11 August 2017
All of the NHS operating groups in Lincolnshire have moved from an expensive legacy remote access solution to a new platform provided by ANSecurity.
It’s claimed the migration has “dramatically” reduced licencing costs, improved access to more sites across a wider range of devices, and simplified management requirements.
The unified remote access service deployed by ANSecurity is shared within a community of interest network (COIN) between the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULH), Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), and Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT). It serves more than 2,000 users at 111 sites spread across the county.
“We have a lot more remote workers who need access on the move and the old solution struggled to provide access in a reliable fashion,” explains Dan Dring, acting head of IM&T, LCHS. “We are using more IT systems than ever before across the NHS, and we need to be able to offer our staff reliable access to all applications 24 hours a day.”
The transformational implementation in late 2016 was delivered by ANSecurity for ULH as a multi-phase project to redesign parts of its core infrastructure to improve the flexibility of its secure remote access and reduce costs.
The project uses a high availability deployment of Pulse Secure Connect Secure virtualised appliances. These are installed at two separate sites for resiliency and maintained by the IT team at ULH which leads the project.
The deployment includes a license server to enable the organisations to define additional licenses as either NAC or SSL connections to ensure future flexibility. The server is based on concurrent users which allow the COIN to scale its licence requirements to better reflect the shift based working patterns within the NHS.
The jointly financed service is available to NHS staff across Lincolnshire and provides secure access to administrative and clinical systems, expenses and staff records, and network shared drives.
It uses an SSL VPN authenticated by NAC plus local device checking to ensure that users are logging in from devices that have an authorised operating system version along with ensuring each device uses encryption.
The service’s two factor authentication feature is now available as a smartphone app to further reduce management overheads associated with handling physical tokens.
There are future plans to adapt the local device checking policies to further strengthen security, as well as moving the Pulse appliances to a clustered mode to allow the scaling up of services as more users as added.
Dring calculates that the move to the shared model will save LCHS between £30,000 and £40,000 a year in licensing and support costs.