Setting up a Compliance Amnesty Program

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The problem that most organizations have with insecure cloud services such as Dropbox.com is that not only is the data stored in these services at risk, there's no easy way to get their data out of those services and into something more secure.

With that issue in mind, the folks behind the open source ownCloud project have taken it upon themselves to come up with an interface that connects private document sharing services built using ownCloud with public cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and any FTP-based service.


Markus Rex, CEO of ownCloud.com, which provides commercial support for ownCloud, says that for the moment this effort is "experimental." But enough members of the ownCloud community thought the project relevant enough to be worth pursuing. ownCloud is being used by thousands of organizations to set up private services for sharing documents. The primary reason end users make use of services such as Dropbox is that there is no convenient alternative.

Other new features included in ownCloud are support for version control, file encryption, shared calendars, the Open Document Format (ODF) and drag-and-drop uploading, all of which Rex says are designed to allow internal IT organizations to provide capabilities similar to any file-sharing service in the cloud.


Ultimately, internal IT organizations deploying ownCloud should consider setting up their own amnesty program for end users that are clearly out of compliance with corporate guidelines. End users, for example, could be given 30 days to get their files out of Dropbox.com or any other unsanctioned storage service.

Of course, the danger with any interface is that they are often bi-directional, so in the case of the latest version of ownCloud, IT organizations might be well advised to make sure that data is flowing in only one direction.