Geordies unify physical and IT security

News by Richard Thurston

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is tieing together its building and computing access systems to vastly simplify its operations

Newcastle's hospitals have embarked on a major project to unify their physical and IT security.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is rolling out a single sign-on system across all its 11,000 clinical and administrative staff as part of a wider construction and modernisation effort.

The access system, based on Imprivata's OneSign product, will give staff access to buildings and applications through a single smartcard and password. Before the start of the project, they needed as many as three smartcards.

The Trust is currently witnessing a high number of password reset requests, making up over half of its helpdesk calls. With the new system, it hopes to reduce the figure by 90%.

It also hopes to gain a fuller picture of staff's activity across both physical and network resources.

"The Trust was looking to consolidate its physical and network security systems and reduce its management overhead," said Michael Mythen, acting deputy head of information management and technology at the Trust. "Using OneSign, staff will only have to use one card. This project is proving to be popular so far with both the IT helpdesk team and the general user population."

Mythen has now completed a pilot phase of the project, and a separate small scale rollout in the maternity department. He expects to complete the project by the end of the calendar year.

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