Access Boston portal (City of Boston/YouTube)

2019 Government Innovation Awards

An identity crisis no more

Two years of work, three tools and 22,000 employees added up to one new identity and access management program. Called Access Boston, it centralizes reliable access to information and technology resources while increasing security.

The city’s cybersecurity team combined SailPoint’s IdentityIQ, Ping Identity’s suite of tools and Radiant Logic’s RadiantOne FID into a self-service portal. City employees can now access many central applications that the Department of Innovation and Technology runs, such as intranet and building maintenance requests, with a single sign-on — in other words, “all those things that were disparate and in various places,” said Gretchen Grozier, the department’s project manager.

In addition, Access Boston works on any device, a boon to the many employees who rarely see an office. For instance, parking inspectors, who are in the field all day, can use mobile devices to request a day off, change their personal email address or update their marital status.

“It’s been really helpful for people who aren’t hardcore computer users” to be able to access city applications and data without making a trip to the office, Grozier said.

Access Boston, which went live in April, relies on a stronger password policy that features multifactor authentication, role-based privileges and automated termination of access when employees leave their city jobs.

“We secured our technology systems, but we also provide convenient and reliable access for end users, which was really important to making sure that everything is really, really secure,” Grozier said.

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