As a large police agency with 1,500 law enforcement professionals, the Michigan State Police needed to provide its employees with greater accessibility to information and applications while maintaining the security of confidential information within its network and complying with federal security mandates. Working with Novell Worldwide Services, the State developed an architecture using Novell® Nsure™ and Novell exteNd™ technologies to provide secure access to criminal justice records and applications based on the user's identity, while providing a solid foundation for future growth.
The Michigan State Police uses a variety of operating platforms, programming languages, databases and criminal justice applications, which are critical for its local police departments, courts, state troopers and federal authorities. As the environment became more complex, the management of it across the organization was becoming more costly and less efficient. The State was committed to offering Web-based access to several critical applications, but with shrinking budgets, the State knew it had to be creative to find a cost-effective solution.
"Several vendors offered proposals, but Novell's consultants came in and said 'Let us show you,'" commented Gary Blair, agency information officer of Michigan's Public Protection Agencies. "We were impressed with how fast they were able to work with us to define exactly what we needed and develop a solution that supports industry standards and will scale to an unlimited number of applications and millions of potential users. They saw the potential of the project from the beginning and were true partners to help us be successful."
Using Novell eDirectory™, Novell Nsure Identity Manager and Novell iChain®, the department centralized all its user identity information and can now automatically synchronize it across multiple applications and use it to verify a user's credentials, enhancing security to protect confidential information. When users log in, they view a personalized page with links to the criminal justice applications they are authorized to access based on their identity and role within the organization. The Michigan State Police has also improved security with the ability to track user access to information, ensuring that only the right people can access confidential data.
State troopers previously had to wait in the office for access through common terminals, but now via the Internet they can get access from their own office or from their car, allowing them to spend more time serving the community. Each user now has single sign-on access to State resources, eliminating the need for multiple passwords, which has tightened security and reduced administrative overhead by 40 percent.
"Novell clearly has proven products and is helping define the market in identity management," said Blair. "Our Novell solution is the difference between the security of a hardware store lock and that of a bank vault."
Using Novell exteNd, the Michigan State Police integrated several critical applications into an identity-based portal. With the visual development environment of exteNd, the department can now develop new applications much more quickly, and the department is planning to integrate additional applications into the portal, maximizing the organization's existing investments. In addition, the State can now provide a single helpdesk for the portal, instead of one for each application, which has reduced the call volume by 30 percent.
"When you can't hire new people to do things, you have to use technology to work smarter," said Blair. "With Novell's help, we've implemented an identity-based infrastructure and created a dynamic portal on a limited budget without adding a single IT resource."
The portal has been so successful that the State of Michigan plans to add systems from other state agencies that will include applications for human resources, laboratory management and commercial vehicle management. While Novell consulting worked closely with the State to implement the solution, they also provided extensive documentation and training so the State's own team can now integrate new applications on its own.
"Other state agencies are now lining up to add applications to the portal," said Brad Stoddard, IT manager at the Department of Information Technology. "It's an opportunity where we can add hundreds of applications for millions of users, while providing decentralized control to individual agencies. It clearly utilizes the adage of using technology to do more with less."
Blair will discuss the success that Michigan State Police has had with its secure identity management and portal solution at the Gartner IT Security Summit in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 2004.
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