Blog | Press release

Data security also includes metadata, not only files

When it comes to digital collaboration, protecting only the files is not enough. Protecting the metadata is equally important for data security. Klaas Freitag, CTO, ownCloud, explains.
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When it comes to digital collaboration, it is not enough for companies to protect only the files; it is equally vital to ensure security for the associated metadata. Modern solutions that do not require a database make this task much easier.

Public vs. private cloud

In the modern digital workplace, companies are increasingly using digital collaboration platforms to share files and work on them with internal as well as external parties. As digital collaboration often involves critical and sensitive documents, more and more enterprises now prefer to move away from public clouds and rely on private clouds instead. They either operate the private clouds themselves in their own data center or avail the services of a trustworthy cloud provider. Working with a private cloud ensures full user control for the enterprises and offers better protection of data from unauthorized access, abuse and breach.

Digital collaboration quote by Klaas Freitag


A particular challenge to data protection is that companies not only have to secure the files themselves, but also the associated metadata. Information such as file names, file sizes, original data, user names of creators, revision histories or the exchange of comments allow for extensive conclusions to be drawn. Therefore, the metadata is highly sensitive information.

Klaas Freitag, CTO, ownCloud





Evolution of digital collaboration platforms

Digital collaboration solutions usually have a file system for storing the files and parallel database systems for storing and managing the metadata. Due to the complexity of the individual components, different administrators are often active for these different systems: experts for managing the file system and additional administrators who look after database systems such as Oracle or MariaDB. However, more system components mean a larger target for cyber attacks; and multiple administrators mean a higher risk of accidental disclosure of sensitive data or misuse.

“But things are different today. The market now offers digital collaboration platforms that manage completely without a database and store all metadata together with the files. This enables companies to have a higher level of security because the attack surface is reduced and many potential sources of error are excluded from the outset. Also, they have the technical guarantee that all associated metadata will also disappear when they delete files. Moreover, elimination of the database systems and their administrators translates to lower costs.”

Klaas Freitag, CTO, ownCloud

Based on the Press Release published in PRCOM on 13th September 2022.

Anwesha Ray

September 19, 2022

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