North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) provides a wide variety of consultancy, products, services and support, including ICT services, to 25,000 NHS GPs in the North East, North Yorkshire, York, and Derbyshire.
NECS is engaged via the NHS' Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to bid for and deliver ICT services, consultancy, procurement support, application hosting, business intelligence products and services, business and clinical support, marketing and communications assistance and other important health and social care provision to general practices throughout the UK.
Head of ICT Infrastructure for NECS Graham Tye describes how Forfusion helped them to achieve tighter and more effective control of their network access across their whole client population:
"Our clients' use of IT is mission-critical," comments Graham. "They cannot afford any compromise in their IT service level and yet over such a large geographical area, we have little physical control over the devices at each practice location."
Outlining the problem, Graham says: "It's impossible to support 750 practices in person. Nor would clinicians want consultation hours to be interrupted by IT support personnel.
It's critically important that we control devices that are connected to our network... without this, our service's robustness, resilience and data security could be at risk from devices that are not managed by NECS or devices that are out of support."
"With such a geographically disparate client base, we needed an efficient way of managing network control, security and access across the whole of our estate," says Graham.
"The ability to protect the network perimeter remotely was vital. Access control, authentication, device identification and policy enforcement are the normal building blocks for a robust IT platform.
We knew that we needed the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) solution. We also knew that we needed technical expert help to implement the outcome we were looking for."