How to save money while adding functionality

The London Borough of Bexley needed to extend the number of users in their authentication system and also add new functionality, without increasing the budget. The solution was to migrate from a costly proprietary system to a solution based on open standards including the Atos eThos Autenticator and the Freja appliance from Verisec.

The challenge

Paul Warricker at the London Borough of Bexley faced a dilemma. On the one hand, he was managing an existing authentication system which was costly and based on a per-user licensing model. But he also needed a system that could be expanded when required, reflecting the changing structure of the organisation, without an increase in budget. In addition to this Bexley needed to add functionality for connecting with Central Government Services and prepare the system for regional access – all of this without additional overall spending.

The solution

Verisec presented an idea that at a first glance seemed a bit too good to be true. If Bexley would migrate from their current system to the Atos eTHOS Authenticator, based on the flexible Freja triple A appliance from Verisec, they would solve all their problems in one go. The system allowed them to add unlimited number of users at no extra license cost. As the system was based on the open OATH-standard they were free to choose from a wide range of tokens. Since an open standard token on average cost 80% less than a proprietary token, the overall savings would be substantial. On top of the good news it turned out that the Freja Appliance already had all the functionality for regional access and governmental connections built in, meaning no extra cost for this additional functionality.

The results

A Verisec engineer installed the Freja Appliance in less than three hours after-which the system was up and running. After almost one year, the number of support calls to the Atos Helpdesk has been fewer than five, in total. The migration from the previous system was also very smooth as Freja will handle and redirect requests to the old system, in a way which is transparent to the users, until the new Freja Solution is fully deployed.

Flexible working is a natural part of Bexley’s ambition of improving productivity as well as giving their employees a better balance in their work and life. Remote access, with strong authentication, is a critical factor to achieve this. From a user point of view, the new system was very easy to start using. From a technical point of view, the eTHOS framework was a starting point for a more cost efficient and future proof solution for Bexley’s authentication needs.

About London Borough of Bexley

Situated in the south east of Greater London, was formed in 1965, under the London Government Act. Today, the borough has a population of 232 000 people. The council, with more than 5000 employees, is responsible for a wide range of services and plays a key role in representing the interests of the local community.