European Governments work with Nextcloud to build Digitally Sovereign Office

August 25, 2022

    Jos Poortvliet

    European Governments face dependency and data control challenges, support building alternative platform for online office

    August 25, 2022, Berlin. Nextcloud GmbH announces a European initiative to build a digitally sovereign office, integrated in the Nextcloud collaboration platform. The effort, started early 2021, is a response to a growing need in the EU for an independent, on-premises, trustworthy document collaboration tool.

    The dominant position of a small number of digital collaboration platforms threatens European sovereignty, attracting the attention of anti-trust authorities like in the recent case involving Microsoft. On top of this, a growing number of data protection offices across Europe, from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany to France, is coming to the inevitable conclusion that these foreign cloud platforms are not suitable for use by government.

    This illustrates a clear need for a local, GDPR compliant, open source, standards-compliant, easy to use, performant and decentralized Office which does not suffer from vendor lock-in or data leaks to third parties and countries. To achieve this, several European Government agencies joined with Nextcloud to deliver this solution and today we announce the formation of an Advisory board with members of the Swedish, German, Swiss and other European federal and local governments. The board aims to further the development of Nextcloud Office, already widely deployed in the Government sector, opening direct communication between the development team and users. The board is looking for new members to participate in the furtherance of European Digital Sovereignty.

    Today, the first production-ready results are available and have already been deployed at customer sites across European governments.

    Collaborative office applications are key for the digitization of the public sector, and a diversity of options reduces both risk and cost.

    Kollaborative Office Anwendungen sind der Schlüssel für die Digitalisierung des öffentlichen Sektors, und eine Vielfalt von Optionen reduziert sowohl Risiken als auch Kosten

    Andreas Pelzner, Vorstand Komm.One, responsible for IT services for over 1000 municipalities in the German state of Baden-Württemberg

    Hundreds of municipal, state, federal and EU government organizations in Europe use Nextcloud to collaborate in a secure and compliant manner and deployments are accelerating.

    Nextcloud Office was launched in December 2021 in collaboration with the online office experts from Collabora. It introduced advanced compatibility with proprietary document formats and alongside the establishment of the Advisory Board, the Nextcloud Office team releases an update with a familiar tabbed menu interface. The Nextcloud Usability team is launching a usability survey to investigate usage patterns in the public sector and establish key priorities for development.

    Improving the choice of online office solutions in the market benefits both private and public parties.

    Steve Jordi, City of Geneva, servicing IT for the employees of the city government and its suppliers and partners.

    Microsoft Office compatibility with documents is a key concern for our users. We work to made sure that Nextcloud Office has better compatibility with MS Office document formats than the various Microsoft products themselves do between platforms and over the years. Customers will have fewer cases where Nextcloud Office can not display elements of documents than they would encounter on MS 365, especially with legacy documents and file formats.

    A multi-vendor strategy is important for the Swedish government for reasons of strategic independence, healthy markets and cost control.

    Swedish government official. Sweden recently decided to move to digitally sovereign technology for its government services.

    Nextcloud encourages users to participate in the usability study while we continue to ask public sector users of Nextcloud to participate in our Advisory Board.

    About Nextcloud GmbH

    Nextcloud Hub is the industry-leading, fully open-source, on-premises team productivity platform, combining the easy user interface of consumer-grade cloud solutions with the security and compliance measures enterprises need. Nextcloud Hub brings together universal access to data through mobile, desktop and web interfaces with next-generation, on-premise secure communication and collaboration features like real-time document editing, chat and video calls, putting them under the direct control of IT and integrated with existing infrastructure.

    Nextcloud’s easy and quick deployment, open, modular architecture and emphasis on security and advanced federation capabilities enable modern enterprises to leverage their existing file storage assets within and across the borders of their organization. For more information, visit nextcloud.com or follow @Nextclouders on Twitter.

    Links

    • News article: Dutch government concludes: MS Office 365 and Google Workspace not suitable for use for sensitive and personal data in Government and education (Dutch).
    • Press release German Procurement Chamber September 2022: Baden-Württemberg Procurement Chamber decides US Cloud Services are not GDPR compliant (German press release)
    • Anti-trust complaint against Microsoft by group of EU tech companies (announcement, website)

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