ViOffice Core is a cloud-based office platform and personal cloud for individuals or small groups. In this blog post, we will limit ourselves to the core function of ViOffice Core’s online file storage: ViOffice Cloud. Although there is also a certain concentration on the large IT groups in the file hosting or file sharing sector, there are relatively many companies offering such services. Google Drive is the world’s largest provider with a market share of an estimated 33 percent, which has led to considerable criticism on several occasions, particularly from the perspective of data protection.
Comparison: ViOffice Cloud vs. Google Drive
The ViOffice Cloud is the core of ViOffice. It is largely based on Nextcloud Hub and integrates a variety of other Open Source cloud and office applications that are used daily by millions of people worldwide. In the cloud you store your documents and data without using local storage. Any data format can be stored here encrypted and secured. We would like to explain in more detail how this differs from services like Google Drive. A clear comparison can be found on our website.
1. Secure File Storage & Full Data Control
Our cloud and all services integrated in it, such as our office solution ViOffice Sheets or the calendars, are encrypted on the server side according to the highest industry standards and best practices. This means that not even we as a service provider have access to your data, even if we wanted to. So you have full control over your data at all times. In the case of Google Drive, this aspect is not so easy to answer, because the source code is not transparent and there are servers distributed worldwide. Thus, the location of your files in the cloud and the handling of the data are uncertain.
2. Intuitive File Sharing
Files stored in ViOffice Cloud has a clear, intuitive and powerful sharing management. In it, you can easily decide with a mouse click whether you want to share files only internally with certain group members, with all people of one or more groups, or even externally. Of course, you can share entire folders with others just as easily. In addition, you can decide whether shared documents can only be viewed or also edited. In the case of shared folders, you can also decide with a mouse click whether you want to share them as read-only folders, upload-only folders (without external access to other documents) or as folders with an editing function. Google Drive, on the other hand, only offers single link shares without a receive note and has a highly complex share management.
3. No Transfer of Data to Third Parties
We do not share any data with third parties and no document leaves the server at any time. Google has been accused several times by experts of passing on data to third parties. For example, the Texas Attorney General’s Office is investigating Google because of the accusation of having entered into a deal with Facebook, according to which Whatsapp messages can be stored as a backup on Googe Drive in order to continue to be able to view and evaluate this collected data. This also includes sent files such as pictures, videos and audio messages.
4. Server Location Germany & European Data Protection Regulation
All our servers are located in Germany. Thus, we ensure that German and European data protection standards, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), must be complied with at all times. The European GDPR is one of the strictest data protection regulations in the world and applies not only to all EU member states, including Germany, but also to all data of EU citizens outside of Europe.
Google operates servers all over the world. The storage locations of your specific information are unclear and are not necessarily subject to European law or compliance with data protection standards can no longer be controlled.
5. Operation on Own Servers & under Own Domain possible
We also offer so-called on- and off-premise solutions, i.e. if you are interested in your own cloud, we can operate the ViOffice Cloud especially for you on our or your own servers. You even have the possibility to use your own branding (incl. name and domain) as a club or company for your personalized cloud. Google does not offer this service.
6. Free, Open Source Software
The ViOffice Cloud is based on the free, Open Source software Nextcloud Hub. Open source software licenses fulfill the following four freedoms: The freedom to use the software, the freedom to understand it, the freedom to distribute it and the freedom to improve it. This means that the source code of the software is permanently exposed to a so-called public audit, i.e. everyone has the opportunity to identify problems with the software and to transparently check whether the software is fulfilling its purpose without having to carry out further processes in the background that could attack the privacy of the users. In addition to transparency, the permanent public audit usually also increases the security of Free Software.
However, Google Drive is non-free or proprietary software. Therefore, it is not possible to use the software yourself without restrictions and to check the software itself for its security or even to know in detail what the software does (possibly in secret).
7. 100% Green Energy & Social Sustainability
Ecological and social sustainability are our core concerns. That’s why our servers are powered by 100% renewable energy. Google, however, uses various energy sources, including resource-intensive ones, to operate its server infrastructure.
To create a social balance, we offer special conditions for non-profit associations and organizations. Pupils and students may even decide on their own price with the full functionality of ViOffice Core (incl. ViOffice Cloud) according to the Pay-What-You-Want approach.
How to Get ViOffice Core
We welcome everyone who wants to use our services, whether they are individuals, associations or companies. ViOffice takes the technical burden of running your own platform off your shoulders by hosting, maintaining and regularly backing up the services, so you can focus on what’s important to you. We are also happy to host the cloud service on your in-house servers. The price starts at less than 5 € per month and can be viewed transparently on our website. Non-profit organizations receive special support from us through discounted rates. For pupils and students we even offer self-selected prices. You are welcome to test ViOffice Core for 4 weeks free of charge and without obligation.
Our business model is not based on selling your private data to third parties, but on a fair exchange of the offered service. We are completely independent and base our prices significantly on our actual costs.
Pascal is co-founder of ViOffice. He is mainly responsible for marketing, finance and sales. He studied economics and political science at the University of Trier. Currently he is in the final stages of his master studies in applied statistics, economics and political science. He is interested in the fields of data science and digitalization. During his studies he spent some time in Turkey and Belgium.