University of Hull: IT Transformation Journey
The University of Hull is a globally renowned teaching and research institution, with over 18,000 students. It was established in 1927 and is based across two campuses in Hull and Scarborough, with a remote site in China. It also operates the Hull York Medical School in collaboration with the University of York.
To meet the challenge of improving its position whilst dealing with increased competition and budgetary constraints, the University embarked on an ICT Transformation Journey. The aim was to provide the best possible customer experience without compromising operational standards. To date, a series of extensive change programmes have delivered a range of new and upgraded systems and services. The benefits for students, staff, partners and other users of ICT services have been considerable.
Continuing into 2017, the ICT Transformation Journey is expected to result in further enhancements. However, the changing environment has seen an increased focus on efficiency and security, especially in the context of legacy systems and cloud based services. As part of this, a major challenge has been how to satisfy the demand for ease of access and BYOD initiatives, whilst seeking to prevent unauthorised access to services that might contain sensitive or important data.
To move forward, the University realised that federated authentication, single sign-on and multi-factor authentication would become key considerations. It also recognised that it would need to undertake a process of rationalisation, and choose a single solution that would maintain its standards, without affecting the level of customer experience it had set out to achieve.
Of the companies shortlisted to work with the University, IDM specialist ProofID could demonstrate full compliance with the requirements. The solution put forward by ProofID comprised PingFederate® and PingID, both of which are produced by Ping Identity, the market leading identity security company. To facilitate the deployment of these technologies across the University, ProofID also arranged to provide a fully managed service.
By choosing PingFederate, ProofID could replace the University’s Shibboleth service, which was being used to access a substantial number of library resources. They were also able to extend the SSO capabilities of PingFederate to accommodate a range of applications, including the University’s collaborative storage solution from Box, and Canvas, its new Virtual Learning Environment. The next step will see PingFederate replace the University’s aging Central Authentication Service, and be used instead of ADFS to support a planned move to Microsoft O365.
To address concerns regarding data protection, ProofID deployed a multifactor authentication solution using PingID. The enhanced security provided by the solution, along with its ease of use and extensive range of authentication methods, impressed the University and they have asked ProofID to apply the additional protection it offers to a range of applications and services, including their VPN.
The result is a streamlined customer experience that greatly assists the University’s operations, particularly its work to better engage students. Additionally, the University can now offer simplified access for external partners, including the Hull York Medical School. The move to a single set of technologies supported by ProofID’s managed service has also reduced cost to the University, and helped to improve efficiencies, and levels of security and compliance. “Ping and ProofID working together have delivered substantial improvements and developments that we didn’t think possible 12 months ago. ProofID have over delivered and exceeded expectations” stated David Jarvis, Chief Architect, ICT Department, University of Hull. Tom Eggleston, Managing Director, ProofID added “We are delighted to have worked with Hull University who are forward thinking and recognise the importance of the customer experience, whilst ensuring security is of the utmost concern.”.