The Metropolitan Police Service in London required easily accessible email for extra police officers during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To avoid costly capital expenditure on its existing infrastructure, the Met wanted to quickly provision these users and then remove the service when no longer required. Microsoft recommended the Office 365 platform with Microsoft Exchange Online to give mutual aid officers a secure temporary email address that could be decommissioned after the Games, with no requirement to implement any new hardware or systems on-premises. Problem The London Olympic and Paralympic Games posed formidable policing challenges to the 50,000 strong Metropolitan Police Service. Providing security cover and maintaining effective policing throughout London involved the movement of 800 seconded police officers from other parts of the country to the Capital. The Met was committed to providing the volunteer and seconded officers with access to the best possible communication services to ensure operational efficiency at all times. However, with budgets under pressure, the Met was reluctant to procure new hardware for this temporary communications and collaboration service, or to incur additional operating costs in managing a new on-premise system.
Instead it needed a quick solution allowing the Met to provide accessible email functions for around three months to officers from other police forces to support their communications needs. Their mailboxes were used as a notification system which could inform newly-arrived officers when they needed to log-in to secure police systems for new information. With a pressing need to be ready for any eventuality, the Met wanted to avoid going through long complex and costly change requests on its corporate email system which is managed by an external system integrator (SI).
For the seconded officers the Met used the Office 365 platform—a suite of Internet-based services that ensure 24/7 reliability and robust security - as a notification system to other secure networks during the Games. This avoided the need for a system integrator to make changes to the corporate email infrastructure. The Office 365 platform uses Exchange Online - a hosted messaging solution that delivers the capabilities of Microsoft Exchange Server as a cloud-based service. It gives users rich and familiar access to email, calendar, contacts, and tasks across PCs, the web, and mobile devices. They could access their mailboxes over any internet connection through the public cloud - a key factor in the project’s success. Additionally, the Met IT team was able to self administer this Office 365 based solution without requiring external help. Sarah King, Project Manager, Metropolitan Police, says: “The business requirement was to quickly commission a new secure, agile, and resilient email system using the public cloud and then remove the service at the end of the Games to minimise any ongoing costs. Microsoft Office 365 with Exchange Online proved the ideal solution.”
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