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The Plain English Guide to: ownCloud


The Plain English Guide to ownCloud

Executive Summary

  • Cloud services have quickly become a core part of modern business, but rely on off-site third-party storage. ownCloud solves this by offering a complete server and client service.
  • Once deployed on your server, your business will be able to access your stored files from any web browser, or one of ownCloud’s desktop or mobile apps. The platform also offers full user management and collaborative features.
  • In this Plain English guide, we’ll explore what ownCloud is, how it works, and how it could benefit your business.


How do you really feel about cloud storage services?

For many of us, using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box is a bit of a compromise.

On the one hand, you enjoy the sheer convenience of anywhere access to your company’s most essential files. On the other, you have to put your faith in a third party to host and keep those files totally secure.

Are you really willing to take that gamble in the long-term? If not, there is another way: ownCloud.

Designed from the ground up for convenience and security, ownCloud is an app worthy of a dedicated guide.

So, what are we waiting for?

What is OwnCloud?

In the simplest possible terms, ownCloud is a cloud storage service which you can host yourself.

Just like consumer services like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive, ownCloud allows users to store their files remotely, sync them across devices, then access them almost anywhere. The big difference? You don’t need to rely on third-party hosting to keep your files safe and secure. You can either pick a host you trust or install ownCloud on your very own on-site server and operate an entirely closed, entirely secure, cloud storage system.

Pretty cool, right?

While ownCloud has recently started offering a hosted option called “ownCloud Online”, we’ll focus here on its flagship self-hosted offering.

How OwnCloud could help your business – 4 key benefits

Now that you’re familiar with what ownCloud is, let’s look at how it could help you.

Here are 4 big reasons you might want to invest in an ownCloud deployment for your business.

#1: Install once, access anywhere

ownCloud operates in two parts: the server and the client.

Once you’ve installed the server software on your server of choice, you’ll be able to use any of the ownCloud client apps to access the files you store there. As the admin user, you can also manage user access, permissions, grant storage rights, create groups, and much more using a web-based user interface.

Employees will also be able to install the client software anywhere – in the office or at home – and access their files in exactly the same way. Along with access via web browser, ownCloud apps are also available for desktop on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and for mobile on iOS and Android.

#2: The ultimate cloud-based privacy

There’s no question that cloud storage services are hugely useful to businesses – especially in a world where more of us are working remotely. The only problem is that, to use them, you have to entrust your files to a server owned and managed by someone else. Additionally, most of these services offer no guarantees in terms of backup or recovery – so if files are lost, they’re lost. Not only that, but you’re at the mercy of their security measures.

ownCloud is the ideal solution for any business that wants to maintain secure control of its files and enjoy the convenience of cloud storage.

#3: Enterprise-class encryption built right in

Even if you manage your own server, there’s still a risk that files being pushed to and from the server could be intercepted… right? Correct – but ownCloud has you covered there, too.

By default, ownCloud uses advanced encryption of your data in transit. This simply means that your files will be encrypted during transfer to and from the ownCloud server. This encryption applies even when transmitting between other cloud solutions like Dropbox, so that – even if they were intercepted – your data would still be protected.

For more advanced or large-scale deployments, ownCloud also offers at rest encryption options, as well as an end-to-end encryption plugin which adds a third level of protection as part of its Enterprise edition.

If you’re interested in encryption, you can find out more from our dedicated Plain English guide.

#4: Keep your team in sync with collaborative tools

ownCloud is more than simply a storage service. Its user management features mean it can be used for remote collaboration, too.

You can create dedicated groups for your team, then grant them access to save and organise their files. With the Activity Stream in ownCloud, colleagues will be able to see changes as they’re made. They can also share files with others in just a few clicks.

Worried about storage space being eaten up as your team works with synced files on their own machines? Don’t be – ownCloud uses a smart Virtual File System (VFS) which shows all files, but only downloads them when users actually need them.

Get your business in the cloud with Get Support and ownCloud

If your business is still reliant on local storage solutions – or you’re leaning on third-party cloud services like Dropbox – you might want to consider installing ownCloud.

As we’ve discovered, ownCloud requires two distinct elements: the server to host the files, and the clients to use them. The service is entirely software based, but the process can be quite involved – especially if you also need to set up a server.

If you’d like to enjoy all the benefits of ownCloud without the fuss of installation, configuration, and setup – we’re here to help. As an ownCloud Solution Partner, we can help with every aspect of your deployment, from start to finish.

Pop a few details in the form below and the Get Support team will be in touch with more information about ownCloud. Prefer a good old-fashioned chinwag? You can always reach us on 01865 59 4000.

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