To ensure good purchasing terms for all units within the church, WGKD mbH concludes master agreements with a variety of suppliers. Its associates are the Association of Dioceses in Germany, the German Caritas Association, the Protestant Church in Germany, the Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung, and the German Conference of Superiors of Religious Orders. WGKD mbH sought a solution to ensure the secure use of Office 365 in compliance with German privacy laws.
Of course, church-run enterprises also need IT services to support their internal workflows, as well as to maintain communications with customers (such as with parents at nursery schools and other schools). Mails, file-shares, and videoconferences and chats provide a variety of possibilities. These units are increasingly replacing their conventional on premise Office installations with the modern Microsoft Office 365 solution from the cloud, with its many collaboration options.
Education and care are “people businesses”. They center on people as customers and service providers. Personal data also has to be exchanged securely in other business areas, which raises privacy issues with the deployment of Office 365. Microsoft saves chat sessions and email on its servers, for instance – a practice regarded critically by many privacy advocates. How can Office 365 be used by churches securely and in compliance with German privacy laws – and without disturbing familiar workflows?
Thanks to the Cloud Privacy Service by T-Systems, church organizations can enter the modern world of collaboration, based on Office 365, with a clear conscience.
Georg Faßbender, Head of IT Business Area, Business Community of Churches in Germany (WGKD mbH)
T-Systems and eperi offer a suitable solution in the Cloud Privacy Service (CPS). The CPS is an add-on encryption solution that can be implemented quickly and easily and runs as SaaS (software as a service) at a T-Systems data center. The service runs fully independently of Microsoft Office 365. A core component of the service is a gateway that enables encryption of the data before it is transferred to the Microsoft Cloud. All communications are initially routed through this encryption gateway before they reach the cloud. The cryptographic keys and encryption remain exclusively in the hands of the users. As a result, no one else can read the clear-text data, making unauthorized third-party access impossible.
The solution is state-of-the-art and runs in the background. Users do not even notice the additional privacy protection. No plug-ins or other modifications are needed. The familiar workflows remain unchanged.
As SaaS, the Cloud Privacy Service offers scaled prices based on the number of users. This means the price per user drops when more workplaces are equipped with the Cloud Privacy Service. This is where WGKD mbH came into play: They concluded a master agreement with T-Systems for all church organizations, enabling much higher discounts compared to many individual installations. As a result, smaller units benefit from use with larger organizations.
“Thanks to the master agreement, we can now make an attractive offer to all church organizations that enables them to use Office 365 securely and compliant with regulatory requirements,” summarizes Georg Faßbender, Head of IT Business Area for the Business Community of Churches in Germany. As a result, privacy debates and GDPR problems are off the table. The organizations can take the leap into modern collaboration solutions.
The master agreement secures the best possible terms for the individual units, laying the foundation for rapid implementation. The technical provisioning also supports a fast rollout: as SaaS, the service can be implemented quickly and scaled – and the units only pay for what they actually use. The price is based on the number of managed cloud accesses and adapts dynamically to the scaled discounts of the Cloud Privacy Service. This means even smaller units benefit from the quantity discounts. Individual accesses can be canceled monthly, giving customers maximum flexibility.
The Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany are much more than buildings, priests and pastors, communities, and divine services. In fact, with some 1.2 million employees, the two churches are the second-largest employer in Germany – after the state itself. In addition to central church organization, they operate nursery schools, hospitals, youth centers, retirement homes, nursing services, educational facilities, banks, insurance companies, and breweries. They also hold investments in TV production companies, news agencies, and radio stations. And 2,000 schools are run under the aegis of the Protestant and Catholic churches.