Kolab Now offers a Libreoffice based online office suite for enterprise customers that is designed with privacy protection.

With the changing political landscape, even the democratically elected governments are becoming extremely hostile towards their own citizens, especially towards journalists, activists and scientists.

Tensions are rising between countries that increases the level of corporate espionage on foreign companies.

Individuals or organizations that do care about privacy of their sensitive data can’t really rely on public software as a service solution like Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365. These providers are subject to the laws of the land. These laws have started to lean towards mass surveillance. There is a reason why companies like Silent Circle and Lavabit chose to shut down their services. Like everyone else, they had only two options: either comply with government demand and lie to their users or shut down. They chose to shut down.

So what are the options out there for those who want to protect the privacy of their users, employees and customers? An obvious solution seems to be running your own open source based solution, on your own server that’s not tied to the Terms of Service of any SaaS vendor.

However, that’s a huge undertaking, you don’t have to build a plane every time you want to fly. That’s where Kolab Now enters the picture.

Kolab Now is an online groupware solution offered by a Switzerland based company called Kolab Systems AG. Kolab Systems have forged a deal with UK’s Collabora Productivity to integrate their Collabora Online suite with Kolab Now service. As a result, users get a complete SaaS solution based on fully open source services.

What makes it any different from Google Docs or Office 365? It is designed with privacy in mind. “Kolab has a history as the solution for the German Federal Office for IT Security, so it is built on a strong and secure architecture to start with. It definitely has no known backdoors. It is also fully Open Source and has been scrutinised in depth,” said Paul Brown, the communications officer of Kolab Systems AG.

“Our server farm for Kolab Now is located in the heart of Switzerland, so all data hosted on it is protected by Swiss privacy laws that are among the strictest in the world,” added Brown.

“Kolab Now builds on the technical strength of Kolab. It combines this with the Swiss legal framework for which we work closely with leading experts in Switzerland. In fact, Sébastien Fanti, data protection commissioner of the Canton of Valais, lawyer and notary is an ambassador of Kolab Now and uses it for his own law firm. And then we go the extra mile by also ensuring we have
physical control over the hardware, which we own and operate to minimise the possibility of compromise at that level,” said Brown.

Kolab Now offers a Google Docs/Office 365-like experience which is powered by LibreOffice Online. It’s a paid service, which is available for just $9 per month, per user.

The service is not targeted just at professionals like journalists, activists or scientists. It’s also targeted at corporate users who want to consume online collaboration solutions without having to use public cloud. There are packages designed for corporate users with multiple accounts.

[Check Kolab Now pricing for your organization]

The best thing with Kolab Now is that if an organization wants complete control over their solution they can run their own solution on their own servers. It’s a win-win situation.

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