Blurred image of a Christian service

Privacy included

Church organisations benefit from Cloud Privacy Service for Office 365

Framework agreements with various suppliers

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.

The challenge

A laptop in a church

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). Emails, file sharing, video conferencing, 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 focus 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 organisations 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)

The solution

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 centre. 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 unauthorised 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 a 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 comes into play: they concluded a master agreement with T-Systems for all church organisations, enabling much higher discounts compared to many individual installations. As a result, smaller units benefit from use with larger organisations.

Customer benefits

“Thanks to the master agreement, we can now make an attractive offer to all church organisations, which will enable them to use Office 365 securely and in compliance with regulatory requirements,” summarises Georg Faßbender, Head of IT Business Area for the Business Community of Churches in Germany. As a result, privacy debates and GDPR problems will be off the table. The organisations 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 a 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 access can be cancelled monthly, giving customers maximum flexibility.

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About Wirtschaftsgesellschaft der Kirchen in Deutschland mbH (WGKD)

The Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany are much more than buildings, priests, 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 organisation, they operate nursery schools, hospitals, youth centres, 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.

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