Adhering to their requirements ownCloud customers are able to decide where they want to store their data and to choose between Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud. For example, less critical data can be transferred to a public cloud, while data protection-critical files can remain in a private cloud within their own company. With the Private Cloud model, organizations can decide whether to store the files on their own enterprise servers (on-premises) or in a data center of their choice (PaaS or IaaS). What are the arguments for a Public Cloud approach?
How Secure is Your Data?
Public Cloud-based file sharing vendors want you to believe that it is safe to store sensitive data on their public servers, outside of your control. They promise your data will be encrypted; they assure you that data access will be limited to your authorized employees; they proclaim that their solutions are certified to comply with your regulatory requirements. Some even say they will “indemnify” you for litigation resulting from data misuse. What does that even mean?
There is a reason cloud vendors make so much noise about data security, privacy and control – they know these requirements are at the heart of all public and private organizations, including yours. They also know that, by inviting you to store sensitive data on their public cloud servers, they require you to create vulnerabilities that could compromise the trust, compliance and legal foundation of your organization.
You have invested significantly to implement a security infrastructure that protects your employees’ privacy, your customers’ data and your company’s intellectual assets. Although advanced file sharing solutions offer breakthrough gains in productivity and efficiency, you need a solution that leverages your security infrastructure, not one that bypasses it. You need a solution that you can deploy on-premises, integrated with your existing IT stack, operating under your control.
The Enterprise Risks of Cloud-based File Sharing
Data Privacy & Security
First, and foremost, storing data off-premises (whether encrypted and/or indemnified) exposes that data to a variety of unwanted users – government investigators, law enforcement agencies, lawyers, hackers, even file sharing vendor personnel. And, when accessing off-premises data through CDN, WebDAV or other web protocols, that data is not encrypted and may be co-mingled with the data of other companies. Additionally, once data is on those third-party servers, it often stays there – deleting it from a user account does not delete it from the storage.
Consider a few realities of cloud-based file sharing:
- Seven million Dropbox passwords were hacked in a single attack.
- Dropbox claims that 150,000 companies use its Dropbox for Business service. If you use Dropbox, your sensitive data will be co-mingled with 150,000 other companies.
- Cloud file sharing vendors integrate with 3rd party products to achieve single sign-on (SSO) authentication using an enterprise’s directory. That means passwords/hashes are shared, and a successful hack of another application (e.g., email, ERP, CRM) could compromise the security of the file sharing system. In addition, 3rd party SSO components introduce more points of failure and greater support complexities.
- Data is often encrypted at rest in the cloud. However, you as the customer do not control the keys. Is access to the keys logged and audited? Is unauthorized access caught in time to prevent damage? Can you say with certainty that you know who is accessing your keys?
With ownCloud’s self-hosted Private Cloud solution (on-premises), IT knows exactly where the data is and who has access to it at any given point in time. This is not the case with Public Cloud-based products – the data may even be stored outside of a customer’s country, which may put them at risk for regulatory requirements. The risks of data leakage, security vulnerabilities, compliance violations and business damage are enormous – and well documented! In many instances, physically storing data from one country on servers located in another country is against the law. Similarly, legal statutes in some regulated industries require data to be secured at all times – reliance on external security providers is a compliance violation. It is important to know where your sensitive information is being stored and how it is being accessed. While regulatory compliance can be guaranteed with on-premises data storage and governance, cloud-based alternatives introduce real and significant compliance risks.
Since the European Union declared the Safe Harbor Agreement invalid and the Digital Privacy Act, PIPEDA, and provincial legislation in Canada, many of companies around the world who were handling and processing foreign data in the United States were affected. It also makes storing data with many of the cloud vendors illegal. ownCloud users, however, were never effected with our unique feature Federated Cloud Sharing. This allows users to keep all their data on their own servers, in their own countries, with the ability to connect the servers.
A company storing data off-premises is circumventing the company firewall. Cloud-based storage vendors often lack the flexibility to enforce your security policies and procedures. Specific permissions such as “no access from certain countries” or “access only from the company VPN” may be circumvented. Prudent organizations choose on-premises file access solutions that offer the control you require today with the flexibility to evolve as your needs change. ownCloud was designed from the ground up to interoperate seamlessly in a heterogeneous ecosystem of applications, tools and utilities—whether onsite, cloud or hybrid.
Vendors go out of business, are acquired by competitors, change their business strategies and raise their prices. If, for whatever reason, you decide to change your business processes, your ability to do so may be significantly hindered by vendor lock-in. You may be unable to make a change, even if your provider suffers security breaches, gaps in availability or aggressive pricing changes. On the other hand, with ownCloud you have the flexibility to choose the storage that works for you and the control and access you need.
On-premises storage – and integrated on-premises file sync and share software – is the best way to keep your data safe. ownCloud lets you leverage your existing security infrastructure, integrate easily with your existing toolswhile you stay in control of your data. You don’t need to reinvent your security policies and governance processes – they simply function within your established framework. And when your data requirements expand, you have the ability to securely scale with them.
File sync and share is quickly becoming a cornerstone IT service, providing a vastly improved way to access, sync and share information across devices. By its nature, however, file sharing solutions must connect to many user-facing applications and, ideally, integrate with your existing technology stack. ownCloud was designed from the ground up to interoperate seamlessly in an ecosystem of applications, tools and utilities. While end users rave about ownCloud’s ease of use, IT values how ownCloud integrates with the existing technology stack. And ownCloud’s published APIs, mobile libraries and open standards deliver an infinitely extendable file sharing foundation for the enterprise.
Enjoy the benefits of both worlds with ownCloud—Comfort of a Public Cloud AND Security of a Private Cloud Security. Keep IT in control with ownCloud!
What Customers are Saying
ownCloud is the choice of organizations across the globe as they look to share files securely, enable access to unstructured data through a single plane.
Our pilot service with ownCloud meets the users' requirements for platform integration, usability and ease of access. Therefore we are currently scaling up the pilot service to expose it to a larger user community. The open source aspect of ownCloud is the key element for future integration and extension in our environment. We see a potential for the ownCloud platform to evolve from a system focused on handling document files into a system for handling scientific datasets on a larger scale. Dr Jakub T. Moscicki, IT Data Storage Services at CERN
ownCloud offers the flexible access and extensibility we need. With integrated authentication, secure access controls, and the ability to customize to our specific requirements, ownCloud serves as a key building block and a critical part of Wind River’s overall delivery solution. Scott Fenton, Chief Information Officer at Wind River
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