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Introduction to ownCloud

Cloud storage is becoming an increasingly popular option for enterprises. It allows all the workers to upload their data into the cloud, sync it across their devices and share with ease to co-workers. However, have you considered the security implications of this?

Previously, when your data was just stored on a hard drive, it was under your control. Now, with online cloud storage, you don’t have that same control. Your company’s policy and regulatory guidelines don’t have the same impact. Sensitive data can include financial spreadsheets, customer data or internal memos; anything that you wouldn’t want the wrong eyes to view. However, when storing your data elsewhere there is a potential security threat. It’s perhaps unlikely, but what if services like Dropbox and OneDrive were broken into and data was leaked? You’d have no control.

According to Symantec, more than 75 percent of businesses have used online cloud services to store or share sensitive business information. Of these, 40 percent said they’d experienced confidential information being exposed.

This is where ownCloud comes in. ownCloud is a program that you download and install to your own servers and your own storage. This means that everything is kept within the organisation and the company procedures are fully adhered to. Additionally, because it uses your own storage, there’s essentially no limit on how much data you can store. Files are AES encrypted at rest and there is Clam AV virus scanning built in.

According to the ownCloud website, their system is “as easy to use as Dropbox”. It allows you to access your data wherever you are, be it from a desktop or mobile device, plus share your data with ease. Administrators can allow anonymous uploading and choose to share certain folders to partners. All files shared can be password protected and an expiry date can be set.

If a file is accidentally removed and needs restoring, ownCloud has an undelete function that will restore the file and all its versions. Plus, speaking of versions, the system has an intelligent algorithm that automatically removes an old version of a file if you’re running low on space.

As an added security feature, ownCloud will log everything that takes place. Administrative actions, sharing and transfers; all of this is tracked to syslog files and ownCloud itself. Plus, this can all be integrated with log viewing programs like Splunk.

All of this will integrate with your existing home directories, allowing syncing and sharing to take place with ease on current systems. You can integrate it with your current backup solutions too, meaning that you don’t have to shell out extra costs to get things working together.

ownCloud comes in a community and enterprise edition. The latter offers professional phone and email support, additional tools and features, plus greater licensing options. ownCloud can be downloaded online from the official website for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The app is also available on iOS and Android devices, reducing a lot of compatibility issues. Documentation on how to install the program, if needed, is also available.

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