Front view of the Klinikum Darmstadt with entrance area and driveway.

Protected data rooms: Cloud service for works councils ensures IT independence

Securely storing and processing their own data in the cloud is now part of everyday work for more and more companies. In recent years, they have increasingly introduced new systems, expanded internal IT teams or relied on external IT service providers in the course of digitization. At the same time, it has become clear that even within an organization, the development toward digital transformation does not automatically happen in lockstep. For example, this remained unseen for a long time by works councils, even though protected data rooms are particularly important here. Currently, there is an increasing rethinking taking place and many employee representatives are now actively tackling the topics of digitalization. This is also the case with the works council of Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH, the employee representative body of the largest municipal employer in the city of science. By migrating to an independent cloud environment, the works council has succeeded in digitizing its way of working, accessing its data anytime and anywhere, while optimally preserving its independence from the company through protected data rooms - and all this without high hardware or operating system requirements. In this interview, Christian Stöveken reveals the problems the works council initially faced when it came to digitization and how the move to the cloud solved them.

Dear Mr. Stöveken, let's start directly with the challenges that digitalization poses for works councils.

Christian Stöveken: "Very much so. If works councils fail to digitize their working practices in time, they risk creating a dangerous imbalance in terms of the level of knowledge between them and the employer. Accordingly, the topics of digitization and digital transformation must take center stage in the long term. Only in this way can both sides continue to play their roles optimally in the changing world of work.

Our Works Council advocated this balance early on. In the process, we were confronted with a wide range of questions: How can we take an active role in shaping digitization in the company? What changes for the workplace and working conditions will result from this? And how can employees be prepared for the changes right from the start? To get answers, we put the topic of digital transformation at the top of our to-do list.

We quickly arrived at the topic of cloud services for works councils. After all, it is the be-all and end-all of our daily work to retain key sovereignty over our data. By using a cloud solution that works independently of our in-house IT, we found these protected data rooms. At the same time, this enabled us to meet legal requirements. Section 87 (1) number 6 of the Works Constitution Act stipulates that a certain level of expertise on the part of employee representatives is essential. There are two sides to this: vis-à-vis the employer, the interest representation must be in no way inferior in terms of knowledge about digitization. At the same time, it must be able to answer questions from the workforce regarding products that have been introduced. Here we mean both the products used by the employer, but of course also those used by the works council."

Give us a glimpse into the details: How did the works council at Klinikum Darmstadt approach the topic of digitization - step by step?

Christian Stöveken: "As Chairman of the IT Committee, it was important to me both to move the committee forward digitally in its internal workings and to create a lasting understanding within the works council of how important the topic of digitization is in the working world. We started with a kind of self-reflection. We focused on our processes.

These standard processes must be reviewed again and again during the conversion to a digital workflow in order to achieve the desired result in the end. Therefore, an analysis of the formerly analog processes is crucial. After breaking down the individual workflows, it crystallized which work structures of the interest group could be optimized through digitization. The result of the as-is analysis: to transfer our processes to the digital world, we need an external e-mail provider, a (cloud) solution for meeting management and our own cloud service for our works council."

Man standing on the railing of a ship with his arms outstretched

How did the search for suitable cloud services for works councils turn out?

Christian Stöveken: "Tough! There are no cloud solutions on the market designed specifically for works councils. It has always been the case that employer representatives act independently in their work. But the fact that digitization is advancing here and that there is therefore a need for products was probably not seen. It's also a fact that many people probably use the employer's infrastructure. But that wasn't an option for us, because we wanted to remain IT-independent in order to preserve our protected data spaces.

So we had to do research. However, with a clear concept, the purchase of each product is manageable. We illuminated various solutions and always check whether they can also digitally map our identified processes. In addition, we established some criteria that the cloud solution absolutely had to fulfill. For example, it had to be cloud storage from Germany that was DSGVO-compliant and 100 percent transparent. We also had to provide proof of this to the employer. Of course, we also kept an eye on the finances. The goal: best performance and top support in terms of data protection for manageable money."

