Enterprise-a-what? Yep, I made up a word. There’s been a lot of news lately of consumer-grade companies trying to get all enterprise with their file sync and share. And many of those companies started all this trouble – we call it the “Dropbox Problem” – in the first place. I started the ownCloud project almost 4 years ago now because I saw this coming – both from a personal and a business perspective – and now, with all the PRISM and PRISM-like disclosures, with more and more employees bringing their own devices to work and syncing and sharing more and more corporate data, isn’t it time for IT to just take back control? But isn’t it good, you may ask, that these companies are “seeing the light” and putting enterprise features in place – especially since so many of their employees are using them? I don’t think so. First, in order to truly make use of these services, companies must migrate all their data to these cloud services. This is not just a costly proposition (cloud storage is not nearly as cost efficient as storage you already own, plus, for most this “migration” will be a duplication of the stack, not a replacement) it exposes a company to privacy, security and even potential regulatory and legal consequences. But the cloud is a powerful draw for many. The simplicity, the reduction in capex, the flexibility. Increasingly businesses are embracing the cloud, and they should. But they should do so thoughtfully and completely in control. Move non-critical, non-sensitive data to the cloud first, using the authentication, security, privacy and governance tools you already have to protect that data. Choose carefully where, how and with whom you store the data, managing it, again, on-premises, with tools you already have. Keep your most sensitive data on-premises, again, controlled on-premises by your security and IT teams with existing tools. This Hybrid cloud strategy protects the company from some of the dangers inherent in moving to the public cloud. ownCloud also helps reduce some of the complexity as well. By controlling data from a central access point, there is no need to build and maintain duplicate data silos. And by giving employees an access tool – mobile and/or desktop – that allows them to easily switch between accounts themselves – IT ensures that they will use the tool. This approach also in itself brings flexibility. By having control, management can choose how, why and when they go to the cloud.
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