Authentication-as-a-Service: Multi-Factor Authentication in the UK Public Sector

Last updated: 16 May 2016

CLAS Consultant Update

By Iain Kothari-Johnson

Public Services Network - PSN LogoThere is a growing number of UK government agencies deploying encryption as a way to secure critical information assets.  Equally as important is authentication, and in this blog I’ll be talking about the requirement of UK government agencies enforcing secure access to critical information.

Throughout the CoCo (Code of Connection) and PSN (public services network) frameworks, the cabinet office “recommends” that any remote or mobile device(s) should authenticate to the PSN through two factor authentication.   Although authentication is only a recommendation government agencies are taking no risks when it comes to securing access.  By way of an example, SafeNet Authentication is deployed in over 100 UK government agencies including; Central and local government and blue light services. Many of these deployments are a direct result of the PSN recommendation to authenticate.

We’ve seen the nature and subsequently the impact of strong authentication change considerably over the past few years.  Historically government agencies would deploy an on premise solution that would take care of authenticating remote users over a VPN – and that’s it.  Today, we know that organisations still want secure VPN access, but they also want to roll-out authentication to internal applications and SAS infrastructure, such as; Outlook Web Access, Office365 and Google Docs.  The cherry on the cake is to deliver frictionless authentication that integrates with any SAML platform, whilst remaining compliant.

SafeNet Authentication Service (SAS) delivers fully-automated authentication-as-a-service with flexible token options in a trusted cloud environment.  For local authorities that have an authentication platform in place SAS removes the complexity of managing identities and can be used to authenticate cloud applications, infrastructure and information.

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