Novell strengthens security for four UK police forces

Novell today announced that four UK police forces are using its technology to provide a robust, secure platform for their mission critical applications. Cambridgeshire, Kent and Suffolk Constabularies, along with Merseyside Police have all opted for Novells Strategic Enterprise Agreement. This package includes seven of Novells leading software solutions including the NetWare operating system and identity management. In total 18,000 employees from across the four police forces will immediately benefit from the new technology by being able to access information more quickly and collaborate securely on projects.

Information security is a high priority for law enforcement organisations. The nature of police work frequently requires shift workers to share computers without compromising the confidentiality of investigations. This creates a unique set of challenges in terms of access control and software management. Additionally, a totally secure communications and messaging platform is crucial to enable forces to collaborate seamlessly on projects. Reliability is also a key consideration, given that applications such as the 999 Command and Control function which despatches officers to incidents must be up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Novell has created a package of technology specifically designed for public sector organisations called the Strategic Enterprise Agreement (SEA). The SEA includes Novell Open Enterprise Server (formerly known as NetWare); Novell SecureLogin, Novell Account Manager; Novell BorderManager; Novell GroupWise and Novell ZENworks. This complete technology infrastructure provides a robust operating system, identity management and access control capabilities, e-mail, collaboration and resource management. It also allows the IT department to have a single view of the network from where they can distribute software and security updates, repair and maintain desktops and servers, and support different operating systems around the network.

In addition to award-winning software, the Novell SEA is a compelling financial choice. The customer only has to pay once for seven commonly used software packages under a fixed rate contract which runs for three years. The package costs from as little as 60 per workstation or per user, whichever is more cost effective for the customer.

Chris Pyne, IT support manager for Merseyside Police comments that, the SEA is a flexible package, which suited us. Like many police forces we have a lot of shift workers sharing desktops and we can choose to pay for licenses per computer rather than per employee, which is far more cost effective for us. Novells SEA is also future-proof for three years, ensuring that we have access to the latest updates and allowing us to pay for a range of different software with just a single license.

As well as thinking about the functionality we needed for our IT systems, we also had to consider our long term financial commitments, adds Andrew Barker, head of IT for Kent Constabulary. Some proprietary vendors have very restrictive packages that incur high licensing fees and do not offer software assurance for future versions of their technology. The really nice thing about the SEA is the simplicity of the licensing model. It enables us to budget accurately for the cost of information technology for the next three years, as prices are fixed from the start.

The Strategic Enterprise Agreement in practice
Cambridgeshire Constabulary has 1,500 computers and 2,200 staff working in shifts. This makes controlling access to more than 30 applications, including the forces 999 Command and Control function, its informant database and the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES), a vital but complex, administrative arrangement. Access to IT resources needs to be reliable and consistent with a minimum of downtime. It is also important that staff are only able to view files that are applicable to their job function.

The SEA package has enabled Cambridgeshire Constabulary to modernise its network and address these IT management challenges. Cambridgeshire Constabulary has established a very reliable platform for mission critical applications such as the 999 Command and Control function using Novell NetWare clustering. The force is also deploying single sign-on authentication using biometric fingerprint scanners so that all employees can log-on securely to their desktop and personal files from any computer terminal in the force.

Security and reliability are paramount for our organisation. We evaluated a number of solutions and found Novells Strategic Enterprise Agreement offered the protection, ease-of-use and interoperability that we require, says Graham Broom, corporate support services director for Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The deployment is proving so successful that we have been running demonstrations for other constabularies in the Eastern region of England. The system is proving easy to export to other forces because it can interoperate with any existing operating system.

Ronan Doorly, development resources manager at Suffolk Constabulary concludes, "We need the flexibility to implement upgrades and products, based on genuine value and ease of deployment, rather than on external, market engineered factors. The ease of management of this agreement, the value for money it offers, and the technology it provides, are hard to beat. Network services, user management and security technologies have been logically consolidated. The agreement gives us access to products which are dependable and scalable, with low overheads".

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