Viborg Municipality is Denmark's second largest municipality, and the ninth most populated. It has 7,000 full-time employees and serves over 97,000 inhabitants. The municipality has secured its data in the cloud with Keepit since 2018
Ole Christiansen is Head of IT Operations & Support in Viborg Municipality's IT & Digitalization department, which consists of 37 employees who, in addition to the service desk, work with networks, servers and applications. The IT department serves a total of 180 locations in the municipality.
From Lotus Notes to Office 365
After using Lotus Notes for many years, the IT department in Viborg Municipality (VM) found it increasingly difficult to recruit new Lotus Notes administrators and developers. At the same time, the municipality wanted to follow the market trend and meet the employees' demands for a flexible workplace by moving to the cloud:
The desire to be a more modern workplace contributed to our shift to Office 365
Ole Christiansen Head of IT department
Rather than starting with a hybrid solution, as many others had done, VM chose to go all-in from when the municipality implemented Office 365 back in 2014.
In addition to the many thousands of users in the school district, the municipality has almost 4,500 Office 365 users in their administration. Today, VM uses much of the Microsoft package; in addition to the usual apps like mail (Exchange) and calendar, they also use OneDrive, Teams, and SharePoint. Their strategy is being planned, together with digitalization consultants in the management areas, for how all the services in Office 365 can be implemented.
Inadequate Backup & Restore in Office 365
When Office 365 was implemented, IT spent a great deal of time figuring out what exactly Microsoft guarantees in terms of data protection. It was concluded that Microsoft basically guarantees that they keep the platform running with the systems they make available. They guarantee 30 days of backup via the Recycling Bin, but with the risk of users emptying it and thereby deleting the data within.
There is the opportunity to enable Ligitation Hold to restore data that goes further back, but the challenge with this is, according to Christiansen, that it can be a difficult and slow task to retrieve data, one that requires PowerShell skills:
“For example, if a user deletes an entire folder in his mailbox with many emails and files, then we cannot restore the folder directly with the full content. We are forced to recreate all the individual elements. A huge task,” says Christiansen.
Teacher Lost Two Years of Work
Christiansen shared some stories in which the IT department's Service Desk was contacted by users who had lost data, and in particular, a case involving a teacher who, for two years, had been saving all of his teaching materials in a folder in OneDrive. And then lost it. It was not possible to see what had happened - whether the folder had been deleted or just disappeared - but when the 30 days had passed, there was no way to restore anything via the Recycling Bin. Years of valuable work and teaching materials were permanently lost.
Proper Backup and Quick Restore Is ‘Need to Have’
The cloud contains many risks for losing data if you do not secure a backup. After a few years with Office 365, it became clear to IT departments that what Microsoft offers for restoring was not enough. They decided to find a supplementary backup solution for Office 365, with the primary aim to ensure easy and fast back up & restore.
“That our Service Desk can easily and quickly restore data for a user is very important for the municipality of Viborg. After all, a lot of important documents and decisions are made in a municipality, so we need to be able to quickly restore that if users lose it, ' shares Christiansen, who also states that backup is an absolute need to have.
After a thorough search, VM chose Keepit, whose complete backup & restore solutions contain everything the municipality wanted. This includes quick and easy restores when things go wrong for users, which also ensures full flexibility from restoring a single file or folder to restoring a complete user account.
Response Times Can Be Problematic
A second challenge that the municipality experiences with the migration to Office 365 and other cloud services is the response time, also called latency. With the municipality's ability to run 10 GB in their core network, it can be problematic when sending large amounts of data and queries via an internet connection
However, since Keepit is a cloud to cloud backup service, the network is not affected by the transfers between Office 365 and the backup system.
The Cloud Requires Continued Internal Operation
Although VM has moved to the cloud with Office 365 (among others), there is still a lot of work to do with managing the things that are in the cloud. Whenever Microsoft updates their systems to keep them running, the municipality's IT department takes care of all the administration behind the changes.
'Moving data to the cloud does not mean that server people no longer have something to do,' Christiansen says, challenging the myth that the cloud takes the work away from IT departments.
Moving data to the cloud does not mean that server people no longer have something to do
Ole Christiansen Head of IT department
Outsourcing in the Cloud Is the New Black
In relation to outsourcing, the municipality's IT department opinion is that one should outsource where it makes sense, with care, to choose the right products with the right features and the right price. When it makes sense to shift to the cloud, one does. Therefore, the municipality does not rely only on Office 365 - they have a secondary backup in the cloud, and also for other solutions from larger providers, such as the financial system VM uses. This is a trend that has come to stay:
“I think that in the coming years we will see a much larger movement towards cloud services. I don't think there can be any doubt - this is a clear movement that has been started,” concludes Christiansen.