FAQs About New Digital Commons Websites

Find answers to common questions about websites on the North Carolina Digital Commons platform.

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The NCDIT 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. 

In 2022 the new version of the enterprise-grade content management system in Drupal 9 in Bootstrap 5 design was introduced. The Digital Commons program strives to be both consistent and intuitive for end users while offering flexibility for state agencies. It brings further improvements to an accessible, secure, user and mobile-friendly interface that does not require web coding skills and offers multiple color palettes.

The Digital Commons system is a managed system with themes, modules and code 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 (e.g., 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.

Yes, but only if you use the state's virtual private network. 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 with your agency's security team.

No.

The Digital Commons platform is not classified to contain sensitive PII, HIPPA, PCI or IRS 1075 data.

Agencies and units may 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. 

Digital Commons websites are hosted with Amazon Web Services. The 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 protections and web application firewall – 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 24/7 access to engineers

All Digital Commons websites are stored and managed in the Amazon Web Services system. Starting with the migration to Drupal 9 all files associated with the appropriate Digital Commons website are stored within the same website as media items.

Note, Digital Commons file storage may not be used as an independent, reliable file management service; it is not to be used like OneDrive. Consult your appropriate agency IT personnel for file management support. 

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

View the Digital Commons service level agreement

Yes.

Visit https://digitalcommons.nc.gov to view the latest classroom-based training opportunities with extensive training materials, including How-To guides and videos.