Tuesday, 17 April 2018 18:18

German govt opts for open-source cloud solution from Nextcloud

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Open-source file syncing and sharing software company Nextcloud has scored a major client with the German federal government set to move to a self-hosted cloud from the firm.

A statement from Nextcloud said the Federal Information Technology Centre (ITZBund), which takes care of IT services for the entire federal government, had been running a pilot of 5000 users with Nextcloud since October 2016.

Following a tender, which Nextcloud won, this will now be rolled out everywhere.

The company noted the following points about the service which ITZBund would run:

  • There would be no public cloud. ITZBund will not be using a public cloud with data leaking out of Europe/Germany, but a private, on-premises cloud which is totally under its control.
  • Open source. They have opted for an open source solution from a European company instead of foreign (US or otherwise) solutions. Plus no vendor lock-in and no access by any third party to the data.
  • GDPR. The new Bundescloud is fully compliant with the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation which takes effect on 25 May. This is very important in Germany as the DSGVO (the German implementation of GDPR) goes into effect the same month.
  • Facebook leaks. Decentralising data away from the big cloud vendors is very sensible and relevant in light of the continuing string of revelations with regards to privacy violations and data leaks from the major US cloud vendors.
  • The use of an open source solution has security consequences, as the provider of IT services to the German Government is highly motivated to avoid another "Bundestag-hack".

Nextcloud head of marketing Jos Poortvliet said: "All our code is fully, certified (by OpenChain) open source and backed by a Security Bug Bounty Program paying security experts for any issues they find."

As the central IT service provider of the German federal government, ITZBund operates IT services for more than a million administrative and industrial users. It emerged from the merger of the Federal Agency for Information Technology (Division of the Federal Ministry of the Interior), the Federal Agency for IT Services (Division of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) and the Centre for Information Processing and Information Technology (division of the Federal Ministry of Finance).

ITZBund employs about 2700 people, mostly IT specialists, engineers and network and security professionals.

The Nextcloud statement said strict security requirements were crucial for the choice of Nextcloud as the file sync and share solution. Another important concern was scalability both in terms of large numbers of users and extensibility with additional features, for which Nextcloud offers its powerful Apps concept (with over 100 apps available in its app store).

It claimed that "Nextcloud delivers some of the strongest security measures in the industry, making it the ideal solution for government agencies or companies dealing with data of private citizens".

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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