The British Medical Association have implemented an enterprise-wide single sign-on (ESSO) system to simplify login procedures for staff working in the office and from home.

The OneSign ESSO system, which was supplied by Massachusetts-based authentication management company Imprivata, was piloted at the beginning of the year and now has been rolled out across the organisation’s five central offices.

Frank Edwards, infrastructure services manager at the BMA, said: "We looked at software-based approaches, but the appliance from Imprivata was a better fit with our requirements. It was far easier to install, supported our applications almost immediately and requires very little training for end-users, who now no longer have the headache of trying to remember a variety of passwords."

Edwards told E-Health Insider that calls to the IT helpdesk had gone down: "We were having frequent problems when it came to password changes. There’s fewer calls coming in seeing that people have forgotten their passwords. It’s cut down calls to the helpdesk; they are a lot happier."

The need for a single sign-on system came when the BMA moved to an Active Directory system as part of an infrastructure shake-up. Multiple passwords were needed to access the new network and to use the Lotus Notes collaborative e-mail client system.

"As a result of our security policy, workers had to remember an increasing amount of passwords. We felt there was a genuine need for single sign-on. We really wanted to find a solution that was simple to implement and that would cause little or no disruption to end-users," explained Edward.

A total of 800 staff are now using the system. Four applications have been connected to the service with more on the way. Edwards added that the next sector to receive the system will be the BMA’s publishing division.

Wayne Parslow, vice-president of European operations at Imprivata, said: "The BMA wanted to make it easier for users to access their everyday applications and to increase the security of sensitive documents and information."