ownCloud for Government and Public Sector

Now more than ever, government agencies and departments are challenged to improve public service while reducing administrative costs. Civilian agencies must streamline cross-department and inter-agency data flows; intelligence and law enforcement organizations must automate information sharing processes; regulatory agencies must improve the timeliness and efficiency of their governance programs.

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At the state level, every citizen-facing process is a candidate for modernization – from motor vehicle administration to law enforcement to social services. Since most government processes have historically been paper-centric, the potential benefits of electronic document sharing are enormous. In a climate where public safety and privacy are under constant scrutiny, however, data security is non-negotiable.

In response to demands for efficient, secure file sharing, government agencies are adopting file sync and share (FSS) solutions. Many FSS services require data to be hosted on public cloud servers, beyond an agency’s governance reach and outside of IT’s control. Public cloud FSS solutions not only pose significant issues related to data security, they have raised serious discussion in the malware and intrusion prevention community. Intrusion risks, however unlikely, are simply unacceptable to government computing infrastructures. What’s needed is a FSS solution that installs on-premises, operates completely within IT’s security and governance realms, yet provides easy end user access and mobility applications.

Osterman Research recommends the deployment of an enterprise-grade FSS capability as a replacement for non-enterprise tools. File Synchronization and Sharing Market Forecast, 2012-2017 – Osterman Research, Inc.

ownCloud: Secure File Sharing Backed by Open Source

ownCloud is a popular solution for government agencies and departments to use for file access applications. It combines the speed and ease-of-use found in consumer-grade file sharing applications with the security, governance and control of an on-premises solution. Unlike cloud-based services, which store sensitive data on public cloud servers outside of IT’s control, ownCloud is deployed on premises and on private cloud infrastructures. ownCloud integrates seamlessly with every part of the IT fabric – from user directories to security systems to monitoring and back-up services – ensuring that sensitive data remains under control at all times.

Yet it also provides the ease-of-use and mobility users have come to expect from consumer-based services. And for agencies with open source procurement policies, ownCloud is available under a AGPLv3 license and is backed by the largest FSS open source community in the world.

A few examples of how ownCloud can be used in government and public sector applications include:

File Retention

With the extent of sensitive data government agencies store, IT needs a way to set rules for certain files. ownCloud enables admins to set document classification rules and then, based on the defined classification, take action to enforce those rules. By leveraging a combination of new system and user tags, admins and users can decide how to classify a document. Further, admins can set policies that determine how long to retain a file based on the classification, and then automatically delete the file at the end of a defined retention period.

Security, Control, Auditability

Government agencies need to share sensitive data with the confidence of knowing it is only available to authorized users. Further, organizations need to control each user’s rights (create, view, update and delete) and audit how and when data has been accessed. Cloud-based file sharing solutions are simply not an option for many government applications since data must remain completely under agency control. ownCloud addresses the need for secure, auditable data sharing with an on-premises solution designed from the ground up to integrate with existing directory (LDAP/AD), security and rights management systems, ensuring that data governance policies are enforced end-to-end. ownCloud supports single sign-on through SAML, and flexible logging features provide auditors with detailed visibility into all data access activities. ownCloud uses AES algorithm to encrypt data at rest, and integrates with toolkits like OpenSSL to ensure that data in flight is protected using the highest cryptographic standards. Learn more about why many government and public sector organizations are choosing ownCloud for their on-premises file sharing foundation. Learn more

Inter-agency Collaboration

Federal and state agencies require secure document collaboration within and across organizational boundaries. A few common collaboration examples include sharing case information, regulatory documents, compliance data, disaster response plans, RFP portfolios, and video and audio files. Further, these resources must be accessible to individuals within their organizations, across agencies, with outside contractors and, increasingly, with the general public. By integrating with on-premises directories and security infrastructures, ownCloud allows all sensitive data to remain within an organization’s control, ensuring that only authorized parties can access data. ownCloud also provides Files Drop which allows external parties (e.g., a systems integrator or contractor) to securely upload files under IT’s control. Using ownCloud, public sector organizations can collaborate internally and across their extended ecosystems in a secure, compliant, auditable manner.

Secure Mobile Productivity

Government agency and department managers are often mobile, and increasingly need to review proposals, research reports and contracts while they’re offsite. Maintenance crews, investigative teams and other field operations groups also need to integrate mobile technologies into their daily work processes. ownCloud’s mobile applications make secure mobile file sharing a breeze. Users can browse, download, edit and upload files using tablets and smart phones, all under IT control. In-flight data is encrypted using advanced Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols, rendering unauthorized access virtually impossible. ownCloud is the ideal solution for implementing knowledge stores for mobile maintenance and repair teams because documents, drawings, audio and video files are available anywhere, anytime, yet their access is always governed by agency policies.

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