2018 has been a hard year for public clouds. From Dropbox sharing data from over 400.000 academic users over for research to the fascinating news that Microsoft gave up on a more secure, German-hosted Office 365. Did you know you can’t upload a document with ‘offensive language’ to OneDrive? And that’s not talking about the MASSIVE data leaks that happened this year. Month after month, scandals have followed each other, all showing more and more clearly that trusting public clouds with your data can only be a huge mistake.
More and more people realize this and start looking at decentralized, self-hosted solutions. Nextcloud’s decentralized Simple Signup initiative is handing out up to 250 accounts per day, up from 100 two weeks ago, showing how quick its growth is. Thousands of people and organizations have already opted to take back control over their data and host themselves.
What instead of a cloud?
Many vendors promise to host your data in a secure and safe way, but putting all data in one of a few places paints a huge target on those services. Nextcloud and the ecosystem that has developed around it offer an alternative: Host yourself or at one of dozens of small providers who give you exactly what you need! By hosting by yourself or at a trusted provider, you stay in control.
Nextcloud itself explicitly doesn’t host because we believe we have no business accessing your data. Instead, we develop software which allows companies to host a private cloud and have built an ecosystem of specialized organizations offering their services. They can either host for you or help you maintain your own infrastructure.
Simple Signup: the success of an ecosystem
Six weeks ago we announced Simple Signup to makes the process to create an account at one of our providers as simple as giving an email address and choosing a password. And this is working great! To quote one of our providers, Andrej Stojanovič from webo.hosting:
In my opinion Simple Signup works great.
For us, all signups number together are roughly 3500, out of which 2200 are still active accounts.
How does it work?
When starting up a Nextcloud client on Android, iOS or the desktop, you will be presented with a sign up option, which has a preselected provider from a list of vetted providers close to the physical location of the user. While you can choose another provider from the list, you can proceed right away, entering an email address, choosing a password and after a short while you will find yourself logged in on your brand new Nextcloud instance! You will have between 2 and 5 GB of free space and access to a list of apps, including at least Talk, Calendar, Contacts and Mail.
Of course, if you need more storage, there are upgrade options. As Markus Ritzmann from Swiss provider snowflake Ops noted:
We have regular requests for more storage space. However, at the moment we don’t have an automatic process for this yet and only sell dedicated installations (mainly for companies).
For the future we are planning an upgrade process for individual customers with stripe.com (or similar). But we’re not there yet.
We created a page on our site to guide users to their best option. Get started now!
Self-hosted: Stay in control
Enterprises legally and commercially need to maintain control over their data while employees and customers need to be able to collaborate, share and sync files they need for business purposes. Hosting a Private Cloud allows control and collaboration, and protects sensitive files from unauthorized access, the risk of corporate espionage and theft.
Public Cloud vendors always insist on their security because they know it is their biggest weakness; they say they encrypt data, protect your encryption keys and prevent unauthorized people from accessing your data. But what are your guarantees? The strong security measures your IT team has implemented will be entirely circumvented by the Public Cloud. For instance, measures such as “accessing documents only through the company’s VPN” or “prevent access from certain countries” escape your control if your data is stored on servers not owned by you. With a Private Cloud hosted in the data center you host your other infrastructure, your own IT team can ensure the safety of your customers’ data based on your existing, fire-tested processes and tools.
In the end, the ability to know what is running, even access and audit its source code, is your best security guarantee. Nextcloud security processes have been audited by experts and our public Hacker One 5K bug bounty is a strong incentive for white hat hackers to find and report problems responsibly to us rather than hack away on your data.
Learn more about why enterprises should self-host their file sync & collaboration platform in our earlier blog: 3 reasons for enterprises to take back control by hosting their own data.