How did you become aware of luckycloud as a provider of cloud services?

Christian Stöveken: "A survey of well-known works councils confirmed my previous findings: We were entering uncharted territory. So we could not fall back on proven solutions for interest representation. Therefore, as already mentioned, we turned to the Internet and did extensive research. We scoured numerous articles and portals and evaluated cloud services in the context of our requirements.

In doing so, our path always led back to luckycloud. A big advantage on our plus-minus list: the support. Even before purchasing a product, the luckycloud team was ready for an exchange. So even the last questions could be answered satisfactorily and we already had the feeling in the decision phase that we would always find an open ear here."

What were the named benefits on your list for luckycloud?

Christian Stöveken: "First of all, all criteria were met to our satisfaction - and much more. Thus, luckycloud offers DSGVO-compliant, transparent and flexible cloud storage from Germany. At the same time, with luckycloud you only have to pay for what you really need. In return, the team size, the required storage space and the runtime can be adapted to your own needs at any time.

We ultimately opted for luckycloud Enterprise. Our highlights: an extensive admin panel and optimal data and user management. We were also convinced by the setup of separate and protected data rooms. Because our work with sensitive information requires a good solution for usage, access and admin rights. The log function always provides a view of actions that have been performed. For us, luckycloud was thus the perfect cloud service for our works council."

Focus on a man in a suit giving the thumbs up

How did the introduction of luckycloud go?

Christian Stöveken: "Maybe I'll take a step back first: after my research, we presented our plan to the management. Also with the indication that we as a works council simply need key sovereignty over our own data and have this 100 percent with luckycloud. To make sure we didn't overlook anything, I also consulted our company data protection officer in advance. As suspected, however, there were no objections from his side.

The commissioning itself went smoothly with an employee from luckycloud. Everything was discussed in detail in advance, so that the actual process was completed within a few hours. Even today, the support is always available for queries and can help quickly. During the transition period, we managed the data in parallel. But that really wouldn't have been necessary. The hurdle to running the product is very low."

How does the works council use luckycloud's protected data rooms in everyday work today?

Christian Stöveken: "With a lot of pleasure! Joking aside: we use it every day for collaborative work - currently in particular as a central data warehouse. We are particularly enthusiastic about the differentiated dedicated role and authorization concepts for the entire committee or individual committees for the various protected data rooms. Thanks to the very fine-grained settings in the user administration, read and write rights can be assigned individually here. But there is also a personal data room for each individual member of the employee representative body.

The solution also scores points in practice when it comes to data protection: The high-availability, ISO-certified data centers in Germany meet all the requirements of the EU Data Protection Regulation. The cloud service uses two-factor authentication, follows the zero-knowledge principle and is based on open source software. In addition, remote wipe and LDAP/AD authentication contribute to an all-around secure cloud service for works councils."

Do you plan to expand the use of luckycloud in the future?

Christian Stöveken: "We have taken the first step. However, digitization is not a one-off topic, but a project with an infinite duration. Next, we want to further improve our committee work. The idea is to jointly edit documents in the data cloud. No problem with luckycloud. Because the versioning of individual data allows access to different document statuses. We are already looking forward to the implementation with the luckycloud team."

Christian Stöveken profile:

- Nurse

- Chairman of the Group Works Council, Exempt Works Member of Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH

- De-escalation trainer ProDeMa®


Characteristics of Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH:

- Sector: healthcare; three large intensive care units, 22 clinics and institutes, from ophthalmology to central emergency room

- Klinikum Darmstadt is a hospital in Darmstadt and an academic teaching hospital of the medical faculties of the universities of Heidelberg/Mannheim and Frankfurt am Main and the only maximum care provider in southern Hesse.

- Year of foundation: 1612

- Location (headquarters): Darmstadt

- Number of employees: 3,350 employees (Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH is the largest municipal employer in the science city of Darmstadt)

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