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FAQs for New Digital Commons Customers

Do you offer training?

Do you offer training?

Yes. Visit http://digitalcommons.nc.gov to view the latest classroom-based training opportunities. 

This website also has extensive training materials, including documents and video. 

Is Digital Commons secure?

Is Digital Commons secure?

The DIT Digital Services team works closely with the Office of Security to mitigate against security risks and vulnerabilities. Security best practices have been factored in at all layers of the Digital Commons system – from the application (Drupal) to the underlying cloud-based infrastructure.

Digital Commons supports an "HTTPS-Only" approach and requires all of its websites to maintain an SSL certificate. 

I found a great module/plugin/theme -- can I add it to my site?

I found a great module/plugin/theme -- can I add it to my site?

The Digital Commons system is a managed system with themes, modules, and code that that are developed for the State and our user community. The enterprise nature of the platform provides many features and services shared across the network of Digital Commons websites.

For security, performance, and stability reasons, we do not allow custom code (i.e. JavaScript, PHP, modules) to be added to individual sites. We always welcome feedback about desired capabilities and how they may benefit the entire Digital Commons community.

Can I have a unique design?

Can I have a unique design?

The Digital Commons program strives to be both consistent and intuitive for end-users while also offering flexibility for state agencies. We currently offer two template options. The base theme is great for agency top-level websites and multiple color palettes are available. All of these sites are in the base theme. The new "alt theme" offers increased flexibility for the header/footer, menu, colors and fonts.  

Can I edit my website at a coffee shop, at home, or off the state network?

Can I edit my website at a coffee shop, at home, or off the state network?

Yes, but only if you use the state's virtual private network (VPN). For security reasons, we require that a VPN connection is made (through Cisco AnyConnect). For instructions on obtaining and configuring this utility on your computer, please consult your agency security team.

Can we hire our own developer?

Can we hire our own developer?

Agencies and units may be hire an outside resource to assist in the creation of their new site. These individuals must have an NCID to be credentialed to work on the site.

Note that outside developers (i.e., coders) are not currently permitted. We do not allow custom code on the platform for security and performance reasons. 

Where are Digital Commons websites hosted?

Where are Digital Commons websites hosted?

Digital Commons websites are hosted with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Benefits of this approach include:

  • FedRamp compliance. "The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a U.S. government-wide program that delivers a standard approach to the security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services."
  • Disaster recovery. Digital Commons websites are backed up in multiple Amazon Web Services availability zones as well as at a state data center.
  • Improved file management. File URLs point to a files.nc.gov path instead of an s3.amazonaws.com path. This change occurs without breaking links to files.
  • LDAP integration for development and staging environments.
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) protections and Web Application Firewall (WAF). Other security measures are in place and we regularly "harden" the environment.
  • Simplified Drupal platform administration, focused on improved scaling capabilities.
  • AWS Business Support Plan with 24x7 access to engineers.
Can I host sensitive data (PII, HIPAA, etc.) on Digital Commons websites?

Can I host sensitive data (PII, HIPAA, etc.) on Digital Commons websites?

No.

How does Digital Commons file storage work?

How does Digital Commons file storage work?

All Digital Commons website files (i.e. PDFs, .CSV, PPT files) are stored and managed in the Amazon Web Services system. However, file URLs point to a files.nc.gov path. Digital Commons file storage may not be used as an independent and reliable file management service; it is not to be used like a One Drive. Instead, consult your appropriate agency IT personnel for file management support. 

Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

Yes. In addition, we share a "Client Agreement" document with new customers to encourage a positive site management experience.

View the Digital Commons SLA

How much do you charge?

How much do you charge?

Digital Commons hosting fees are funded through appropriations.  Additional one-time fees may be incurred due to the following factors:

  • Accelerated site development and launch timeline
  • Custom or complex design or development needs. The Digital Solutions staff will make every effort to leverage existing capabilities on the platform to meet your business and user needs. 
  • Advanced data and content migrations
  • Resources contraints that require the support of contractors or outside vendor partners

More specific cost information may be determined after consultation.