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Network access control for Oxfordshire County Council

Pirean : 20 October, 2009  (Application Story)
Secure e-learning environment provided for students and staff with Pirean's Compliance:One network access control solution
Pirean has announced that Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) has selected Pirean Compliance:One to securely manage access to software applications for over 100,000 students and staff. This selection will enable OCC to meet critical targets set by the Government Connect initiative and Data Protection Act while streamlining access to digital resources at the county's 285 educational facilities.

Pirean Compliance:One, built to provide a robust framework for complex Identity, Access and Audit Management functions, will save IT administrators hundreds of work hours while improving the end-user experience through offering a self-service provisioning solution from a centrally managed console. The solution provides clarity and control over which users can access which resources.

Through choosing Compliance:One, OCC will be able to manage the integrated secure single sign-on to users registered within 300 separate databases, simplifying the process for both administrators and end users as the system manages the security infrastructure which parents use to access the council's systems remotely to monitor each child's curriculum and progress.

"Compliance:One has been selected for its ability to integrate with the systems we use from Capita, Citrix and RM which are vital for our delivery of e-learning" explains Stephan Conaway, Head of ICT Services at Oxfordshire County Council.

Going forwards, Compliance:One will play a key role in assisting OCC to meet critical requirements under Government Connect, a pan-government programme providing an accredited and secure network between central government and every local authority in England and Wales. The network is known as GCSX (Government Connect Secure Extranet). GCSX is part of the wider Government Secure Intranet (GSi) and provides connectivity to nearly all-central departments.

The project for OCC is part of the UK governments' substantial investment in e-learning technology and materials in schools in England and Wales. The effective use of high quality, digital interactive materials can enhance the National Curriculum and focus on the talents and abilities of individual pupils. Parents can also monitor and contribute to their child's learning through the portal, as well as enabling schools to offer extended learning to the parents themselves.

"The problem many county councils are finding is that these types of learning portals require technology from several vendors and trying to secure and manage so many disparate systems is incredibly complex and expensive," explains Mike Cartwright, CTO for Pirean, "Compliance:One provides a powerful framework to integrate each element and provide a single security and management platform irrespective of which combinations of web presentation technology, Virtual Learning Environment provider and database technology are used during the creation of the service ."

With Compliance:One, county councils can define policies for access control and security, which each school can use with self-service web technologies. The system implements a closed-loop solution for policy enforcement, account provisioning and audit. The centralised and accurate reporting of application usage will provide OCC information that can be used for more efficient asset management and reduction in on-going software costs of ownership.

Compliance:One was originally designed to meet complex compliance requirements within large financial institutions, organisations which need to assign policy driven, secure and audited access to hundreds of applications for tens or even hundreds of thousands of users spread across disparate locations.

"The worlds of education and banking may appear to be quite different, however the needs of managers and staff actually mirror the relationship between teachers and pupils when it comes to providing access to applications - whether that's a brokerage system or an e-learning platform, the processes are very similar," explains Mike Cartwright, CTO for Pirean, "One of the key features of Compliance:One is a library of application interfaces that spans hundreds of common (and bespoke) systems allowing us to quickly bring software into a common management framework."

The solution rollout commences in October 2009 and will streamline rights management and ensure the security of the council's systems and data, providing a central management and oversight capability. Compliance:One will also offer each educational establishment customisable interfaces, tailored reporting and key security compliance in line with UK Government Connect requirements.
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