The introduction of two factor authentication for local authorities will follow down to businesses.
David Abrahams, CEO at Signify, explained that two factor authentication is being mandated to local authorities to be used for secure connections to the GCSx (Government Connect Secure Extranet).
As part of the ‘Code of connection' programme, local authorities have been contacted by Government Connect to be assessed when they connect to the GCSx. To be able to log on to the network, employees will need to use two factor authentication to ensure a secure connection.
Abrahams said: “There is now a deadline of March 31st 2009 to be up-to-date, although I believe that some authorities will have until the end of October. They will have to have two factor authentication in order to connect to the departments of work and pensions and children, schools and families.
“So this means access is given to the government network which links all government departments together. Because some authorities are still to meet the criteria, you need to prove that the network is secure so you can connect, but if there are holes in your network you can't connect. This has led to a flurry of enquiries in the last few weeks here to us.”
One council which has taken advantage of Signify's service is Southwark Borough Council, whose 5,500 staff working out of over 190 different sites and offices, will mean secure remote access is needed to provide more flexible working, speed up bureaucratic processes and paperwork and reduce office space.
Using a secure two-factor authentication service provided by Cambridge-based Signify, staff use a small RSA SecurID token – usually carried on a key ring - that produces a new unique one-time passcode (OTP) every 60 seconds.
Richard Heap, business partnership manager at Southwark Borough Council, said: “There are major benefits to both the Council and its employees by providing more flexible working options and with people moving around so much, it does not make sense for everyone to have a desk. But with staff working from home or in the field, we can not rely on using simple passwords to log into personal client files and a secure two-factor authentication solution is essential.”