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TrustBuilder powers the notarial profession’s move to the cloud

At the end of 2022, Fednot, the Royal Federation of Belgian Notaries, reached a key milestone in the digitization of its services to Belgian notaries and the general public. Moving its Identity and Access Management (IAM) to the cloud allows Fednot to serve its customer base more efficiently and expand its services.

JolienJans_Fednot

We are really looking forward to investigating the extra connectivity options that will become available to us. It is certainly a bonus that management and upgrade of connectors will come automatically in the cloud model, rather than having to implement upgrades and updates on our own servers.

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On a yearly basis, 2.5 million citizens and entrepreneurs consult a Belgian notary at a key moment in their personal or professional lives. The notary is a trusted advisor who delivers tailor-made advice and services on matters such as marriage, divorce, purchasing or selling a house, setting up a company or settling a legacy or inheritance. Fednot (Royal Federation of Belgian Notaries) supports notaries by providing legal advice as well as advice on managing their firms, IT solutions and training. Fednot also takes care of informing the general public. Fednot has a network covering more than 1,600 notaries and about 10,000 staff.

The strategic importance of access management

As notaries deal with personal and sensitive information, it goes without saying that Fednot attaches a great deal of importance to security, data protection and privacy. “Access Management is of strategic importance to us,” says Dominique Walravens, Solutions and Lead Architect at Fednot. “On the one hand, data security is key to notaries. On the other hand, we also provide connectivity to institutional partners such as federal government agencies and banks. They require us to use strong identity management and authentication.”

Fednot started digitizing its processes as far back as 2001. “Digital transformation is unthinkable without Identity and Access Management,” says Jolien Jans, Cluster Manager Platform at Fednot. “We view our TrustBuilder solution as a gatekeeper for our services, protecting us from potential intruders.”

At Fednot, TrustBuilder protects access to both citizen-oriented applications and the professional applications notaries use, as well as the connectivity to partner applications. TrustBuilder was introduced at Fednot in 2016, when the organization was looking for a way to secure mobile access to services, especially for its applications for citizens. “Mobile authentication was increasingly important, as people don’t always have a eID-reader available. Nowadays, most people are equipped with a smartphone they can use to authenticate,” said Walravens. TrustBuilder supports a wide variety of mobile authentication methods, including local solutions like the BOSA Federal Authentication Service (BOSA FAS), the Belgian eID card and itsme. Currently, Fednot is also looking forward to eIDAS support to also grant access to European citizens.

DominiqueWalravens_Fednot

We find it important to provide our own identity to other applications that are not necessarily controlled by us. When we are part of a larger process, we want to be a trusted party in that entire flow.

Federated Identity Management was another capability that Fednot was looking for. “We find it important to provide our own identity to other applications that are not necessarily controlled by us,” said Walravens. “When we are part of a larger process, we want to be a trusted party in that entire flow.”

Beside the 90 applications that Fednot offers the notaries, TrustBuilder also protects applications for the general public such as Naban (which stores a citizen’s authentic deeds), StartMyBusiness (the Belgian platform for the online incorporation of a company, association or foundation) or the digital vault IZIMI.

“Single Sign-On (SSO) makes life easy for citizens, who can move from one application to another, but for notaries and their employees, SSO is an absolute must-have,” said Jans. “They can log in to our platform in the morning and get access to all our applications without having to authenticate again and again throughout the working session.” Extra security is built into the applications to ensure that notarial staff only get access to applications they are authorized for.

Taking to the cloud

Fednot is part of an ecosystem that includes government agencies, banks and other applications such as the secure digital securities register eStox. “To us, it is definitely an advantage that TrustBuilder offers a wide range of connectors to different applications,” said Jans. “Support for APIs is very important, for instance for connectivity to the document management platforms notaries use, or to real estate applications. We are also actively engaging with different ecosystem partners to offer extra services to notaries and the general audience.”

As Fednot is migrating from an on-premise deployment of TrustBuilder IDHub to the cloud version of TrustBuilder.io, maintenance of the IAM solution will become more efficient to Fednot. “We are really looking forward to investigating the extra connectivity options that will become available to us,” said Jans. “It is certainly a bonus that management and upgrade of connectors will come automatically in the cloud model, rather than having to implement upgrades and updates on our own servers.”

A true partnership between TrustBuilder and Fednot

“Over the years, we have established a good partnership with TrustBuilder,” said Jans. “We have seen a steady increase in the quality of the solutions and the managed services we get. There is a good two-way communication between TrustBuilder and Fednot. To me it is really positive to work with a company that is locally organized and has a feel for the Belgian and European market.”

“As we say in French, we are ‘à tu et à toi’,” confirmed Walravens. “We have a lot of touchpoints, with monthly service meetings that become more frequent if we are working closely on a project, like the current migration to the cloud. We also have half-yearly strategy meetings where we discuss our objectives and TrustBuilder shares its roadmap. It feels good to know that TrustBuilder listens to our suggestions of new functionalities that we require and then builds these into its roadmap.”

Compared to most other European countries, the Belgian notaries are well advanced in their digital transformation. IAM is a prerequisite in establishing trust throughout the notary ecosystem that Fednot is continuing to develop. “From their legal background, notaries attach a great deal of importance to data protection, and privacy regulations such as GDPR,” Jans concluded. “For TrustBuilder, it’s really a quality seal to play such a crucial role in our overall IT architecture.”

Challenges

  • Fednot wanted to offer mobile authentication to its users
  • The notaries required Single Sign-On for the Fednot applications
  • Fednot wanted to build secure connectivity towards ecosystem partners

Results

  • TrustBuilder delivers an end-to-end IAM solution that delivers a full suite of capabilities such as SSO, Federated Authentication…
  • TrustBuilder supports OpenIDConnect for the connectivity to external applications
  • TrustBuilder supports a wide range of Identity Providers, such as BOSA FAS, itsme, eID…
  • With TrustBuilder.io, TrustBuilder delivers a cloud solution offering easy maintenance of connectivity