One Connect is a pioneering £400m joint venture partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT.
It commenced operations in May 2011 as one of the largest public-private partnerships in the UK with around 1,350 staff who help deliver 10 key services on behalf of Lancashire County Council and West Lancashire Borough Council.
One Connect now enjoys a 10 year contract with the County Council, and is committed to delivering service excellence, improved delivery and a constant focus on innovation for the benefit of citizens, schools, businesses and organisations across Lancashire. One Connect is helping Lancashire County Council to save £100m over 10 years while, during the same period, driving the shared service model to other councils and public services in the UK and growing the business to £1bn.
Challenged with a complex security estate
When Lancashire County Council and BT established One Connect in May 2011 they inherited a large, distributed and complex estate. Furthermore, given the range of services provided by One Connect, from HR, payroll and procurement, to a customer contact centre, it was critical that they had the best information security.
After taking time to agree priorities, the IT department at One Connect decided that the nine discrete security solutions in place including anti-virus, web filtering, data loss prevention, email encryption and hard disk encryption were too complex, costly and inflexible for supporting the organisation moving forward.
In particular, One Connect needed to be more flexible and agile in the way that staff work, as well as how the organisation collaborated and shared information with its partners, including emergency services and district councils. According to Mark Orford, director of ICT within One Connect, "the discrete security solutions meant that the security culture was one of 'lockdown' rather than being 'security enabled' and customer focused."
An integrated security requirement
The One Connect ICT team decided to consolidate the patchwork of nine solutions into one centrally managed and fully integrated security platform. This would be a security consolidation on a scale rarely seen within UK local government. In doing so, it would reduce security complexity and cost, increase flexibility, and eliminate the vulnerability gaps formed with a best-of-breed model.
"In today's security landscape, plugging gaps will only get you so far as you are at much greater risk of a security breach, whether inadvertent or malicious. With an integrated security framework, the risk is reduced significantly because you are protecting the device, information, network and infrastructure in a unified fashion," says Orford.
He and his team spent time reviewing the vendor marketplace and speaking with independent analysts. After a full market review, One Connect selected McAfee because it because it appeared to be the only supplier that had an integrated suite of solutions and services for every layer - Security Management, Network, Information, and Endpoint. Along with the security solutions provided by McAfee, One Connect also recognised the benefits of McAfee's Security Connected framework as the foundation for their security strategy.
The ICT team is able to correlate and assess risk from a 360 degree view of security, drilling down from a graphical summary to asset level detail in seconds to make fast, smart decisions.
"We decided that McAfee was the best option for our needs - as a dedicated security vendor they offered us a seamless integration of solutions, services and intelligence," comments Orford. "We could harness their skills, knowledge and policies, while also having access to their dedicated services and support teams 24/7. This approach is ideal for our shared services model and our ability to configure standard policies for the requirements of each individual organisation."
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