We ensured our data was safe and secure

07 March 2019

Painswick village

Painswick village

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) administers local government services for a population of 630,000 in the south west.

It has a policy called Agile Working and, in the light of GDPR, it wanted to review data access. The aim was to improve security while ensuring that staff and partner user groups could easily access resources from anywhere.

It also wanted to replace weak, static passwords with dynamic one-time passwords using multi-factor authentication. At the same time the council wanted to consolidate its two on-premise systems which duplicated training and skill sets and increased costs.

The council’s ICT commissioning officer, Clare Cato, said: “With the GDPR deadline looming, we wanted to take greater control over who accesses our data. The introduction of multi-factor authentication was a key component to achieving that. Additionally, we wanted a solution that delivered a positive user experience and would be readily accepted, to achieve the maximum return on investment.”

After reviewing the available products, GCC chose AscendID, a cloud-based product supplied by IP Integration. It uses a range of authentication measures from OneSpan, formerly Vasco, to control who has access to corporate resources and the method used, including employees’ own devices.

IP Integration says the product was designed and implemented using a hierarchical approach as the basis for access to resources. Then profiles were set against the resources so that they would react to the security grades of users and where/how they access systems and data. So, for example, care workers can have different access rights to senior managers.

Authorised staff also now have access round the clock to a manned technical support centre in the UK and a secure web administration portal, where they can raise support tickets, run reports, check usage, add or request new users, replace old users, redeploy tokens to new users online and more.

IP Integration says the council now has much lower costs than when it was running two in-house systems and the costs are also simpler to understand: there is one annual charge per user, which includes set up. In addition, subscriptions come out of operational expenses rather than capital expenditure.

Ms Cato said: “...you almost forget it’s there. It just works, and works extremely well, which gives me tremendous confidence and peace of mind.”