What do Säpo, AddPro and the EU NIS Directive have to do with a municipally owned water and sewerage company? How can a workshop on hybrid IT make a difference for a company that is already 100% in the cloud? This somewhat unlikely collection of interests and organisations has its origins in the 2009 merger of six municipalities in southern Sweden to form a joint municipal water and wastewater company. Nordvästra Skånes Vatten och Avlopp AB, NSVA, was formed to secure the operation and expertise in water and wastewater, VA, for the six municipalities. The company currently operates 400 facilities and is responsible for the maintenance and development of the region's water supply.
Everything in the cloud from day one
Peter Nagy was involved from the start, first as IT Infrastructure Manager and now as IT Project and Development Manager. Together with his boss, Peter set up an IT policy of not having a traditional IT department screwing around with servers, switches or other hardware. Everything should be a service, from storage and server services to infrastructure and networking. IT should be the client and run the business. Another strategic decision was to have just one provider of all services - one point of contact for all IT.
- I like the concept of buying everything as a service. It feels like the world is moving so fast that it's hard to have in-house IT excellence. Our core business is VA and not IT. AddPro has 200 people just thinking about and working with IT all the time, with a level of expertise we could never reach," explains Peter.
A gap can easily arise
Why does a company that already has all its IT, from email and data to servers and cloud services tailored to its needs and security classification, need to attend a workshop on hybrid IT? The answer is simple. All the cloud services, public and private, Microsoft Office and Azure are gaining new features and evolving faster than your IT department has time to implement. There is a gap between what is available and what is being used. That said, the core business of NSVA is not keeping up with IT developments.
- We needed a forum where we could invite object owners and application managers from the business to show them what was possible to do in our systems today. We wanted them to be inspired to use more features on our platforms, as well as get the business to look ahead and see how they can work smarter with the tools they already have.
The fact that AddPro adapted the workshop to the unique needs of NSVA based on the reality of the property owners was appreciated by the participants. The features that were shown were not "coming in 6-12 months" but are things that exist and can start being implemented immediately, which Peter thinks makes the workshop very useful.
Security, security and again - security
So what do Säpo and the NIS Directive have to do with this? What is the NIS Directive? NIS stands for Network and Information Security. It contains security regulations that cover providers of socially important services such as the VA. On top of this EU directive comes Säpo's national regulations for IT security for socially critical activities. So to say that security is high on Peter's and NSVA's agenda is no exaggeration.
- All those working with drinking water must be security cleared. It is important that no one accesses data or systems to which they are not authorised. At the same time, data must not be exposed unprotected in the cloud where there are many people who want to access it," says Peter.
Another layer of security comes from the fact that NSVA has 200 employees working in the field. Their laptops have been replaced by iPads that they use to monitor and operate facilities. NSVA has had a clear focus on the accessibility and mobility of employee tools, which places demands on security - especially when the Säpo is peering over their shoulder.
But there is more than just "physical" security on the agenda. At the hub of the NSVA's IT environment is an SQL database where everything comes together. Data from over 50,000 measurement points is entered along with all colleagues' data collection on iPads, documents and communications, all in the same database. These are large amounts of data that must be accurate in order for the wastewater engineers to have a good basis for their calculations for optimizing existing facilities and decisions about the construction of new facilities.
- AddPro administers our database, tinkering with it and giving it love so we can feel confident that our data is available and accurate. Every month I receive a report with the actions taken and how the database is doing. It makes my life so much smoother and the business has a database they can rely on.
HydridizeIT takes collaboration into the future
NSVA is constantly developing new services for municipalities and all services involve IT in some way. It can be running a wastewater treatment plant with process control, emergency service with information systems or decision support using artificial intelligence. At the same time, all employees should enter the modern office with more efficient collaboration and communication. HybridizeIT becomes a unifying force where everyone can come together and see the potential of the tools.
- We have invested a lot and our biggest challenge has been to get a standardised view of the Modern Workplace. We want Teams to be the environment that everyone works in and uses all the features that are there. HybridizeIT is helping us do just that," concludes Peter.
Are you making full use of your systems? Do you have the connections and collaboration between departments that elevate your collaboration? In the HybridizeIT workshop, you'll see and test the possibilities of the cloud - whatever cloud it may be. Register today!