Egress Software Technologies, a leading provider of secure communication solutions to local authorities, today announces Suffolk County Council is using Egress Switch Secure Email and File Transfer. Having moved to Microsoft Office 365, Suffolk implemented the Switch solution to secure and control the sensitive information all their employees share via email, including large file transfer.
Alastair Macartney, Customer Data and Insight Manager at Suffolk County Council, explains: “As with many local authorities, Office 365 offers Suffolk County Council the opportunity to improve productivity, enhance flexibility, and reduce IT management and cost overheads. One important aspect of migrating our infrastructure was ensuring council staff can share sensitive information securely at all times with third parties, including police, and health and social care providers. Previously, we had relied on password protecting sensitive information shared via email and then communicating the password via another means, such as over the phone. Staff found this an inefficient process so we took the opportunity of migrating to Office 365 to examine other ways to encrypt and protect this information. As a result, we chose to provide Switch Secure Email and File Transfer to all council staff.”
Suffolk County Council has approximately 4,000 employees split across four distinct directorates: Adult and Community Services, Children and Young Peoples Services, Public Health & Protection and Resource Management. Between them, these directorates provide services to over 730,000 citizens, and consequently send and receive sensitive information via email on a daily basis. As a result, the council sought to provide all employees with an easy-to-use solution that would offer enhanced information security and data protection.
Macartney continues: “Using Switch Secure Email and File Encryption, when sending information via email all staff need to do is select the relevant level of protection from a dropdown within Outlook. Just with the click of a button, they have potentially saved the council from a potential data breach and a monetary penalty from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of up to £500,000. Using Switch, we can also control what third party recipients can do with the information that’s shared with them, such as forwarding or printing emails and documents, and copying and pasting content. In addition, the detailed audit logs provided by Switch means that the council has complete visibility over the information being shared, including who has accessed it and what they’ve done with it. As a result, citizens’ sensitive information is always protected to the necessary level and council employees always remain in control.
“Another benefit provided by Switch Secure Email and File Transfer is the ability to do what’s known as ‘domain-based splitting’. This means that when a council staff member is sending an email to multiple recipients, some of whom have GCSX email addresses, Switch will send those via GCSX but will encrypt the others. This protects those emails being sent over the internet to third parties unable to access government secured networks. As a result, council staff don’t have to send two separate emails but can simply and quickly ensure all sensitive information is securely delivered to the recipient.”
The final project was jointly delivered to Suffolk County Council by Egress and leading security and infrastructure services partner SBL.
Egress UK Sales Director Kelly McCann comments: “Data protection in local authorities is more than a box-ticking exercise. As Suffolk County Council has demonstrated, using enhanced security and control functionality to protect sensitive information shared via cloud email environments is becoming a necessity of all council staff’s day-to-day duties. Egress provides secure email and file transfer services to approximately 30% of the UK’s local authorities and, as a result of these close working relationships, our teams are especially equipped to help councils protect and control citizens’ sensitive data. In particular, we look forward to continuing our partnership with Suffolk County Council as they securely embrace the benefits offered by cloud services, with the full assurance that Switch is protecting their sensitive information.”
About Suffolk County Council
The county council is responsible for a range of services provided countywide.
- Education and learning: Supporting schools, youth services, higher education opportunities and skills for work.
- Environment: Conservation of the countryside and public access to it, waste disposal and archaeological services.
- Leisure and culture: Archives and support for arts and museums.
- Public safety: Firefighting, rescue and emergency services, safety advice.
- Social care: Care for older people who require physical or mental health support services, supporting residents with physical or learning disabilities and children and their families who need protection and support.
- Public transport and highways: Maintaining and improving Suffolk's roads, footpaths and public rights of way, road safety and public transport co-ordination.
- Business and trading standards: Enforcing fair trading laws, protecting consumers and giving advice.
- Registration: Births, marriages and deaths.
Responsibilities for other services are shared between the county council and the relevant borough, district and parish council in Suffolk, including:
- Economic development and growth
- Emergency planning
- Museums and the arts
- Public transport
- Street cleaning
Suffolk County Council employs around four thousand people across all major services.
The county council was shortlisted in the Digital Council of the Year category in the 2016 Local Government Chronicle awards.