Researcher collaborating while working on computers

A sovereign collaboration for research

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin relies on “OpenSource Collaboration” from the Open Telekom Cloud

“OpenSource Collaboration” from T-Systems

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) fell victim to a cyberattack in mid-June, 2023, forcing the institution to shut down its IT systems completely. Among other losses, the scientists could no longer access the HZB-internal collaboration services, posing a serious disruption to their research work. The HZB needed a solution and quickly to enable its scientists to get back to work. The IT managers approached T-Systems and asked them to accelerate the rollout of the “OpenSource Collaboration” solution. As such, the hacking attack became the catalyst for switching over to open source-software.

The challenge

  • The HZB fell victim to a cyberattack, causing total IT failure
  • No email, no SharePoint – all the internal IT systems had to be frozen and subjected to a forensic examination
  • Search for a fast solution to give the scientists efficient workplace solutions for collaboration again

T-Systems put a package together for us in nearly no time at all and proved to be a reliable, competent partner whose primary objective was to help us – and acted pragmatically to do so.

Ingo Heinzel, Head of Application Services, Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB)

The solution

  • Replace the Microsoft suite
  • “OpenSource Collaboration” from T-Systems: Grommunio, Jitsi, Nextcloud, Mattermost
  • Change of the backend system: Establishment of the Open Telekom Cloud

Customer benefits

  • Minimized the impact of the hacking attack: 1,200 employees were able to access fully equipped collaboration features again in nearly no time at all
  • The users were not impacted by the fundamental changes to the backend
  • Execution of digital strategy: Sovereign workplace on open source
  • The package is rounded out by a highly attractive price

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About Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

Cutting-edge research for major challenges. That’s the motto of Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren e. V. (the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers). Founded in 1995, its 44,000 employees and budget of over 5.8 billion euros (2021) make it one of the world’s largest scientific research organizations. Institutes like the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, DESY in Hamburg, DKFZ in Heidelberg, KIT in Karlsruhe, and the Jülich Research Center all do research under the umbrella of the Helmholtz Association. Many Helmholtz centers are part of the European Open Science Cloud and Germany’s national research data infrastructure.

The Association has a footprint in Berlin with the HZB, the Helmholtz Center for Materials and Energy. At two sites in Berlin, Wannsee and Adlershof, this institution conducts research on technology development, applied physics, and chemistry concerning achieving a climate-neutral society. Research topics include next-generation solar cells, capturing sunlight to generate green hydrogen and new types of batteries. In professional circles, the HZB is known for its X-ray source BESSY II. The opportunities available at the institution also attract guest scientists from around the world.

Link to Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

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