After emerging as a fork to the ownCloud file hosting platform creating service in 2016, Nextcloud has emerged as one of the fastest self-hosted file sync and communication application currently available. This popularity growth has been attributed to the massive community engagement the program has witnessed since its conception. The number of apps in the Nextcloud has diversified immensely producing a rich selection of options to customize the server according to individual requirements. The project developers have maintained the program around the concept of ensuring Nextcloud grows as a result of community contributions and remains open- source in all their aspects. It is also extremely easy to setup and configure.
The developer’s commitment to the program’s open collaborative environment has resulted in Nextcloud adding features and improving its security at a greater pace than other similar platforms. A short summary of some major improvements that have been implemented to Nextcloud recently has been highlighted here.
With the recent release of the latest update of Nextcloud, the developers have added a search function by utilizing the Apache Solr powered full text search. This opens up the option to use several search applications that can be found on the program’s GitHub app repository, enabling users to find words or phrases in different formats. These searches could source a term in plain text, PDF, JPEG, TIFF, HTML, LibreOffice or Microsoft Office files that are stored on servers.
The latest version of Nextcloud has been made faster and leaner by improving scalability. This is an especially important issue for large enterprises as they have to store and transmit a much larger amount of data compared to, say, private users. The database load has been decreased by up to 80% and improves response time of common server operations by up to 60%.
Another section where Nextcloud has made significant improvements is in the security of any stored files. This security cover has been provided to files that are stored on the server as well as during communication between transits. The Nextcloud developers have committed to the security of their platform to such an extent that they are offering rewards for hackers to identify and disclose vulnerabilities in their Nextcloud bug bounty program. This programme has resulted in many security gaps being plugged due to the input from an external security viewpoint.
For the benefit of enterprise solutions, Nextcloud has now added Single Sign On (SSO) feature and can work with Shibboleth, a security markup language (SAML) based authentication in its web front end and clients.
Nextcloud has built- in monitoring and logging tools, like the Activity app which allows users to oversee everything related with their files. It is able to keep track of any file modifications, downloads and changes to comments or tags, notifying the administrator of any changes via email or an RSS feed.
For data protection in transit, Nextcloud uses an industry standard SSL/TLS encryption. As for the data in storage, a military grade AES-256 encryption can be employed. Any encryption key can be handled by an inbuilt key handling feature or by adding a user’s own solution. In short, data security has been a primary focal point of the updated Nextcloud program.
As a secure, fast developing non- propriety cloud storage service solution, Nextcloud continues to see an expanded employment for personal use as well as in business file transfer implementation.
The input from community developers has seen many useful applications for home users like the File Access Control tool that can be used to prevent accidental sharing of data by adding an additional layer of protection to the Nextcloud server. Tags can be added to files or folders to have an appropriate authority to limit or grant access to them at different sections of the cloud. This option can prevent sensitive files from syncing to the cloud and would only be available at home.
Another major update to Nextcloud was the addition of a secure WebRTC based video and audio calling facility. This addition has greatly boosted the utility of the program by granting its users the ability to communicate via a secure link.
In order to cater to a mobile connection with the cloud, Nextcloud has made available both Android and iOS clients. This grants the user to manage their files with administrative authority in addition to syncing pictures and videos to the server from the smartphone.
Business users have also benefitted from the use of automated data access authorisation in Nextcloud. By restricting and granting access to various company branches or groups, data can be safely shared between them, all the while monitoring the nature of any activity.
The improvements made in scalability in the latest release of Nextcloud, enterprises would be able to see a marked improvement in their recourse management and response durations, therefore boosting productivity.
The program also allows mounting of various other cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive and provides synchronisation among them with Nextcloud. Each of the external cloud storage can be implemented with authorization so that an individual, a group or even a region can be granted access or be restricted to their files.
Nextcloud has focused special attention to their business customers by offering enterprise class data security as well as dedicated support system with a subscription. These comprehensive packages have been developed to increase corporate confidence in the system.
In addition to this, server hosting services have capitalized on the growing popularity of the program and are offering remote storage facilities. These facilities can be used if the user has a large amount of data that would need dedicated servers for hosting. Such cloud storage solutions could offer personal usage options for individuals or they could even offer their services to cater to multiple users of a company within the Nextcloud environment on their servers.
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