Göliska IT accelerates digital transformation and demonstrates the art of the possible
Göliska-IT is a service provider for six Swedish municipalities. It was formed in 2005 and is part-owned by all six municipalities. The business continues to grow. Its service catalogue has grown from 10 to 35 services. In that time headcount has grown from 30 to 65.
Digital transformation, mobility and IoT are major themes for public sector service providers in Sweden. The challenge for Göliska IT is to create a network infrastructure that is secure, scalable and simple to manage.
"Co-operation between municipalities in Sweden is not new," says Anders Thörn, CEO, Göliska-IT. "What's unique about Göliska IT is the fact that we have been doing this for years, and the deep integration between processes, systems and skills."
Wireless as the primary connection
The Göliska network has a variety of users, from politicians to teachers, students to social workers. Common to all is the need for mobility, high availability and increasingly high capacity. In addition, the growth of IoT, from smart city sensors to school door locks to CCTV, requires a more robust network.
"When we started our collaboration with Aruba in 2008, we needed a scalable solution for wireless access that we could grow with as our customer base grew," says Peter Holmgren, operations manager, Göliska IT. "Back then we had 50 access points, today we have around 2,300 and we expect to go up to 2,800 by the end of the year.
"Today, wireless is the primary method of connecting to the network. The challenge now is high performance, high security and high automation."
Unifying network management
The engagement with Aruba has grown to include access points, mobility controllers, Aruba AirWave for network management and Aruba ClearPass for smart network access control and automation. From summer 2019, Göliska IT will start the next phase of its network upgrade.
We want to bring the same management experience to wired as wireless. Over the next five years we will replace over 900 existing switches with an Aruba 2930F. This will hugely simplify the way the network is managed. Peter Holmgren, operations manager, Göliska IT
"We want to bring the same management experience to wired as wireless," says Holmgren. "Over the next five years we will replace over 900 existing switches with an Aruba 2930F. This will hugely simplify the way the network is managed."
The Aruba 2930F is a layer 3 switch series with enterprise-grade features. It is simple to secure, deploy and manage with Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager, Aruba AirWave or Aruba Central.
For Göliska IT, regardless of how devices connect, Aruba Dynamic Segmentation automatically enforces smart and consistent policies across the wired and wireless networks, to keep traffic secure and separate.
Rules-based access for every device
Göliska IT expects to migrate 10 switches a month to Aruba. Holmgren says it will be a few years before the full impact is realised, but the business case is clear, and they are executing on a solid strategy.
"We'll have rule-based access for every device, whether it's wired or wireless. All the decisions will be made in the same place, with the same rules. There will be policies for every resource, all managed centrally."
It means Göliska IT will have just three SSIDs: one for the public, one for administrators and one for mobile devices.
"Eventually, with WPA3, we expect to have just one SSID," says Holmgren.
Managing it is further simplified with Dynamic Segmentation. "Every decision is made in the local controller. It means we avoid all the manual work of configuring every access point or switch. Again, all rule-based, all from one place," says Holmgren.
Strengthened security and integration with third party specialists
The upgrade also addresses security concerns. It will be easier for Göliska IT to segment different user groups – schools and students, for example, versus IoT sensors, with clear rules.
"The world is changing. We recognise that some malicious people want access to our data and our network," says Anders Thörn. "The municipalities are increasingly aware of this, and GDPR was a wake-up call. They're prepared to invest in top security."
The advantage of the Aruba platform, Holmgren continues, is that it is easy to integrate security solutions from specialist third parties. Göliska IT currently manages over 10,000 mobile devices, including iPads issued to students, with MobileIron and ClearPass.
"It means the iPads can be sent directly to the school, with no need for them to be configured separately. Students then log on through Apple Deployment and they're connected to the correct VLAN through ClearPass. The process is automatic and secure."
The capacity to drive digital transformation
Simplicity and efficiency in network operations and delivery will allow Göliska IT to accelerate the provisioning of services that will drive the digital transformation of local amenities. Thörn and Holmgren expect IoT to be a major driver as municipalities develop smart city strategies.
"We need to work more closely with the municipalities to understand what they need," concludes Thörn. "They also expect to take a leadership position. The municipalities want us to show them what's possible. Our engagement with Aruba enables us to focus our time and energy on the value chain."