The cloud has become a crucial element of every team collaboration under the sun. But storing documents and other files on servers managed by a large American corporation might not be the most optimal -or in some cases even legal- thing in the world. Using Nextcloud, your team can set up its own content collaboration platform that is completely open and under your full control.
With teams being more distributed than ever before and projects becoming more involved the more they progress, the need for an effective online collaboration platform is clear. Workflows are becoming more dependent on the ability to store and efficiently reach and edit documents and other data. There are well-known options out there to which the world’s largest corporations will quickly point. However, such proprietary solutions have major flaws that could be a problem for some teams:
- Firstly, they don’t offer any control over where data and documents are stored, which can be an enormous issue for teams working with sensitive information. Think compliance - whether to your internal policies or the GDPR- and the generally unattractive proposition of storing data on servers owned by non-EU (usually American) companies.
- Secondly, it’s a bit take it or leave it: there is little in terms of customizing the platform to the needs of developers and other team members.
- And last but not least: even when basic functionality is offered at low initial pricing or even free, expanding to a more comprehensive services collection can become surprisingly expensive. With their proprietary licensing, vendor lock-in is always around the corner. For Nextcloud, the only fees you might be paying are those for consultancy and support.
What is Nextcloud?
Where there’s a need, it’s usually a question of time before an open and green alternative to large tech companies presents itself. For a collaboration platform, that alternative is Nextcloud: the industry-leading, fully open-source, on-premises content collaboration platform. Nextcloud features access, sharing, and editing documents and unified communications for all devices and offers advanced security features.
The fact that Nextcloud is entirely open-source matters a lot. It means it can be self-hosted in any way you like and, on any platform, ensuring complete control over your files, documents, and data, and it allows for mixing and matching the features you need. It can be as simple as installing the server on Linux and the client software on your endpoints.
What I love about Nextcloud
Nextcloud has many features that make it an easy recommendation. Here are a few:
Secure File Sharing
The most obvious feature of Nextcloud is file sharing, which is truly seamless and very user-friendly. The interface is similar to the known proprietary solutions out there. But what sets Nextcloud apart is the control and security you have. Your admins can delete files remotely from any device if needed, and security can take the form of two-factor authentication or other schemes. The server prevents single apps from sharing data on the cloud and offers other apps to share with a protected group of users.
Office productivity has come a long way in the last decade, and Nextcloud offers the best functionality for free without a large company getting in the way. When collaboration took to the cloud, the ability to work on the same document together simultaneously was pretty spectacular. Gone were the times you needed to pass around versions and drafts through long email chains. But there were drawbacks. Sharing a file with someone outside of the teams meant that person needed their own account. Nextcloud offers sharing through a simple link, and people don’t need an account. Additionally, the look and feel can be fully customized to your organization.
All comms rolled into one
Not only does Nextcloud offer the full spectrum of communications and office functionality in a secure package, it can also act as an aggregator for all email, to-do lists, and calendar items. Considering that professionals can have hectic lives involving multiple projects and many multiple accounts that often are part online and part local, using Nextcloud as a focal point can bring order to the chaos of the advanced tech worker.
A nice touch is that pictures can be backed up in real-time through the Nextcloud mobile app.
Is Nextcloud perfect? No(t yet)
Like every ongoing project, however, Nextcloud does still have some things that need work. The most obvious one is that control also means responsibility. The fact that you usually need to self-host the server means that there needs to be something in place for administration and backup. Also, the freedom of choice means that not all specific combinations of features are considered when new updates are released. So, things can break if many of the applications are enabled. Setting up mobile is still not seamlessly integrated yet, which can be a dealbreaker if you want to get things running quickly through one login.
Still, Nextcloud is worth a try!
And, of course, it can be run entirely on the Leafcloud platform, which is completely green and GDPR compliant. Check out our tutorials here which will guide you through the steps to deploy a Nextcloud server and optional steps to attach S3 as the primary storage medium. File sharing takes as little as 15 minutes. And you can always contact us if you have any questions about these possibilities.