Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire County Council is a local government authority based in Glenfield near Leicester. It provides a wide range of vital services to over 650,000 local people, living in approximately 267,000 households across the region.
The council’s services are delivered by six departments which address the full range of public and community needs, including education, adult and social care through to property services, environment and transport.
The council carried out an overhaul of its working practices, to bring it into line with technology advances and to maximise efficiencies through optimal use of its ICT infrastructure. The goal was to offer its 2,500 remote working employees more modern working practices, by introducing flexible/remote working and ‘hot desking’ initiatives. These changes would in turn maximise productivity and create a smarter working environment, by ensuring that all employees, from senior officers and elected members to more junior staff and external suppliers, were able to remotely access the network wherever and whenever they needed. The initiative required the implementation of a new remote access solution and integration of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which is currently underway.
Due to the sensitive, and often confidential, nature of the information accessed by council employees, it was imperative that security was central to this overhaul of its ICT services. This would mean that anyone operating outside the control and protection of the fixed network perimeter was able to do so securely, without compromising the network to a data breach.
At the same time, the council also needed to ensure that it was meeting the compliance requirements of the Public Service Network (PSN). The PSN is the government’s high-performance network, which is used by a number of government departments. Because it is a shared network, the security of any one user connected to the PSN affects the security of all other users and, ultimately, the network itself. It was therefore fundamental for the council to demonstrate that its security arrangements, policies and controls were sufficient in order to gain a PSN compliance certificate.
Finally, as a public sector body, cost efficiency was an extremely important factor for the council and this underpinned all of these changes.
The council had previously used token-based authentication but it became clear that this solution was not going to meet the needs of the new smarter working initiative or provide a cost-effective price point. What was needed was a security solution that could be integrated into the wider ICT services offering as part of a cohesive solution for the future of flexible working, whilst helping to manage expenditure. In order to find such a solution, the council went out to tender.