Owning Up to the Limitations of File Sharing

Michael Vizard

While there are millions of people routinely using services such as DropBox to share documents, there is still a lot of concern about not only how secure these services are, but also how many compliance regulations are violated every time somebody shares a document using one of these services.

At the same time, however, the popularity of these services also highlights the IT tools users currently have at their disposal for sharing documents. The simple fact of the matter is that those tools are so cumbersome to use that end users have resorted to other means to share documents.

That particular insight is what drove the development of ownCloud, an open source project that makes it easier to share and synchronize files without having to drop them into any specific location. Users of ownCloud can simply share files residing on local systems and servers, on files residing anywhere in the cloud.


The folks who created ownCloud have now created a new commercial entity led by new appointed CEO and CTO Markus Rex, who previously was with the SUSE unit of Novell. According to Rex, the goal is to not only provide commercial support for ownCloud, but also extend it with a number of commercial add-on offerings.

Already in use by over 340,000 people, ownCloud has quietly gained a substantial following in the file sharing and synchronization space. Part of that success, says Rex, is due to the fact that ownCloud is not only easy to use, but it also provides support for encryption and version control.

No matter the reason, it's pretty clear that users across the spectrum have rebelled against the current limitations of file sharing in the enterprise, which is a problem that gets more acute everyday with the addition on any number of mobile computing devices. The question now shouldn't be so much about why this activity should be prevented, but rather how IT organizations are going to enable it securely.

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