The Public Services Network (PSN), led by the Cabinet Office, is a government initiative aimed at reducing the cost of communication services across UK government and enabling new, joined-up and shared public services for the benefit of citizens. One of the essential requirements for PSN compliance is 2FA and Preston City Council found a solution that gave them a lot more than just regulatory compliance.
Preston City Council did not have a 2FA system in place, and so the challenge was not only to find a future proof solution that met the Central Government requirements in a cost effective way, it was also to implement a new element in their internal workflow. Ease of use was therefore an equally important requirement.
When Verisec and Enforce Technologies presented the concept of Freja for Andy Heywood at Preston City Council, he could see that the proposed solution matched what he had specified in all areas. In August of 2012 the decision was made to go with Freja. The solution was built on two components from the Freja family; the Freja virtual appliance providing 2FA and the Freja Self-Service Portal in order for easy provisioning and user enrollment. The installation was smooth and simple and in less than a day the system was up and running. The purchasing process was equally easy, as Preston placed an order through one of Verisec’s accredited patners, Enforce Technologies.The total cost was below the £50k threshold, hence no need to go to tender. As Preston initially had 248 users, they could get the SMB-license of Freja, allowing them to add up to 500 users in the system. If they exceed that number they can easily upgrade to an enterprise license and get the freedom to add an unlimited number of users.
From day one the solution has worked well and continues to be developed. As the Freja concept allows customers to add an unlimited number of applications to the system, Preston is now planning to expand the solution. The initial need was to add 2FA to remote access services but the flexibility of the system have enabled Preston City council to plan for an extension adding authentication for users accessing a virtual desktop environment.
Vibrant and exciting, Preston is England’s newest city, located at the heart of the North West. Preston City Council is a district council, working alongside Lancashire County Council as part of a two-tier local government system. The council spends more than £100million a year providing a range of public services. It is one of the largest employers in the area with 996 employees.