December 7, 2008

English NHS hospitals deploy SSO to enhance security and increase staff efficiency

Evidian’s Enterprise SSO saves time for hospital staff and cuts helpdesk password calls by up to 70%

Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages two hospitals in the North West of England, has successfully deployed a single sign-on solution across its wards to increase login security, improve staff efficiency and cut IT support calls.

The Evidian Enterprise SSO solution will simplify access to several unique healthcare applications. Authorised clinical and administration staff from all wards will log in with a single user ID and password instead of having to remember multiple passwords.

A key benefit of the solution is its ability to quickly and securely switch between users on shared computers. This enhances hospital security by minimising potential breaches and improves compliance by creating an audit trail of users. And staff productivity is improved, as they don’t need to juggle and remember several passwords any more.

The SSO solution has been so popular with staff that they are actually requesting to be signed up to it” says Steve Nicholson, IT services manager for Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “It makes their jobs considerably easier and more efficient and also encourages a greater level of security when it comes to the use of healthcare applications. It will also make our job easier as we start to deal less and less with password related problems – we expect it to cut IT helpdesk password calls by around 70%.

Although we evaluated four other solutions, we opted for Evidian’s Enterprise SSO because it offered greater granularity, flexibility and a wider scope of facilities – furthermore out of all its competitors the Enterprise SSO solution was the most cost effective. We were also extremely impressed by Evidian’s demonstration of how their system would integrate with our Meditech hospital information system – which was essential.

An additional benefit of Evidian Enterprise SSO is its self-service password reset function, which lets staff reset passwords themselves by going through a series of pre-set security questions. As well as eliminating many password reset calls to the helpdesk, it encourages employees to use the full range of applications available to them.

The Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust worked with Evidian to install and customise the Enterprise SSO solution at both locations during the summer of 2008. After installation, the initial focus was on integration and testing with the Trust’s key healthcare applications, followed by a pilot across 150 users. Enterprise SSO has now been rolled out to almost 1000 users - including the busy A&E department, and a total of 3500 employees will be trained in its use within the coming months.

Evidian’s solutions secure access to all types of corporate application – whether Windows, Citrix, Linux, Unix, web-based or mainframe. They combine multi-factor authentication with a plug-and-play SSO solution, replacing user passwords with digital signatures based on certificates, smart cards, USB keys or biometrics. Access is authorised according to existing security policies and enterprise directories.

Follow this link for more information on Evidian solutions for the NHS.