Secure e-mail for teachers: German federal state of Thuringia puts their trust in mailbox.org

Soon, the 200.000 students who go to school in the German federal state of Thuringia (and their parents) will benefit from their schools using a better, more secure e-mail service. Any messages sent to the teachers will no longer end up in private e-mail accounts with services like Gmail, GMX, or T-Online, which do not provide the data protection guarantees required for schools. All 22.000 teachers who are in the service of the state can look forward to receiving their own dedicated, secure e-mail account, operated by mailbox.org. In the background: Servers located in Germany, solid data protection guarantees, and thorough encryption of all communication pathways.

Due to a lack of practical alternatives, the use of services such as Office 365, Gmail, or WhatsApp is currently widespread in our schools. Often, the schools and the teachers who work there do not have the technical infrastructure or resources to set up a dedicated service, and there is sometimes also a lack of awareness when it comes to issues like security and the need for data protection. In this situation, the easiest solution for most teachers is to simply register private e-mail addresses to communicate with the students and their parents.

However, this practice is highly problematic. Be it information about medical conditions provided before the kids go on a school trip, or confidential details about the last parent-teacher meeting, or maybe photos from the latest school theater play on Facebook – whenever data about minors, which is worthy of special protection, is getting stored with services that openly admit they will analyze and use this data for business purposes, such practice becomes unacceptable.

security, data protection and good usability were top priorities

The Thuringian Department for Education, Youth, and Sports has realized this problem and worked to provide a solution for all teachers in their country. „We wanted a professional cloud-based solution that enables our teaching staff to communicate easily with the students and their parents. Our highest priorities in this endeavor were security, data protection, and good usability.“, says Helmut Holter, the Thuringian minister for education.

The mailbox.org bid satisfied all key requirements of the tender concerning data protection, encryption technology, and usability. As a result, we were able to beat the competition and win a 5-year contract.

We are very pleased that our continuous efforts to promote security and data protection has led to this development, which will be a real improvement for people: All teaching staff in Thuringia are going to receive their own e-mail account for official business communications, which enables them to send e-mails and files, and also manage tasks and appointments. They will also be able to use our online Office to create and edit text documents, spread sheets, and presentations that are needed for their daily educational work, and share these documents easily with colleagues, students, and parents, all in accordance with the strict German data protection laws. Teachers will also benefit from an e-mail inbox that they can choose to encrypt automatically, which is a good measure to protect incoming e-mails from unauthorized access.

mailbox.org can use existing interfaces to integrate seamlessly with the Thuringian school portal, and their administrators will be able to manage everything independently from their end. While Thuringia has been the first to adopt our solution, we know that other federal states are also thinking about ways to acquire secure e-mail inboxes for their teachers.

mailbox.org offers the highest security standards, and our reputation and technical experience not just of e-mail servers but also of IT interfaces makes us the ideal partner for these kinds of projects.