From our Swindon Correspondent:
Health chiefs are to spend £40million cutting the time doctors and nurses waste logging on to computers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the money will help deliver ‘the most basic frontline technology upgrades’ to staff using outdated systems.
In October, the head of the Royal College of GPs told him that it took her up to 17 minutes to log in to her surgery computer each day.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said she was still using the Windows 7 operating system.
Mr Hancock replied that such delays she endured were ‘totally outrageous’.
Look, you can’t go blaming Windows 7 for this. I’ve worked on Windows 7 systems that were reasonably quick and logged in within a few seconds. This is whatever’s behind Windows 7.
BTW They do know Windows 7 support ends on 14th January 2020, 10 days from now? Any nasty exploits someone spots won’t get a patch from Microsoft, and you’ve been told about this for years. The army of bureaucrats running the NHS know this, right?
Staff currently have to sign in to up to 15 computer systems each of which requires individual details.
Busy staff have to remember multiple passwords – or pose a security risk by using the same one across all their systems.
Bit of insider corporate IT stuff about this sort of thing…
Every large organisation I know has all their main user systems on single-sign on (SSO). It really isn’t that hard to do. Back in 2004, I was working on systems that used IBM’s Websphere single sign-on technology. User logs in on once and then any website they go to that is known as a business service gets a header with a username. The application just gets the username (useful for various purposes).
I know companies that just run all their internal web stuff, and simply get the username sent through from Windows (this used to be called Kerberos but it might be NTLM, not really my end of things). Anyway, it’s out of the bag on a Windows network and basically free. You can even use things like active directory to manage user permissions, so an application can say “does this user have access to do this”. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
And if you want to avoid that, and go with the all-singing all-dancing option for both internal and external users, where it doesn’t matter which desktop they’re on or the server they’re on, and want things like two factor authentication, there’s things like OAuth 2.0 which is basically free, a doddle to set up and is how things like authorising apps to use your Facebook and Google accounts work and has been kicking around for 5 years or so. When you’re authorising a funny cats app, they managed to set up OAuth 2.
What’s ironic is that the NHS is a centralised, hierarchical, Stalinist structure, but in the one area where the Stalinism is actually useful, they aren’t doing it. Having one password for all applications is good for security, good for productivity.