The Business Challenge
Austria plays a pioneering role in Europe in the digitization of the healthcare
system. Almost all citizens of the country have been using the e-card system
of the Austrian social security system for many years for the electronic
transmission of patient data. From digital health insurance vouchers
to e-medication, a wide range of different services are now available for the
One of the pioneers of digital healthcare in Austria is A1 Telekom Austria.
The company is not only the country’s largest communications provider
in the mobile and fixed network sector, but also the leading infrastructure
provider for e-health applications. Since 1999, A1 has been offering
a network service for healthcare – the medical data network (DaMe) — which
enables the secure exchange of findings between healthcare facilities such
as registered doctors, hospitals, radiologists, laboratories and pharmacies.
Around 25 million diagnostic findings messages are transmitted each year
via the high-security network on MPLS basis. In total, more than 8,000
healthcare facilities throughout Austria now use the DaMe service for their
daily work with patients.
“The digitization of processes in the healthcare sector has accelerated
enormously in recent years,” says Peter Uher, Head of Public Sector &
Healthcare, at A1. “We now offer our customers a whole range of additional
services beyond the basic infrastructure. One topic that is becoming
increasingly important is reliable data backup”
In hospitals and medical practices, but also in laboratories and pharmacies,
a large amount of digital information is stored today. Especially when
it comes to personal health data, these are subject to strict legal protection
requirements. However, not all institutions are able to take care of the
reliable backup of this data themselves. “Backup is often perceived
as a tiresome topic, especially by smaller medical practices, and is neglected
in everyday life. However, if a local server fails or is destroyed by a fire
or flood, sensitive patient data can be irretrievably lost,” says Lisa Müller,
product manager for DaMe and A1’s e-card services.
A1 therefore launched its own online backup service for its customer. The
aim was to enable healthcare institutions to automatically back up patient
information and other local data to the A1 data center.
The new DaMe Online Backup service was very well received by customers
from the start, but the technical solution in the background soon reached
its limits. “The backup software we used was quite complex to operate
and caused a lot of effort for installation and administration,” says Müller.
“We were therefore looking for a modern and cost-efficient solution to be able
to offer our customers in the healthcare sector a reliable data backup service”.
The Veeam Solution
After intensive market research, A1 selected Veeam® Backup & Replication™
as technical platform for its online backup service. “The Veeam solution
has a wide range of functions to reliably and automatically backup our
customers’ various IT workloads,” explains Müller.
The backup of customer data is fully automated according to a schedule
specified by the customer. All data to be backed up is encrypted on site
at the customer’s premises and then securely transferred to the data
center via Veeam Cloud Connect. There too, the data is stored exclusively
in encrypted form. The data is only decrypted when a recovery is necessary.
The key required for this is only known to the respective customer.
Healthcare customers benefit from the very short recovery times of the
Veeam solution. If, for example, a folder on a file server has been
accidentally deleted, the user just needs to call A1 support. The technical
staff can then provide the customer with the files they are looking for from
the central backup within a very short time.
The new service helps healthcare institutions to comply with legal
requirements for the protection of patient data. By backing up to an external
location - A1’s highly available data center — they eliminate the risk
of accidental data loss. The encrypted patient data is also well protected
against unauthorized access there.
The A1 team also saves a lot of time through the user-friendly management
of the environment with the Veeam Service Provider Console. The technical
specialists always have an overview of all running processes and can
manage policies and backup agents on customer systems remotely and
very efficiently. Usage reports, which are needed for billing, are generated
automatically. Veeam also makes it easy to provide self-services, such as the
recovery of certain content by the customers themselves.
“With Veeam we have taken our online backup service to a new level,” sums
up Martin Resel, Chief Customer Officer Enterprise at A1. “We receive a lot
of positive feedback from satisfied customers. Our service built on Veeam
helps them to make their everyday work easier and more efficient and
to really protect sensitive patient data comprehensively”
- Reliable backup of sensitive patient data Doctors, hospitals, radiologists,
laboratories and pharmacies throughout Austria no longer have to take
care of data backup on their own but can use a convenient online backup
service. Veeam technology ensures the automatic backup of data in the
A1 data center and enables fast recovery.
- Easier compliance with legal requirements: The easy-to-use backup
concept with end-to-end encryption eliminates risks for data security. This
makes it easier for healthcare institutions to comply with data protection
regulations such as GDPR, the Austrian Data Protection Adaptation Act
and the guidelines of the Austrian Medical Association.
- Savings through maximum efficiency of operational processes:
The high degree of automation, centralized management, and
good interaction with NetApp storage systems relieve the A1 team
in ongoing operations. The company can thus offer its customers
a highly professional backup service at favorable conditions.