Southwark council goes secure with flexible working

Implementation of hot desking at a new office leads the London borough council to implement a flexible working initiative underpinned with extensive security features.

RSA SecurID tokens

Staff at Southwark Council will benefit from flexible and remote working following the deployment of remote access technology and a new secure authentication system.

The London borough local authority, which employs over 5,500 people working at 190 different locations, wanted to improve efficiency, introduce more flexibility to its working practices, enable mobile working and increase user security.

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Having already outsourced some of its IT management, the council was keen to implement flexible working and hot desking for more staff in order to move core staff into a new office facility. The move will provide space for 1,800 desks but will need to serve 2,100 staff.

In order to achieve this, it has deployed a solution from Cambridge-based Signify. Staff are supplied with a RSA SecurID token for one-time passcode (OTP) generation. Using this, along with their known user name and secret PIN, Southwark staff can then remotely log-in to email, backend applications and services over the web. In conjunction with a council-issued laptop, full desktop replication is possible both in the field and while hot desking.

Signify operates the authentication platform as a managed service, handling everything from dispatching devices and rights administration to handling lost tokens or forgotten passwords.

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"There are major benefits to both the council and its employees by providing more flexible working options and with people moving around so much, it does not make sense for everyone to have a desk," said Richard Heap, business partnership manager at the council.

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"With staff working from home or in the field, we cannot rely on using simple passwords to log into personal client files, making a secure two-factor authentication solution essential."

Social services staff in Southwark are already uses the service for full electronic case recording remotely, reducing the need for dedicated office time and space.

The council is trialling a mobile broadband solution using T-Mobile 3G dongles so that more field staff such as the council's home improvement teams can file reports and maintenance requests on-site.

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