The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) has implemented a new system for identity and resource management that will allow staff to access resources on its network securely. It’s believed that this type of solution could act as an example for other parts of the public sector to follow.
The solution was put in place during the past year as part of a software licensing agreement between the DETE and Novell. According to Patrick Ryan, network manager at the department, the project had a return on investment of six months and there have been other additional benefits to the new solution.
The resource management tools have enabled staff to more easily maintain more than 1,200 desktops and laptops. The department’s computers are spread across eight sites, but by using the remote control feature in Zenworks 7, staff can fix PC problems, install a new application or run security patches on every machine without needing to visit the physical desktop.
Novell SecureLogin has also reduced IT helpdesk workload. The department saw a drop of more than 40pc in technical support calls, which meant it was able to go to its outsourced IT helpdesk provider and renegotiate its contract.
“The money [saving] was an extra benefit; the outset was better management of PCs in terms of security,” Ryan explained. “Because they’re more controlled, they don’t break down as often.”
The department has rolled out Novell Nsure SecureLogin that provides single sign-on for DETE staff and has eliminated problems around administering passwords. Novell eDirectory manages identities and security access for employees to log on to the network securely. Novell Identity Manager automates changes to user accounts, access rights and passwords. Novell eDirectory is used to synchronise identities with the department’s Microsoft Active Directory environment.
The implementation was handled by Maule Systems Consulting, a Novell partner. According to company head Kirk Maule, synchronising the directories reduced the administration of Active Directory to zero.
Kevin McAteer, client manager with Novell Ireland, said other public sector bodies could benefit from a similar type of solution, even if they are not existing Novell customers as the DETE had been. “This is the foundation for a full identity platform that is what every department needs,” he said. “Every department that is currently a Novell customer — or some that are not — have common issues such as provisioning users quickly and delivering services. It lowers the administration costs of people moving around the civil service. What we are trying to do is look at other departments where this would be relevant and share our experience.”
By Gordon Smith