Deltascheme Deploys EUM for Barnsley Council
Deltascheme is a UK-based Microsoft Partner that specialises in delivering a comprehensive range of professional IT services and solutions based on Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 as well as a number of complimentary 3rd party products. These services include helping their customers with Content Services, Digital Transformation, Business Process Automation, and Intranets & Extranets.
In 2015 Deltascheme implemented a SharePoint electronic document and records management system for their client, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. Barnsley Council is responsible for providing local government services to approximately 230,000 people who live in the town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire and the surrounding area.
Following the successful implementation of SharePoint, Deltascheme continued working with the Council and helped them to further leverage their initial investment and moved their Extranet into SharePoint. The Council works with many external partners, suppliers and contractors, and there was a recognised need to enable users to access information securely from outside of their network.
This was previously enabled by VPN connection into the Barnsley intranet environment, an internally-developed solution that was quite dated and ready for a refresh. The platform hosted a lot of content that was used by schools who purchased services directly from the Council. When the intranet was rebuilt on SharePoint, the only way of providing these external users with access was through the Extranet solution. EUM allowed Barnsley to do this securely with the ability to set reasonably complex password criteria, two-factor authentication and the ability to set regular reminders to check if users still need access.
For collaborators working on documents and gaining access to valuable communications, there was a real need to establish the "one version of the truth" that SharePoint affords. For users in the field who come into Barnsley offices very rarely, accessing the network and getting forgotten passwords reset was a challenge. The next step is to enable these field users to access the network from their personal devices, such as tablets and mobiles. (They are more likely to log into these, rather than coming into the office to use a PC or laptop.)
For security reasons, the Council needed a solution that would store external users outside of their Active Directory Domain. They required multi-factor authentication to be enforced for those users, however with the announced deprecation of the Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Software Development Kit (SDK), they looked to Extranet User Manager to provide a suitable work-around.
The EUM Solution
Deltascheme installed and configured Extranet User Manager into the Barnsley Council environment in record time. The solution enables a number of external groups and currently 486 users to login and consume internal resources.
Over 400 school staff in the region now connect to secure areas of the Barnsley intranet and are able to access vital HR policies and procedures documentation. Barnsley Council was also able to offer SharePoint services to the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and his 35 deputy Lieutenants. The solution allows consistent information to be shared between all members of the Lord Lieutenant's office.
The next group of users to come on board is service staff working in the field. This includes waste collectors, landscapers and maintenance crews. These staff are rarely in Council offices and most do not log in to the network at all. The Council publishes a staff e-bulletin that is aimed at keeping employees engaged and knowledgeable about Council initiatives and updates. This previously had to be both posted on the intranet and emailed out personal email addresses to ensure that everyone had access to it. Once in place, hundreds of users will be able to connect to the network on their mobile devices through Extranet User Manager. The aim is to create a bulletin email linking back to the central communications hub on the intranet. Group membership will be administered outside of IT, allowing the Communications and Marketing service to manage the distribution list. Ultimately staff communications will be a far more streamlined process.
In keeping with security requirements mandated by Barnsley Council, Deltascheme implemented several customizations and configurations to this instance of Extranet User Manager. External user accounts can have an expiry date scheduled, after which their accounts become deactivated and they are no longer able to log on to the extranet. An automated expiry notification email is sent to users prior to deactivation, and accounts get deleted from the system 90 days afterwards. An enhanced Password Policy was also implemented for increased security.
With the demand for multi-factor authentication a priority, Extranet User Manager was upgraded to enable first email validation and later text also. When external users log on, if it has been some time since their last log on, they are sent a link that they must click before being permitted to logon. When this 2-factor authentication first went live, there was a marked lack of complaints to the IT Department, which signalled a resounding success! At the same time, internal users are redirected to Windows Authentication so that they are automatically signed in to the network with their domain account.
Extranet User Manager (EUM) has provided Barnsley Council with an effective and secure solution for sharing information stored within our on-premise SharePoint environment to customers and partners. EUM offers a clean and simple interface for users and administrators, as well as the ability to configure a number of features, making the solution fit the organisation. EUM has worked well for Barnsley Council and future projects have been planned to expand our use of EUM, to simplify our staff communication processes.
A mention must also go to Deltascheme for their great job in installing and setting up EUM. Deltascheme were flexible in both timescales and meeting our requirements. Throughout the implementation project, Deltascheme provided help and options, making the project outcome a real success.
Acting ICT Manager – SharePoint, Barnsley Council
The Extranet User Manager provided a platform that Deltascheme was able to implement quickly and customize with Barnsley Council's branding, while enforcing requirements around policies, security and permissions. Hundreds of users have been onboarded seamlessly. The platform allows for future growth and integration with other applications.