a web front-end system.  We simply upload a ticket to the system to log the problem and the response and fix usually happens that same day.

We can phone or email as we need to, someone is always available and our account manager is always proactive in recommending fixes and new ideas – this kind of regular contact is very reassuring; it keeps us happy and using the solution effectively.”

“Ecommnet has helped us enable our key staff to work remotely, securely; something they had been asking for, for a good while. The flexibility to work from home on personal devices and respond to work issues in real time has been received well by management and Councillors in particular.”