Case Studies

The Information Systems Department at Freie Universität Berlin


The Information Systems Department at Freie Universität Berlin logo

Freie Universität Berlin is a diverse university comprised of twelve departments and three Central Institutes that together offer more than 150 different academic programs in a broad range of disciplines. Founded in 1948, Freie Universität Berlin was one of the 11 universities recognized by the German government’s Excellence Initiative in 2012 for their success in all three lines of funding.

With a history of developing an interconnection between students and entrepreneurship, the IS department – part of a business school that is one of the largest of its kind in Germany – aimed to enhance their entrepreneurship education by implementing IT infrastructure that not only benefited student start-ups, but also improved the manner in which the university’s entrepreneurial education was delivered.

Challenge

The IS Department at Freie Universität was using on-premises IT infrastructure to develop and launch start-up projects for their business and economics students. This infrastructure, a digital entrepreneurship hub, provided capability for basic web hosting applications, which gave students the courses and content needed to lay the foundation for their entrepreneurial ventures. To provide an innovative option for specific entrepreneurial use cases, the department looked to expand their current on-premises infrastructure capabilities by incorporating a technologically advanced, off-premises cloud platform. The department was challenged to deploy a safe and secure environment that would enable both students and staff to feel comfortable working with any form of data, no matter how sensitive. 

With this goal in mind, the IS department at Freie Universität looked for a solution that would provide a digital foundation for growing and developing new start-up founders, while still enabling entrepreneurial educators to enhance students’ understanding of real-world business development. This, combined with an aspiration to grow a network that would benefit from leveraging cloud infrastructure, led the department to select a solution that delivered a variety of learning paths for the future.

Solution

After assessing their off-premises options, the IS Department at Freie Universität successfully tested the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud to run their business and economics infrastructure. Virtustream Enterprise Cloud delivered the support and security the IS team required while allowing students to work in a professional cloud environment that promoted a hands-on understanding of launching start-ups from scratch. Virtustream’s advanced cloud infrastructure enabled the department’s students to experience first-hand how how business-focused application and projects operate on industry-leading cloud technology.

Data security when working in a cloud environment is a critical factor for all areas of education, and the IS Department and Freie Universität were no different. By implementing a Virtustream Enterprise Cloud solution, the department gained the ability to leverage a rigorous set of security features recognized globally by the cloud industry as best-in-class. From industry-standard capabilities such as role-based access and segregation of logical and physical assets, to the more complex features of encrypting data at rest, in-use, and in motion, the IS Department felt confident that, with Virtustream, their users’ data would be secure and protected in a trusted environment.

Virtustream Enterprise Cloud also presented the department the chance to have start-ups use virtual machines with their programs, enabling students to develop their own ideas in the field of digital entrepreneurship.

Results

With the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud solution, Virtustream and the IS Department at Freie Universität Berlin are giving students the ability to develop start-ups from inception to launch by interacting directly with innovative cloud technology to increase business value and successfully run a program.

When a start-up use case would benefit from running on cloud infrastructure, professors at the IS Department leverage the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud to deliver an extra layer of entrepreneurship education. With the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, these start-ups hit the ground running with the machine power, capabilities and security they need.

One example of a project currently running on Virtustream Enterprise Cloud is ByCoKit (ELAP). It simplifies the preparation of workshops, courses and lectures with a collaborative platform for content providers. The platform is a result of the EXIST IV project ‘Entrepreneurial Network University’ – which was funded by the BMWi, the EU and the ESF.

Through hands-on education on the inner workings of cloud computing, professors from the IS department at Freie Universität Berlin are enabling their students to have a successful future once they leave the university. Working with cloud infrastructure can be challenging at first, but with practical cloud experience during their time at university, students are set on the right path to launch their own company or start-up in the future.


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