The UK branch of the international charity, Save the Children, has plenty of issues to tackle in its efforts to ensure children receive adequate healthcare, food, education and protection. The security around Save the Children’s data has now been enhanced due to reevaluating the security technology used by its staff. Save the Children’s diversified geographic spread presents some challenging logistical problems for the Global Information Systems Department at its London headquarters. Aid workers are based in remote areas of Africa, Asia and South America. Security however, is always a big issue as more employees need to gain remote access to centralised IT systems, which presents an increased need for robust security.
Single-factor authentication uses only one passcode to access classified data, so it is not the most secure option. But a more advanced solution could mean boundless costs and a complicated system overhaul. “Our existing security process used single-factor authentication, but it wasn’t enough,” said Andrew Brenson, acting Chief Information Officer for Save the Children UK. “ We needed to find a way of creating a two-factor system without incurring excessive costs to the charity.”
SecurEnvoy, the inventor of tokenless two-factor authentication, offered the charity the perfect cost effective solution in the form of SecurAccess. Using the SMS feature on mobile phones, SecurEnvoy transforms any mobile phone into a makeshift second authentication device. Organisations can easily implement high-security remote access for all their users with a mere touch of a button, which sends an authentication code via SMS. There’s no need for additional hardware such as tokens. This also makes SecurAccess a much greener alternative, as it has one of the smallest IT footprints on the market.
Andrew knew this would be a huge advantage, “When I considered that the majority of staff had mobile phones already, and could receive the one-time authentication code, it made sense to adopt the SecurAccess system.”
The atypical nature of the charity’s work often sees its employees in rugged working conditions – they are more likely to be in a Jeep in a far-flung location than at a desk. Therefore, the two-factor authentication could not rely on demanding a passcode at the time of logon. Other authentication systems work with passcodes that require a real time active GSM connection with no delays, which creates a problem for people working in remote locations and other places with limited mobile reception.
SecurAccess allows aid workers in the field to use pre-loaded passcodes. The next required code is sent during the previous authentication. So, the passcode stays on the phone until it is needed, doesn’t expire and works even without mobile reception.
“I was concerned the reception available to our staff in some locations would mean they were unable to access the authentication codes,” said Andrew. “If you’re in the middle of Africa and you try and log in you need to have a robust system of receiving the one-time passcode for safe access.”
Save the Children’s staff can now rest assured that they can access crucial information easily and reliably with SecurAccess and their mobile phones, wherever their work takes them.