How Nextcloud Hub can help you work from home

If you're still struggling to make the work-from-home experience work for you, maybe you need your own in-house cloud server. Nextcloud could be that tool.

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Image: Jack Wallen

Chances are pretty good that you're having to work from home at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic. For some, this has been a no-brainer. You can always remote into your servers and administer them from the command line or using various and sundry technologies to gain you access to the GUI tools.

But for some, the migration from working in a corporate or even a small business setting to working from home is an exercise in unsettling discomfort. You don't have all the tools you're used to, you can't collaborate in the same ways.

What do you do? Fortunately, there are tools out there to make your work from home experience a bit easier. One such tool is Nextcloud Hub, which is one of the most powerful and flexible on-premises cloud server solutions on the market. If you're not up to the task of installing Nextcloud on your own hardware, you can always opt for a hosted solution. Either way, Nextcloud is ready to help.

But how?

Let's take a look at some of the ways you can use Nextcloud to improve your work from home experience. 

SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (TechRepublic download)

Only Office

The first thing I will mention is that the latest release of Nextcloud (called Nextcloud Hub) includes a built-in office suite solution, Only Office. You can think of this as your own in-house Google Docs or Office 365. 

But why would you want this, when you already can use Google Docs or Office 365? First off, you might have sensitive documents and data that your company doesn't want hosted on either of those services. If so, you can always host them in your personal cloud solution.

Next, I will bring up the fact that, while working from home, you're dependent on a less-than-enterprise-grade network provider. Because of that, your network connectivity could go out at any time. So why not house your cloud inside your LAN, so when your connection to the outside digital world goes down, you can still work.

Integrate your cloud provider

Say you've Installed Nextcloud on a machine in your home and you need to find a way to connect it to another cloud service. Fortunately, Nextcloud includes a number of third-party integrations. From the Nextcloud App Store you can install the likes of:

  • Draw.io

  • GitHub

  • OneDrive

  • Zimbra Drive

  • Google Drive

  • Dropbox

If you have to, you could always connect Nextcloud to another cloud and share folders with your coworkers to make collaboration even easier.

Talk

Nextcloud Hub includes a chat, video, and audio-conferencing tool called Talk. With Talk, you can have private, group, public, and even password-protected calls. Talk even allows you to do screen sharing and it integrates into other Nextcloud apps.

The one caveat to using Talk is that your Nextcloud instance will need to have a public-facing IP address, which could be a good reason to go with a hosted version of the server, otherwise only those within your LAN will be able to use the feature. This will, of course, be dictated by your service provider.

If you cannot give Nextcloud access from the outside world, you can always use it for communication with those who live in the house with you. Instead of them knocking on your door to interrupt your workflow, give them accounts on Nextcloud and have them use Talk. This could come in handy, if you're unsure of the health status of those you live with. 

If you have the ability, you can always setup a VPN (using a technology like WireGuard) so those on the outside can gain access to your Nextcloud server.

If you find you have a spare server or desktop lying around, you can follow the instructions in my post: How to install Nextcloud 18 on Ubuntu Server. If you're unsure how to install Ubuntu, give How to install Ubuntu Server 18.04 a read first.

Your privacy is important

When you've been relegated to working from home, you might find yourself feeling a bit paranoid about privacy and security. You're not used to working outside of your company network and the security that offers. 

There's also one thing you've considered, but have been afraid to voice. While you're working from home, you'll have more opportunities to deal with personal data than you would have at work. That being the case, why not make use of Nextcloud and create a directory for work and a directory for home. Keep that data separated, but within the same server. Either way, your data will be private and you don't have to worry about a third party having access to anything you've saved.

Once you've completed working on a project, you can then share it out as needed. Your privacy, your way. 

Make it yours

One of the best things about Nextcloud is that you can truly make it yours. Add just the right apps you need to help you get your daily work done, knowing everything is secure and accessible by only those you allow. It might take you a bit of time to get Nextcloud up and running and configured to perfectly meet your needs, but the effort will pay off. Having your own in-house cloud server can make your work-at-home life more efficient, more reliable, and better personalized and customized.

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