Pramacom uses Mattermost to accelerate workflows & keep Czech citizens safe
“If you value your data and privacy and aim for high reliability and general ease of use, then self-hosted Mattermost is by far the best option out there.”Jan Šídlo Head of IT at Pramacom
Pramacom is a communications company based in the Czech Republic that is tasked with operating and maintaining a digital radio network that’s part of an integrated rescue system police, firefighters, first responders, and army units use to ensure the safety of Czech citizens. The company, which was founded in 1991, aims to provide reliable, end-to-end encrypted voice and data services that can serve several organizations at the same time.
The search for a reliable and secure real-time messaging solution
The Pramacom team works out of two sites, a headquarters and an operating room, both located in Prague. Every day, Pramacom employees need to communicate with technicians who are working in different locations or out in the field.
“I can send an email, but that takes a long time,” says Tomáš Zeman, and IT technician at Pramacom. “I could also use WhatsApp or Messenger, but that’s not secure. If I send sensitive messages, documents, or pictures on those services, I’m afraid where that data is ultimately going to be stored.”
In the event data was hosted where it shouldn’t be or someone intercepted it, Pramacom could face penalties under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Czech law, Zeman explains.
Ahead of the May 2018 rollout of the GDPR, the Pramacom team began looking for a secure messaging solution that they could host on their own servers. “The Czech government doesn’t want us storing data in the cloud,” Zeman continues.
As Pramacom searched for a solution, they considered Jabber and Zulip before ultimately deciding that Mattermost was the best option for their sensitive work.
“Self-hosting is the main reason we started with Mattermost — that and the fact that Mattermost has quite a good UI design which makes it easy to understand and use,” says Jan Šídlo, an IT technician at Pramacom. “Most of the solutions out there don’t offer a self-hosted option, and the few ones that do are not really that user-friendly or reliable.”
In particular, the Pramacom team enjoys Mattermost’s mobile app, which is available on Android and iOS and “is reliable and works,” Šídlo says, adding that other solutions they considered had unreliable mobile apps which “tend to not deliver notifications.”
Accelerating workflows after a smooth, seamless deployment
After choosing Mattermost as their messaging solution, Šídlo deployed it for the IT team and then quickly added more and more people to their instance.
“Implementation was really easy and natural,” Šídlo continues. “The technology just works.”
With Mattermost facilitating quick communications between departments and teams, the Pramacom team is able to work more productively. For example, if a technician is in a bay station and wants to show someone at headquarters a problem they’re working on, they can quickly send a picture over Mattermost; in the past, they’d have to physically move from one place to another to collaborate.
“It’s much quicker to write something on Mattermost,” Zeman says.
To speed up workflows, Pramacom is using bots and webhooks to integrate apps, including internal monitoring tools and GitLab. “We also recently started to use Calls and screen-sharing as a means of replacing Zoom and Teams, and I love it,” Šídlo says.
Additionally, Šídlo likes Mattermost’s “hassle-free licensing, which makes it way easier to integrate company-wide as you don’t have constantly check license count and overuse.”
Speeding up incident response with integrations
Since Pramacom must ensure that critical infrastructure is operational around the clock, the team needs to respond as quickly as possible to any kind of incident, including network outages.
“We use Mattermost as a frontend to our monitoring system,” Šídlo explains. “This enables us, NOC, and technicians to be alerted when something is happening almost immediately, which is perfect for keeping critical communications up and running. We can also immediately comment on these messages and synchronize across teams.”
In five years, the Pramacom team hasn’t had any issues with their primary communication tool that is used for general chat and file-sharing.
“Mattermost just works,” Šídlo says. “It may sound funny at first, but we deal with many systems, and Mattermost is the one that I almost never had to troubleshoot or try to fix some problem. Since the documentation is quite good, I’ve never had to contact support for Mattermost, which is impressive.”
Improving data security and keeping critical data protected
With Mattermost, Pramacom and its partners have the peace of mind that comes with knowing sensitive messaging data is safe and compliant at all times.
“I’ve never had any problems with Mattermost security, which is a huge deal,” Šídlo explains. “Our Mattermost server is facing the internet, and so far, we’ve never had a single security incident. Such an achievement is nothing to scoff at, as it’s incredibly difficult to pull off.”
Any advice for other companies searching for a new collaboration solution?
“Mattermost is definitely the way to go,” Šídlo concludes. “If you value your data and privacy and aim for high reliability and general ease of use, then self-hosted Mattermost is by far the best option out there.”