audiences, it is generally preferable to use the webinar format. This format allows a group of speakers to give presentations while the audience has the possibility of asking questions using the chat facility. The ESRF has purchased one such license, allowing a participation of up to 3000 attendees. Upon request, the Windows unit can flexibly allocate the license to any staff member.
As users were unable to physically attend their experiments, it was decided that the restart of the user programme would continue by authorising users to interact remotely with the beamline control software and tools. This solution required flexibility (e.g., to be able to meet the heterogeneous setup of the different beamline control machines) so that it was user-friendly and able to give a trouble-free user experience over a long-distance network, avoiding an impact on the local workload. Guacamole, an open-source project, was identified as an ideal product for ESRF requirements. Setup and tests were successfully completed on three beamlines in the summer, before increasing its general use in September on operating beamlines. Since then, this service, published under https:// remote.esrf.fr, has supported an average of 100 remote connections per day (with a peak of 250 connections) with an average duration of 2h30 per connection (mainly from Europe), as shown in Figure 151.
The current pandemic has necessitated social distancing as well as travel restrictions. Users are now required to conduct their experiments in
remote access mode. For remote experiments, the samples are sent to the ESRF beamline staff and the experiment is conducted using a remote connection between the users and the local contact. Remote experiments were already available at the ESRF for a small user community. To adapt the ESRF User Portal for all types of experiments, the sample sheet form, which describes the experiment sample, had to be streamlined so that it could fit any type of sample for any experiment. The sample submission workflow, as well as the A-form, were also modified, so that users were correctly orientated through the new procedures from the sample description to the A-form submission until the sending of the sample. The User Portal also improved its interface with the ICAT application in order to deliver all necessary information in due time to the new Sample Tracking system.
Signing documents by hand is time consuming and not well-adapted to teleworking and the extreme limitation of face-to-face meetings. Consequently, the ESRF decided to implement an electronic signature software application. Several products were evaluated and the solution provided by Universign was selected and implemented. The Universign electronic signature is based on a SaaS technology, is legally recognised and complies with eIDAS regulations. It guarantees the complete traceability of documents. Thanks to the Universign solution, the signature process has been considerably accelerated and simplified (Figure 152). This useful solution, necessary due to current circumstances, will be continued, increasing the efficiency of the organisation.
All these topics and technical solutions resulted in having more users (scientists and staff) located outside the ESRF and accessing IT infrastructure and resources. This means more entry doors to the system and an increase in hacking risks. It is consequently vital to enhance our cybersecurity level, developing, for example, an ACL (Access Control List) and prohibiting the connection of non-ESRF computers through the VPN.
S. Faure, A. Line, C. Nevo, J.-F. Perrin, D. Porte and S. Schulze. ESRF AUTHORS
Fig. 152: The ESRF electronic signature workflow using the software solution Universign.