Consultant secures global authentication

Ernst & Young has undertaken a global upgrade of its user authentication infrastructure rolling out new network access services to 110,000 employees.

Aimed at reducing infrastructure management costs, security authentication technology was previously managed at the country level by local IT groups.

The consulting firm did the consolidation by deploying RSA Ace/server 5.0 advanced software which supports SecurID hardware tokens recognisable by a unique six-digit passcode that changes every 60 seconds.

Combined with a PIN, an RSA SecurID token helps enable its rightful owner to securely access corporate resources, including an individual's local network resources, from any location worldwide.

Ernst & Young's engineering and development director Chris Tindall said infrastructure had become complex across the globe with 24 realms in as many countries.

"Any time we wanted to deploy a new service, each country had to make changes in its own environment before users in that country could enjoy the benefits of the service. Now that we have implemented the RSA Ace/Server 5.0 Advanced replication architecture, we have seen an opportunity to achieve significant efficiencies by consolidating servers and centralising administration."

Ernst & Young has consolidated its existing 24 realms down to three -- the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific region.

While site administration tasks remain under the control of the country IT groups, infrastructure management tasks have been largely shifted to the hub facilities, where it is easier to maintain a concentration of skills and provide around-the-clock support.

"The main business benefit is our ability to quickly roll out new global services and to provide reliable security control for those services," Tindall said. "Now, instead of modifying the infrastructure on a country-by-country basis, we can implement changes once and make them instantly available worldwide."

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