Infrastructure maintenance company Mouchel is using security technology from Novell to give staff, partners and customers web-based access to its business systems.
Mouchel's contracts range from management of road networks, bridges and public buildings, to providing school improvement and support services.
The company has staff at customer offices, as well as customers and partners, who need access to its systems, such as financial systems and databases. Off-site offices also have to be set up quickly, and as often as once a week.
Mouchel has built on its existing Novell e-directory infrastructure to provide secure web-based access using Novell's iChain, Zenworks and Modular Authentication Service packages.
Additional security is provided by a token-based system from Vasco.
Paul Hayler, group IT director at Mouchel, told vnunet.com: "From a web enabled PC with the right credentials you can get access to everything on the network."
He explained that the company needed a secure but "non-intrusive" way of delivering applications to staff and others, which didn't need additional software to be downloaded onto what could be a partner's or customer's desktop.
Hayler added that the company did look at virtual private network technology, but considered it too intrusive to set up.
Previously data was published to an extranet or sent out as paper reports, but this was costly to maintain.
"We noticed in the last 18 months that more of our workforce was working mobile and away from the office," he said.
Security is also a concern because partners that would need access to information as part of one project could be rivals on another project, so the iChain technology gives users access only to particular documents.
Around 384 staff and partners are using the system already, with another 250 due to be added next month. The company is using the same technology internally to provide single sign-on for 2,000 staff.
"What it enables us to do is deliver what clients need, when they want it, in a way that is acceptable," said Hayler.
Mouchel also plans to use Novell Branch Office and DirXML to integrate its GroupWise and Lotus Notes email systems.
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