The goal of ECKD KIGST is to accompany church and social institutions on their way into the digital future. Founded in 1992, the company now provides IT services nationwide for organizations of the Protestant and Catholic Churches in Germany as well as the welfare organizations Caritas and Diakonie. The product and service portfolio ranges from the provisioning of specialist applications and individual project support to full IT outsourcing.
“Our company motto is ‘IT.Menschlich’ (‘IT.human’),” said Michael Mößinger, Head of IT Services at ECKD KIGST. “We are firmly convinced that the targeted use of digital technologies enables more humanity. With our solutions, we relieve the church and charitable institutions of many administrative tasks so that employees can concentrate even more on their social and pastoral tasks.”
Regardless of whether it’s the cooperation of permanent and voluntary employees in a church congregation, the personnel administration of a day-care center or the scheduling of an outpatient nursing service, without powerful IT applications, many of these processes can no longer be efficiently controlled. The requirements for data protection and availability have risen continuously in recent years, and so has the demand for professional IT support.
Today, ECKD KIGST operates hundreds of applications, specialized procedures and databases for more than 25,000 users in the church and welfare sector from data centers in Kassel and Cologne. In total, their infrastructure comprises over 2,000 managed virtual systems with a data volume of 1,800 TB. The data centers meet all legal and church data protection requirements to ensure the availability, confidentiality and integrity of the customer’s own data. In addition, all operating processes are certified according to the ISO/IEC 27001 security standard.
“We are currently seeing an additional surge in digitization, triggered by the structural change in many organizations, but also by the effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mößinger. “Where personal contacts are temporarily not possible, church and social institutions are increasingly turning to online communication and virtual teamwork. This also accelerates the introduction of cloud services like Office 365”.
Because of this, ECKD KIGST was looking for a platform that supports Cloud Data Management™ where hybrid scenarios can also be reliably supported as securely, flexibly and cost-effectively as possible.
ECKD KIGST first implemented Veeam Backup & Replication to ensure maximum availability of its on-premises infrastructure.
“We had previously carried out a detailed comparison of functions and costs and the result clearly spoke in favor of the Veeam platform,” said Mößinger. “In addition to the mature functions for backing up and restoring virtual machines (VMs), the simple multi-client capability and the usage-based licensing model convinced us as a service provider”.
Right from the start, the IT department at KCKD KIGST appreciated the great flexibility of Veeam’s platform. ECKD KIGST can, depending on customer requirements, back up VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V environments and flexibly determine where backup data is stored, whether it’s in its own data center, at the customer’s site or in a public cloud.
The IT service provider then offers its customers Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) in four different service classes and guarantees fixed response and solution times, particularly for critical applications like human resources or care documentation. These critical applications can be made available again within minutes in the event of a breakdown.
“With Veeam, we ensure, among other things, that nursing staff have secure access to the data of the persons being cared for at all times via tablet while they’re on the move,” said Michael Mößinger. “If a VM fails, we are able to restart it directly from the backup with the Instant VM Recovery® technology from Veeam”.
ECKD KIGST can also prevent data loss in the cloud with the help of Veeam software. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are introducing Microsoft Office 365 as a digital workplace solution. With tools like Microsoft Teams, parishes, for example, can virtually maintain their work for the church community even if churches, parish offices and other facilities are temporarily closed.
These closings, however, cannot be at the expense of data security. Today, church organizations manage the very sensitive personal data of their parishioners and are subject to numerous retention obligations, particularly in registration or financial accounting.
“With Veeam, we are able to support church and social institutions in the secure and data-protection-compliant transition to Office 365,” said Mößinger. “We offer them Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 as a managed service. We use it to permanently back up data that’s stored in the customer’s Exchange Online or SharePoint Online environment on our systems or, if the customer wishes, in a cloud-based object storage environment such as Azure Blob or AWS S3.”
ECKD KIGST can then immediately recover data that has been accidentally deleted, like, if a user’s account has been deactivated in the Microsoft cloud. Whether it’s Exchange mailboxes, SharePoint documents or files in OneDrive for Business, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 enables granular recovery of any item with just a few clicks.
ECKD KIGST customers do not have to worry about possible data loss and can retain full control over where their sensitive information is stored when they use Office 365. The “exit strategy” required by Catholic and Protestant data protection authorities can also be implemented with Veeam. If an institution decides to move to another cloud platform or service provider in the future, it can move its data very quickly and easily with Veeam.
“Cloud Data Management from Veeam is a central component of our future strategy and helps us to securely drive forward the digitalization of processes and organizations,” said Michael Mößinger. “We are currently developing ‘CHURCHX’, a digital marketplace for church and welfare. The aim is to automate the ordering and provision of IT services, but also of other goods, and to offer them centrally through a platform. Veeam supports us by providing all necessary applications with high availability”.
ECKD KIGST is one of Germany’s leading IT providers for the church and charity. The ECKD KIGST GmbH, headquartered in Offenbach and its subsidiary ECKD service GmbH, headquartered in Kassel, provide seven locations with a wide range of tailor-made services and support around 25,000 users throughout Germany. To do this, the company operates two highperformance data centers that meet all legal and church data protection requirements and are certified according to ISO/IEC 27001.
In addition to the resources in its own data centers, ECKD KIGST also provides its customers with cloudbased services and supports them as a Microsoft partner in introducing Microsoft Office 365. Whether data and applications run on-premises or in the cloud, the IT service provider ensures that its customers have the highest availability and information security. ECKD KIGST was therefore looking for a solution for Cloud Data Management™ that could also reliably map hybrid scenarios.