Standard Life builds VPN

Financial services company Standard Life is rolling out a virtual private network that will allow 800 staff to access critical business applications securely from any location.

Financial services company Standard Life is rolling out a virtual private network that will allow 800 staff to access critical business applications securely from any location.

The deployment, which is due to be completed in the summer, will improve productivity and save "tens of thousands of pounds" in telecoms costs by replacing costly dial-up connections, said Andrew Gordon, IS operations manager at Standard Life.

A pilot programme for the Citrix remote access server appliance began last month with two servers at Standard Life's Newcastle hotdesking centre.

Standard Life is working with consulting firm Centralis to implement Citrix Presentation Server and Citrix Access Gateway, the Secure Sockets Layer VPN appliance.

About 50 staff, mainly from the direct sales team, are trialling the technology, which lets them access Lotus Notes e-mail and workflow and Microsoft Office applications via a web browser.

Standard Life staff will eventually be able to access a Charles River dealing system, a portfolio management system, intranet resources and Reuters news feeds.

The global dealing system needs to adhere to strict regulatory requirements, said Gordon. Remote access therefore has to satisfy an internal audit team, a security team, third-party companies and industry regulators.

Gordon said the Citrix Access Gateway allows Standard Life to centrally control whether a user can view, download or print data or documents when away from a Standard Life office, based on the type of device, its location and how secure it is.

"As a result of the granular control that the Advanced Access Control option gives us, more users can be given access to the company network without risk of sensitive management information or customer data falling into the wrong hands.

"This is increasingly important in the financial services sector, where security is paramount," said Gordon.

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