Nextcloud: Why Should You?
Nextcloud is open source file sync and share software for everyone from individuals operating the free Nextcloud Server in the privacy of their own home, to large enterprises and service providers supported by the Nextcloud Enterprise Subscription. Nextcloud provides a safe, secure, and compliant file synchronization and sharing solution on servers that you control.
You can share one or more files and folders on your computer, and synchronize them with your Nextcloud server. Place files in your local shared directories, and those files are immediately synchronized to the server and to other devices using the Nextcloud Desktop Sync Client, Android app, or iOS app.
Why should you?
There are multiple reasons to adopt nextcloud. Let’s dive into this and look at some of the features nextcloud has to offer that suits your business needs.
Nextcloud is, hands down, the best on-premise cloud server platform on the market. Not only is it easy to deploy, it’s also reliable and expandable.
Unlike cloud storage, on-premises storage relies on infrastructure at your Company’s brick and mortar office to manage your data. You’ll own all of the equipment and you will be responsible for the lifecycle management. As you might guess, there are several pros and cons of on-premises solutions for data storage.
Though cloud-storage has been all the rage lately, some companies still believe that on-premises solutions are best suited for their business needs. For example, many enjoy the greater security that on-premises solutions and storage give their data. On-premises storage is a great option for your business because it can:
- Operate without internet
- Lower monthly internet costs
- Provide greater security
- Offer control over server hardware
Control & Compliant by design
Protect, control and monitor data and communication across your company. Guarantee compliance with business and legal requirements. Keep your data on servers you own, at all times. Nothing leaks, not even metadata.
Nextcloud products are designed with compliance in mind, providing extensive data policy enforcement, encryption, user management and auditing capabilities example: HIPAA, GDPR and more.
Your teams are using email attachments, public chat apps and consumer file sharing tools to communicate and collaborate. Then nextcloud is the best option to keep that under control
- Host your own collaboration platform.
- Protect your IT investment by re-using existing infrastructure.
- Ensure compliance, security and flexibility.
- Know where your data is, who has access and how it is used.
- Facilitate secure collaboration and communication.
Security and Authentication
There is a lot to talk about security in nextcloud.
Nextcloud is designed to protect user data through multiple layers of protection. It aligns with industry standards such as Clause 14 of ISO/IEC27001-2013 and related standards, guidance and security principles. Their solution is built around combined assurance layers consisting of rich security features, applied best practices governed by policy and the design itself validated by industry standard testing processes.
Control is key to security. With Nextcloud, your IT department takes back control over its data, managed under its policies and procedures. Nextcloud integrates in the tooling you use in your data center like logging and intrusion detection and works with existing authentication mechanisms like SAML, Kerberos and LDAP.
Nextcloud supports your existing storage solution, keeping data under control of trusted IT administrators and managed with established policies. Nextcloud works with industry standard SQL databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL and MariaDB for user and metadata storage.
Nextcloud offers built in monitoring tools and integrates with existing MDM, DLP, event logging and backup tools, enabling existing tool chains to be used to monitor, backup and restore systems.
Nextcloud leverages existing data storage and database technologies so current security policies and governance processes can continue to be used to manage, control and secure operations with Nextcloud. Your IT department is fully in control.
Nextcloud includes a variety of second factors like TOTP, U2F and SMS gateways. 2-factor authentication can be enforced and user sessions and devices can be managed.
Nextcloud is also among the first in the industry to provide support for the WebAuthn standard, enabling password-less authentication and support for Windows Hello, various FIDO2 keys and other standards-compliant authentication devices.
You can find more security details here: https://nextcloud.com/secure/
The real power of Nextcloud Is Its Apps. If Nextcloud were only a personal alternative to file-hosting services like Dropbox, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Its real power, however, is in the many extensions, or “apps”, that provide many additional functions.
The open source community gives you a variety of apps to choose from which suits your needs. Either you can go with the apps which are out there or you can build your own apps as per your business need.
You can find a lot of nextcloud apps here: https://apps.nextcloud.com/
Some of the popular apps are:
- Two-Factor TOTP Provider
- External sites
- Announcement center
- File access control
And many more… You can find a more detailed description of these apps in their respective pages on Nextcloud apps.
These apps make Nextcloud different from other file hosting services.
