Customer Success Story:
Berghof Group uses Thru platform integrated with IBM Notes for secure file transfers

Berghof GmbH logo

Customer Size
250-500 employees

Country or Region
Germany

Industry
Research and Manufacturing

Customer Profile
The Berghof Group is a supplier of technically innovative user-oriented industrial products and services worldwide.

Business Situation
Needed a secure file sharing solution with integration into their IBM Notes application to handle their sensitive data and intellectual property.

Solution
The Berghof Group is using the Thru Platform integrated with IBM Notes to send and receive large files securely and efficiently.

Benefits

  • Added value to its existing technology investment
  • Unlimited file size transfers
  • Improved visibility and control of company and customer data
  • Enhanced security of transactions

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Berghof Group is a privately-owned technology company that researches, develops and manufactures products and services in the fields of automation, environmental engineering, membrane technology, laboratory equipment and fluoroplastic technology. Founded in the university town of Tübingen in 1966 as a private research institute, Berghof Group is the parent company of several subsidiaries located in six different cities in Germany and the Netherlands. The company has a global presence and sells its products in 170 countries.

Challenge

Berghof Group is a global player that requires the latest technologies in order to support its operations and highly mobile workforce. Berghof had been relying on their own FTP server for many years to share large files internally as well as with partners and customers. However, Steffen Bertsch, the group’s IT Manager, knew the technology’s shortcomings. “Using FTP to transfer large files is not the best solution,” said Bertsch. “It is not very safe to begin with as you do not have much control over who accesses the files once access is granted. It also takes a lot of time to administer for the IT staff. Our IT is generally quite advanced and an up-to-date solution to replace the FTP server had been in the cards a long time already.”

Berghof runs their main datacenter at the company’s headquarters in Eningen and has smaller datacenters at the five satellite offices that replicate the data into the main site.

For email, workflow and internal processes, Berghof had a Lotus Domino environment with IBM Notes for desktop and mobile users to email and share files smaller than 20MB. Users who had to send files larger than 20MB regularly had to have been given access to the FTP server and an additional tool outside Notes to administer their share on the FTP server. To replace their existing FTP solution, Berghof was looking for a modern file exchange solution and actively compared products on the market.

Objectives

The new solution had to provide the following:

  • Increased visibility into file activity
  • Enhanced security for delivery
  • Integration with IBM Notes

Solution

It was important to Berghof that Thru offers the ability to run on-premises and not only as hybrid or in the public cloud. Berghof’s researchers share a lot of sensitive data, including intellectual property that has to be protected at all times. Berghof needs to know exactly where the data is stored.

Steffen Bertsch
IT Manager
Berghof Group

Berghof was using an email signature tool plugin for Notes to create custom signatures for its several subsidiaries. In addition to enterprise-class features through its platform, the Thru solution also has the capability to integrate well with the signature plugin to create professional emails.

Thru’s local German partner treeConsult took on the challenge to integrate the tools. “Combining the power of a modern file sharing platform like Thru, with the flexibility of Notes and a signature manager, we created a powerful solution for Berghof,” Wolfgang Siegl of treeConsult said. “We modified the plugin accordingly and delivered the final solution within just a few weeks.”

Results

Once the integrated solution was ready, Thru was installed as a virtual machine (VM) under vSphere and the IBM Notes add-in was installed on their Domino server.

Thru was first rolled out within a smaller group to test it thoroughly. Once testing was completed, much to their satisfaction, all users began using Thru to share files securely.

“The plugin works very well and there are no issues with the signature tool as they both were optimized by treeConsult to work together,” said Bertsch. “Our users now have the ability to send large files using Notes, which they are familiar with, and there is only one additional window that gives them the option to either send the file via email or via Thru. The user also has the possibility to set notifications about when the file was downloaded and set a limit to when the file download expires.”

Steffen Bertsch
IT Manager
Berghof Group

The Thru solution now gives the organization detailed insight into what files are shared and accessed by whom at all times. Additional training for employees was not necessary – saving time and money. Berghof’s IT team has the capability to make users with the plugin use Thru or mandate usage if files are a certain size for security purposes. However, the team chose instead to educate the employees to decide for themselves which files need a higher level of security or full encryption.

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