Essex Online Partnership (EOLP) is an amalgamation of organisations working together on ICT projects across Essex. EOLP consists of local district, borough and unitary councils, Essex County Council, Essex Police and Essex County Fire Services. EOLP was formed in 2002 to work together to support the development of integrated and accessible local services to Essex citizens and businesses in ways that are convenient to them and would help organisations become more efficient. Since the partnerships inception over £1.76M has been saved across the enterprise.

The challenge

Each authority within the partnership managed their own authentication solution, paying varying amounts for renewals and tokens. Preventing the growth of strong authentication were up to 14 individual, potentially non resilient, expensive authentication solutions.

EOLP required a central resilient authentication solution that could be used by all the authorities. Furthermore EOLP required any solution to have the ability to add users and tokens at a minimal cost. Any solution was also required to scale to include citizens in the future.

The solution

Utilising EOLP’s existing secure private network Freja was deployed in a central resilient architecture, facilitating authentication requirements for the 14 authorities, allowing the use of free smart phone tokens via Google Authenticator as well as adding physical tokens where required.

The Freja solution also allows EOLP authorities to migrate from their existing authentication solutions seamlessly and in a timescale and manner determined by each individual authority.

The solution offers a personalised self-service portal allowing new token users in each individual Authority to provision themselves, as well as the ability to manage token troubleshooting via a simple to use web portal. This process in turn frees up Support personnel from this time consuming task.

The results

EOLP now have a solution that offers flexible token choice dependent on user and or application data requirements, including a free to use token. A solution that is able to scale to allow authorities the ability to increase the number of remote workers and provide 2FA to many more applications. A simple, yet resilient, centrally managed service for all 14 authorities within the Essex region.

Furthermore, the solution has the capability to expand the use of 2FA beyond internal employees out to more diverse user groups such as partners and even citizens. So a solution deployed on time with the ability to scale to many thousands of users with only limited fixed costs should physical tokens be required.

About Essex Online Partnership

EOLP were formed in 2002 to provide a collaborative service for 14 local authorities in Essex, serving a total of 1.7M people, to allow centralized purchasing and shared services.