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Carefree digital collaboration

How "OpenSource Collaboration" facilitates efficient wireless collaboration while ensuring data protection

May 23 2022Marten Bütow

The challenge: data protection and compliance

Whether for video conferencing, instant messaging, or collaborative document editing: virtual collaboration makes working together more efficient. But there are pitfalls when it comes to data protection and compliance. For example, with regard to whether data is stored or processed according to German regulations. This problem can be solved by a new all-in-one office software package from T-Systems and grommunio that meets strict compliance requirements and conforms to the GDPR.

Collaboration with obstacles

Two people at a table together in a video call

Wireless collaboration tools have become commonplace in many organisations since the Corona crisis at the latest. Public sector institutions and companies that process sensitive data, however, often have reservations: if the office suite, chat software, and cloud infrastructure are from US providers, data protection and compliance requirements cannot usually be met. Moreover, the German government's 2021 - 2025 coalition agreement, for example, stipulates that public IT projects should primarily rely on open source software in the future.

In order to make digital collaboration secure, T-Systems and grommunio have developed the software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution called "OpenSource Collaboration": a package that combines office tools, cloud hosting, and end-to-end services. grommunio provides the software, while T-Systems handles integration, operation, support, and scaling.

Digital collaboration made in the EU

"OpenSource Collaboration" is based on open source technology and is operated from data centres in Magdeburg and Biere. This meets the compliance regulations of the public sector and many private firms, as well as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR). T-Systems makes sure that data and information do not leave the EU or, on request, Germany. Open source applications have the ability to increase security and transparency in IT and comply with the guidelines of the coalition agreement. Whilst the source code of proprietary solutions is only available to the provider, with open source software it is freely accessible. This way, any person or company can make sure that there are, for example, no security gaps. In the case of "OpenSource Collaboration", the Vienna-based company grommunio manages the software and its development. T-Systems also has its own open source experts, and is involved in the OpenStack Foundation.

Open Source with support

Companies and organizations can secure their virtual collaboration with the help of "OpenSource Collaboration". The solution comprises four components with different collaboration tools:

  • Groupware includes, among other things, software for e-mails and a calendar
  • Meet provides video meetings
  • Chat offers real-time communication through instant messaging and content sharing
  • Files & Office facilitates file synchronization and sharing as well as collaborative work on documents

Companies and organizations that choose to use these tools will receive the support they need from T-Systems and grommunio. This is important, because those who use open source collaboration software or its source code generally do not have access to technical support – after all, there is no provider behind the offer who would be obliged to provide this service. If institutions want to implement these kinds of applications on their own, they have to overcome any technical hurdles themselves.

So that the work can simply continue

Companies can also choose to only use the backend of "OpenSource Collaboration". T-Systems then links the software that is available in the company – such as Office Pro Plus including Word, Outlook and all other applications – with the Linux-based platform. Employees can continue to use the familiar tools and do not have to learn new software. This is an advantage, since introducing new applications and training employees can often be time-consuming and cost-intensive. T-Systems works behind the scenes of "OpenSource Collaboration" to ensure that your data is processed securely and in accordance with compliance and data protection regulations. The open source platform Linux runs from T-Systems' data centers in Magdeburg and Biere. Other platform options such as the T-Systems Sovereign Cloud powered by Google Cloud will also be available in the near future.

The flexible interface management provided by grommunio makes it possible to integrate "OpenSource Collaboration" into all common office software systems. Furthermore, the solution is compatible with common end devices such as PCs and smartphones. This allows public sector institutions and companies that process sensitive data to work in a hybrid or mobile manner without problems. The solution from T-Systems and grommunio makes data protection concerns a thing of the past when it comes to wireless collaboration. Last but not least, company processes can again be mapped and optimised more efficiently.

About the author

Marten Bütow

Senior Solution Sales Manager, T-Systems International GmbH

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