One of the UK's major police forces serve their community with a large team of police officers and police staff, including back-office support staff, police community support officers (PCSOs) and dedicated volunteers that include special constables and police youth volunteers.
Unsurprisingly computers play a key role in modern police work and are essential to the day-to-day operational efficiency of the force. Because the desktop is such an important tool, any abuse of it can be problematic. As such the police force appreciates the importance of having tight IT processes that help to ensure access to the network is carefully managed and monitored, and any vulnerabilities are minimised.
Alarm bells were raised when the police force's IT team became aware of a growing culture whereby staff were leaving themselves logged in on multiple workstations — something widely regarding as one of the most potentially dangerous situations for a Windows Active Directory network. To make matters worse staff were also routinely compromising their passwords by sharing them with colleagues. The IT team knew action was needed and tighter rules and processes needed to be enforced.
However, decisive action presented its own specific challenges. Without the tools or resources to help the IT team to properly train users, and routinely monitor and enforce the new rules it was a heavy administrative burden, and the system was still open to abuse.
In the search for a more robust, automated IT solution the police force discovered IS Decisions's network access and login auditing software UserLock.
The police force has now been using UserLock for nearly a decade and recently renewed its contract and completed a major upgrade to the latest UserLock platform. The force's enterprise technical specialist explains: “We've been using UserLock for a long time and it has evolved and improved dramatically over the years. It's hard to fault the current generation. It is a very polished piece of software. It just works and does exactly what it's supposed to do. The install is fast and simple. The reporting slick and the user interface very smooth.”
Despite what is a fairly large desktop estate the force has never experienced stability or scalability issues and speaks highly of the knowledge and responsiveness of the technical support provided by IS Decisions.
UserLock has allowed the force to set and enforce non-intrusive, context-aware access controls that define network access conditions for users. These restrictions helped the force to immediately stop its concurrent login problem, almost overnight. The detailed reporting and audit trail gives clear visibility of session activity and provides alerts if any of our specific user login rules are broken, so quick, decisive action can be taken.
UserLock's contribution to user training and best practice has created a shift in the IT culture within the police force by making access control far more disciplined and something users are more conscious of. Because users know they're limited to one session they're now more aware of logging off and signing out. The fact that users haven't been able to log on to multiple desktops has also had a big impact on reducing the number of calls to the forces' internal helpdesk.
Commenting on the overall experience with UserLock, the force's spokesperson said: “UserLock really does tick all the boxes in terms of being a robust piece of software, that is well designed and easy to install and maintain. It works seamlessly, with good documentation and support as a backup. If you're working in a Windows Active Directory network and need a reliable way to protect, detect and react to user access and concurrent logins, UserLock has this nailed.”