Q&A: ownCloud Provides Secure File Sharing for the Enterprise

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File storage and sharing using consumer-oriented cloud services can be a security problem for companies that want to avoid sensitive data leaks. ownCloud aims to solve the issue by offering commercial cloud services installed within a company's own datacenter. Their open source software is built on Linux and most often deployed on Linux by enterprise customers, said Markus Rex, CTO of ownCloud, via email. Here, Rex discusses where ownCloud fits into the open cloud ecosystem, what it means to be an Markus Rex, CTO of ownCloud.open source company, how to ensure security with open source software and why they recently joined The Linux Foundation.

Where does ownCloud fit into the ecosystem of open source cloud platforms?

I guess you could say we enable cloud platforms in many respects. At its heart, ownCloud is a secure cloud engine. Enterprises and users gain complete control over their sensitive data by integrating ownCloud with their infrastructure and security systems, managed through their policies. We integrate in open source platforms like OpenStack and run on highly popular OSS stacks; Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP are preferred deployments.

How does ownCloud use Linux?

Well, to start, Linux is our main development platform, so, you know, that's important. And keep in mind that's as much a community statement as it is a technology statement. What I mean by that is open source is in our DNA, we are open by nature, and that is so important not just in attracting people to our unbelievably awesome community, but it enables us to fit so snugly into existing IT and to be able to quickly and easily extend our capabilities for whatever a customer needs. That's pretty cool.
And also, the majority of our deployments are on Linux and one very convenient way to distribute and receive ownCloud is the Linux package managers - from SUSE and Red Hat to Debian and Ubuntu. Sure, we install easily on Windows - and of course our end user access tools are available on most platforms - but a lot of people in and around ownCloud use Linux.

What is the benefit to businesses of using ownCloud for the enterprise?

ownCloud helps enterprises concerned about sensitive data leakage via consumer cloud services like Dropbox deliver easy-to-use, secure file sync and share to their employees. Installed on their servers, using their storage, integrated with their infrastructure and security systems, managed to their policies, enterprises gain complete control over their sensitive data. At the same time, ownCloud provides end users simple access to the documents they need to get the job done on the devices they use daily. 

How do you ensure that open source cloud software is secure enough for enterprise use?

When it comes to security it does not matter whether a software is open source or not, although it clearly helps if you don't hide anything.
What matters just as much is whether you trust the environment the software runs in. ownCloud is deployed in the enterprise's datacenter, giving IT a powerful, yet easy way to integrate file sync and share capabilities right into their existing data security, monitoring and governance tools. With IT in control, instead of some third-party server farm located God knows where, they control how the data gets shared. So if there is trust in the environment - and for your own datacenter there better be! - open source software does nothing to diminish that trust.

Why did ownCloud join the Linux Foundation?

Well, as you know, I am a former CTO of the Foundation so I know all the great things you do, from education and training to networking. With a business so vested in Linux it was a no-brainer.

Join The Linux Foundation at www.linuxfoundation.org.