Mobile and desktop clients
Nextcloud gives you access to your data and communication wherever you are. Their easy to use desktop and mobile clients are available for all major platforms for free!
Users can access and share their data on Nextcloud through sync clients for Windows, Linux and Mac as well as Android and IOS, providing a smooth experience no matter where data is located.
The Nextcloud desktop client keeps photos and documents always up to date, enabling you to work like you always did.
Any file you add, modify or delete in the synced folders on your desktop or laptop will show up, change or disappear on the server and all other connected devices. Sync one or more folders locally with folders on the server and pick what folders you don’t need.
The mobile clients feature integrated real-time document editing. Nextcloud Text is used for note taking with Markdown files, Microsoft Office compatible document editing on-the-go is available through Collabora Online or ONLYOFFICE when these are installed on the server.
The clients also allow users to comment on documents, add a note to a shared file, view and act on server notification like a request to accept a file share or approve a login, see activity for any file and much more. Productivity is guaranteed, wherever you are!
No matter what device or how many devices you use, you will always find consistent data.
Nextcloud is being used by many corporations and since it is an open source project it has a lot of contributors. More than 1000 apps are published to be compatible with latest version of nextcloud. Nextcloud 22 brings a wide range of improvements for the modern digital office with new workflows, important new collaboration features in Talk, Groupware, and Files for effective self-management for teams.
The biggest improvements Nextcloud 22 introduces are:
- User-defined groups with Circles that makes it easier to manage teams where you can share files or assign tasks to circles, or create chat rooms for a circle.
- Integrated chat and task management where you can simply share a deck card into a chat room or turn a chat message into a task.
- Easy approval workflow, where an administrator can define a new approval flow in the settings and users can, on a document, request approval.
- Getting your document signatures easy with integrated PDF signing with DocuSign, EIDEasy, and LibreSign.
- Integrated knowledge management Nextcloud puts knowledge available to everyone at a moments’ notice, providing easy search, sharing, and portable access.
- Groupware improvements bringing a trash bin feature in Calendar and more. Nextcloud Mail features improved threading, email tagging, and support for Sieve filtering.
- Big improvements in Nextcloud Talk with voice messages, location and contact sharing, message deletion and much more.
There are many more new features and changes like notifications in the app navigation, integrated compression in the Files interface, and significant performance improvements to universal search.
Nextcloud is a great alternative to proprietary services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. It also provides a set of apps which you can install to extend its functionality in various ways. Below is a summary of the features offered by nextcloud:
- Nextcloud is open source – there are no limitations and you can inspect, integrate, extend and modify Nextcloud however you want.
- Powerful, integrated logging, two-factor authentication and NIST compliant password policy control functionalities.
- Sharing and Provisioning REST APIs. Facilitates the integration of remote 3rd party apps.
- Nextcloud offers an easy to use user interface which comes with search functionality, favorites, tags and even more ways to quickly reach the files you need. Full Text search is available using Apache Solr.
- Authentication through LDAP / Active Directory, Kerberos and Shibboleth / SAML 2.0 and more.
- Fine-grained control from mobile, desktop or the Web over data access and sharing capabilities. Pick from the list of users and groups, stored either locally or on another, authorized, server.
- Quick access to core functions for app development with the powerful Nextcloud App API and webhooks following the publication / subscription model.
- Text file editing and thumbnail previews of PDF, images, text files, office files and more.
- Pre-loaded files and folders for new users. Populate a new user’s Files area with, for example, a tutorial file, which appears when they first log in.
- Advanced quota management with configurable accounting of external storage.
- Built in, easy to use theming to set color, login background and logo from Administrator screen.
How Osmosys Can Help?
Osmosys has been developing Nextcloud apps since Jan 2019. We have worked with some of the organizations from Germany and helped them in developing large scale solutions around Nextcloud to meet their business requirements.
For example: Nextcloud is capable of keeping the data in sync across different clients which are connected to one Nextcloud instance. We have come up with a solution for one of our clients to be able to sync their data across multiple Nextcloud instances. This requirement is very specific to their business requirement.
We can develop custom nextcloud apps which are very specific to your business needs. Osmosys will also help with deployment and maintaining the Nextcloud instance. We also provide support for enhancements and maintain app compatibility with future Nextcloud releases.
Contact us for more queries.
Posted By: Vishnu Kyatannawar, Osmosee
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