Nextcloud Hub brings productivity to home office – Nextcloud

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Over the last months, tens of thousands of companies have introduced home office policies. Remote work has been facilitated by a patchwork of solutions, causing an explosion in complexity at IT departments. Our community has taken on the challenge and focused on delivering, in Nextcloud Hub, the best possible remote team collaboration technology on the market. Today's release, code name "home office", brings document collaboration to video chats, introduces password-less login and improves performance.

The 19th release of Nextcloud, coming out just 1 day after our 4 year anniversary, introduces:

🔒 Password-less authentication and many other security measures

📝 Talk 9 with built-in office document editing courtesy of Collabora, a grid view & more

🚀 MUCH improved performance, 📆 Deck integration in Calendar, 🙇 guest account groups and more!

COVID has accelerated a trend already visible in many businesses, forcing them to provide a secure remote collaboration solution to their employees. We named our release "home office" as it provides a large productivity boost for organizations employing many home office workers, like we do ourselves.

— Frank Karlitschek, CEO of Nextcloud GmbH

How to get it

You can download the latest Nextcloud Hub from our website. If you are on an existing Nextcloud, the updater will notify you of the new version once we make it available. We usually roll out gradually and often, especially if issues are found, only make the first minor release available to all users. If you don't want to wait and upgrade sooner, version 19 is in the beta channel. You can enable the beta channel, refresh the page, then upgrade. After the upgrade you can go back to the stable channel and you'll be notified when 19.0.1 is out!

Password-less Authentication makes security easy

When logging in from home to access office documents and having video calls, the many different platforms and complicated passwords make life harder than needed for employees. Nextcloud introduces password-less, secure login, where users can simply plug in a hardware key and get to work. Together with many other new security measures, being productive at home becomes a standard solution in organizations that have deployed Nextcloud Hub.

Easy logging in with biometrics or a hardware key

Password-less authentication relies on WebAuthn, a new W3C global standard for secure authentication on the Web supported by all leading browsers and platforms including Windows Hello and many hardware keys. It offers a choice of authentication options and stronger account security than the usual username/password combination. Developed in collaboration with open source hardware security key manufacturer Nitrokey, the implementation in Nextcloud makes it the first on-premises collaboration platform to provide support for this new standard.

Users can configure WebAuthn options including hardware security keys in their user settings. Read the blog by Nitrokey to imagine what it is to live in a world without passwords!

Enabling WebAuthn is very easy! click for a full screenshot Enabling WebAuthn is very easy!

Having employees in home office means a strong security standard is required to protect data. As most attacks target users as weakest link, the combination of easy to use hardware keys with WebAuthn provides employers with a huge security advantage for remote workers. Nextcloud's impressive latest release works perfect with Nitrokey hardware, giving administrators a fully open, verifiable security stack they can trust.

— Jan Suhr, Nitrokey

The new password policy configuration The new password policy configuration

Protecting accounts anywhere

In addition to simplifying authentication, a series of new security measures makes it easier for administrators to secure the accounts of remote workers. This release of Nextcloud Hub introduces:

Optional automatic logout

Password reuse limitations

Automatic account locking in response to failed login attempts

Password expiration features

These features not only help keep data secure when working remote but are also are important in markets with heavy compliance requirements like health care. The development of these capabilities was accelerated to help hospitals using Nextcloud in the fight against COVID-19. Learn more about that in our press release about that with Harvard University here.

As a fully open source, European business, Nextcloud has always put the security and privacy of its customers first. Being first to market with support for WebAuthn and offering the most extensive compliance capabilities in the on-premises market enables businesses to introduce home office work using Nextcloud Hub with confidence.

— Roeland Douma, security lead at Nextcloud GmbH

Replacing coffee chat and focused work

Work in organizations alternates between intensive work in a focus group putting ideas in writing, and relaxed conversations during a coffee break. Nextcloud Hub facilitates both activities with a multitude of group and individual chat rooms and integrated collaborative document editing.

Have casual or business calls and chats

A virtual water cooler or coffee room, for teams or larger parts of the organization, provides a space for banter and off-topic conversations, sharing of ideas and simple "good morning" and "good evening". The new grid view facilitates a casual-Friday hangout with the team or department, perhaps at beer-o-clock.

The introduction of automatic scaling of call quality will help participants on limited internet connections at home still be an integral part of the team! This and other performance and scalability improvements were developed in close cooperation with our partner Heinlein Support while working on deployments in the German public sector and are complemented by the release of the high-performance back-end for Talk. The back-end, required for calls with 10-50 participants, has been developed by our technology partner, leading video conferencing solution provider Struktur AG.

Learn more about this and other improvements in Talk 9 in our earlier announcement.

Good news available also for the Nextcloud Talk apps for mobile fans: new major Nextcloud Talk releases for Android and iOS are here!

The public sector needs to facilitate home office for thousands of employees and we are excited to see the results that came out of our collaboration to improve connectivity on private and less powerful network connections reach the market.

— Peer Heinlein, Managing Director of Heinlein Support GmbH

Nextcloud Hub plays a key role in the growing demand for scalable…
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