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Surrey Heath Council secures data with Captaris Alchemy

Avanquest Software : 16 September, 2008  (Application Story)
Full data encryption and password protection means that IT Managers at Surrey Heath Council have been able to secure their data against losses
If the worst happens, and old hardware finds its way onto eBay, organisations who have secured their data with Captaris Alchemy can breathe a sigh of relief.

An Alchemy document management system developed for Surrey Heath Council to add functionality to their Graphical Information System has increased security by adding two additional layers of defence to ensure data safety.

Standard data can be password protected and can only be opened with Alchemy Viewer. For the ultimate level of security 256 bit Blowfish encryption can be applied to further increase the level of security, dependant upon business needs. Databases will remain secure - the only thing that could be seen would be unidentifiable data containers.

The way Alchemy works at Surrey Heath:

Through their Graphical Information System (GIS) Surrey Heath council has direct and instant access to planning information, thanks to the deployment of an integrated software solution developed by Avanquest

Using the Captaris Alchemy document management solution, the archaic and time consuming manual retrieval of the planning history cards, essential for every planning application that is dealt with by the Council, has been reduced to minutes.

The electronic planning history card storage system was implemented solely to provide improved search functionality to archived electronic planning documents. However, the Council has been able to leverage their investment to provide electronic document management for an additional 5 departments as well as reinforcing their security policy with no additional costs.

Alchemy is integrated with Surrey Heath's central GIS system allowing users to access all the information required from a single interface.

Ordnance Survey maps are scanned and the 'dots' relating to the northern and eastern grid reference recreated as vector data and loaded into the GIS system. This allows the unique reference to be digitally embedded to facilitate lookup.

The planning history cards are scanned and indexed to the same N & E coordinates and given an 8 digit grid reference to provide the same unique vector point of reference, plus an address field for ad-hoc look ups.

Now that the maps are captured into GIS with the coordinates imbedded and the planning cards indexed with the same unique reference, planning cards are only a click away.

When users click over a coordinate on the map, planners are instantly presented with the appropriate correct planning history card. The information is viewed from the Alchemy server through the Alchemy Web Viewer, no one has to get off their chair or contact anyone for help.

James Rutter, GIS Manager at Surrey Heath soon discovered that other departments within the council offices were also using Alchemy as a read-only solution to access data archived by a third party bureau to CD.

Many Service Bureaus use an Alchemy Pro software license to provide an archived 'electronic filing cabinet' for their customers. Computer output files, scanned images, PDFs and many popular PC file formats can all be stored in the same repository, making them easy to find, print and email - without needing a server! Archived data is delivered back to customers on a CD or DVD with read-only access via Alchemy Viewer.

James Rutter comments, "Because Alchemy provides additional, independent search functionality outside the GIS system and retrieving documents from the Alchemy server is a simple and standard process, we were able to load these additional databases to the Alchemy repository to give other departments access, management and control of their data. We now have better security and data recovery throughout the organisation."
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