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An outdated IT landscape, many different desktop systems with proprietary software and corresponding license costs had repeatedly confronted the administrators of the association ImPuls e. V. from Hohen Neuendorf, Brandenburg, with problems. A solution was sought that would make both setting up new workstations and maintaining already existing desktops easier. The responsible persons also desired the possibility of interconnecting all facilities while at the same time retaining full control over their data.
We, the company bitpack.io from Birkenwerder, have modernized the IT infrastructure of the association in recent months. The new systems are running since July 2019: Univention Corporate Server is the central component; furthermore Kopano, Nextcloud and OnlyOffice are being used. In this article we would like to briefly introduce you to the project.
For us it was important not to chase after stiff specifications of standard solutions, but to use perfectly customised software that is under a free license and thus also meets with the high data protection requirements. The association, which works closely with day-care centres, schools, youth clubs and other public institutions, is particularly concerned with the right to self-determination of information.
Therefore, from now on only free software is used: a Linux enterprise distribution with integrated management system and Active Directory functions, a free groupware solution, an open source office package and cloud storage as well as Linux desktop computers for employees. “Not only does this save licensing costs, it also significantly increases data security,” says Thomas Hebestreit, member of the association’s executive board.
The UCS server manages the identities and stores the data of all 50 users. We have implemented a redundant backup concept for this central component. The IDM instance also regulates access to the specialist applications for all users. Currently connected to UCS are the open source groupware Kopano (mails, calendar, contacts and tasks), Nextcloud (file hosting) and OnlyOffice (document management). And the Univention App Center makes it easy to centrally install any additional applications in the future.
At ImPuls e. V. all facilities are now connected to each other. Previously, Windows 98, XP, 7 and 10 were used on the desktops of the employees. We have replaced the Microsoft operating systems with Ubuntu and opted for the LTS version (Long Term Support).
User administration has become conceivably simple. When new employees are added or someone leaves the company, an honorary part-time employee can now take care of creating and deleting accounts. Since the specialist applications are also installed at a central location, setting up and maintaining the desktop computers has become much easier. For the future, it is planned not only to manage user accounts through Univention Corporate Server, but also to include desktop computers in the domain administration.
The association is happy with our modern, scalable solution, which is based on free software and guarantees data security. “In our facilities we also work with sensitive data from families who are under high protection by the European General Data Protection Regulation. With our new system we have full control and can ensure that all data stays where it should be”, says Thomas Hebestreit from ImPuls e. V.
Martin Schubert from bitpack.io, a small company from the north of Berlin with a focus on open technologies for collaborative workspaces, has over 10 years experience in translating technologies into business concepts and concrete technical solutions.