CLOUD FILE SERVER ACCESS FOR WINDOWS

Online Cloud File Server Access with the Speed and Security of Traditional File Servers

cloud file server

Setup a Cloud File Server without migrating your data or changing work flows!

Windows File Servers continue to be the primary shared storage resource for enterprises and small businesses.  Since Windows File Servers tie directly into Active Directory NTFS permissions they are extremely easy to manage and integrate into Windows domain joined PC’s.   Windows Group policies and scripting tools are available to automate the user experience for touch-less automated deployment of file shares to end-users.  Since file servers are local, users enjoy simple, fast access at gigabit speeds.   But what happens when users want a cloud file server type of experience?

The problem with on-premise Windows File Servers become apparent when secure remote access, external sharing, search and online collaboration are needed. In today’s environment, Security is of even a greater concern since enabling Server Message Block (SMB) share access even over a VPN can lead to malware encrypting files and security vulnerabilities inherent in the Windows File Sharing protocol making traditional remote access high risk. SMB Drive mapping over a VPN is also very slow since it is designed for local file drive mapping only.

MyWorkDrive solves these issues with our cloud add-on server module for Windows File Servers. With MyWorkDrive a traditional File Server is immediately converted into a robust Cloud File Server giving Enterprises the best of both local based secure and fast access and the Cloud Services users have come to expect without compromising security. Enterprises can deploy our private cloud file server software to enable secure online cloud file access without moving data outside of their control including:

  • Browser Based File Web File Manager Access from Anywhere
  • Online Collaboration in Office 365 online
  • Office 365 Mobile Apps document editing
  • Mapped Drive Client without VPN
  • Mobile Client Access (iOS & Android)
  • Internal File Sharing Links
  • External Public File Sharing using OneDrive
  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
  • ADFS Single Sign On

How it works:

The System Administrator simply installs MyWorkDrive on a standard Windows Server joined to a Windows Active Directory Domain. MyWorkDrive connects to the existing Active Directory database out of the box. The Systems Administrator then logs into the MyWorkDrive Admin port as a domain administrator and cloud enables existing files shares within MyWorkDrive. Existing NTFS Permissions, Users and Groups are inherited – reducing administration and duplicate effort. Once the file server shares are published, the website is then made accessible to users.  MyWorkDrive runs within IIS and creates standard Windows Web Sites.  The System Administrator simply adds an SSL Certificate the client web site to make it internet accessible to user.   After enabling public access, a traditional windows file server is turned into a robust Cloud File Server accessible from anywhere using our mapped drive, mobile or web browser based clients.  All files remain on the Windows File Server and no permissions nor are any files stored on the MyWorkDrive Server, even when editing documents online in Office 365.   The key to our Cloud File Server access is our tight integration with existing windows file shares.  MyWorkDrive is the only vendor that allows users to continue to use standard windows mapped drives alongside the MyWorkDrive clients and supports proper file locking without requiring sync.

Business Benefits of MyWorkDrive Cloud File Server:

  • Reduce costs by leveraging existing investments in infrastructure and Office 365
  • Eliminate overhead and support issues of VPN, FTP servers, and tape backup
  • Access files remotely using web browser, iPad, iPhone, Android, or any other device
  • ADFS Single-Sign-On Integration
  • Collaborate with business partners by leveraging OneDrive Licensing for Public File Sharing
  • Leverage Existing File Permissions, Users & Group
  • Monitor file usage with real-time access logging
  • Ensure data security by retaining control of data access, storage & retention
  • On-Premise Speed and Availability or run your server in AWS or Azure for the ultimate cloud storage solution

MyWorkDrive is written with the Windows Systems Administrator in mind – everything is Windows Based, utilizes IIS Web Server and is written in .net.

Other Cloud File Server software services require complex SQL Databases (and therefore costly SQL licensing and management), Multiple Servers and charge extra for access to Active Directory.  MyWorkDrive works with Active Directory by default instead of being an after thought requiring complex LDAP setups and costly licensing.   Other services while sometimes being able to connect to Windows File Shares were not designed like MyWorkDrive to leverage and integrate with Windows Shares as its primary storage mechanism without requiring syncing of data to the cloud or to a database.   MyWorkDrive allows existing NTFS permissions, folders and shares to stay in place while still enabling cloud services.  All Windows Services including file locking, robust file server access speeds, data retention and existing backup strategies remain in place.

MyWorkDrive Cloud File Server Information Architecture:

The MyWorkDrive product architecture works by taking existing file shares and making them accessible over https as an IIS Website.  The MyWorkDrive software is installed either directly on the Windows File Server (assuming it’s free of other IIS roles) or on another Windows domain member server on the same LAN.  MyWorkDrive recognizes the existing Active Directory domain and utilizes it automatically for all authentication including administration to provide users a single sign on (SSO) experience.  The System Administrator simply points to the existing shares they wish to make accessible to users in MWD remotely.  Traditional mapped drives remain available – company files remain on the internal file servers and are never stored in the cloud.

All communications of our Web File Manager, Mapped Drive Client or Mobile Apps are secured over an SSL encrypted tunnel.  Web File Manager connections are available at a unique company URL to users for remote access in the cloud through the customers own SSL Certificate & Hostname or utilizing our optional Cloud Connector – *.myworkdrive.net reverse proxy infrastructure.  Either Way, No end user login information or customer files are stored on MyWorkDrive systems as all authentication is done on the customer’s own cloud file server.  For even greater security, Enterprises may also enable our Two Factor Authentication.  MyWorkDrive Mapped Drive and IIS Website : A unique URL is provided for each customer  utilizing our Cloud Connector on MyWorkDrive.net relay or  Customers may also use their own SSL Certificate and hostname by simply binding it to the WebClient site in IIS and opening their firewall on port 443.  The web site URL is used for accessing files using our Web File Manager, Mapped Drive (Windows), Mobile Clients.

Server Admin:

The Cloud File Server administration website is installed locally on the customers Windows Server alongside of the MyWorkDrive Web Client site. The internal Admin Website is provided to provision shares, access rights, user home drives, review access logs and system settings. The internal website can only be accessed on the local MWD server and requires domain admin credentials.  A shortcut to the Admin Panel is placed on the server desktop which references the Admin site in IIS.  Once the MWD Software is installed on a Windows server, it automatically recognizes the Windows Active Directory domain that the server is part of. The administrator logs into the Admin Panel using their domain admin credentials. Once logged in, the IT Administrator provisions existing shares to be made available in the cloud and restricts them to existing users or groups. Home Drives are made available by default.  Users are able to authenticate with their existing logins by simply entering their domain usernames and passwords for a single sign on experience.

MyWorkDrive Web File Access Portal:

The MyWorkDrive Web File Manager portal provides web file access to user’s files and folders. Upon logging in with their existing Windows domain credentials, users are presented with the Web File Manager to manage their work files and folders. The File Server File Web Access client provides access to upload and download of files and folders, search, direct editing of office documents locally and in Microsoft Office Online and our Mapped Drive Client feature which opens the shares in the user’s operating system (file explorer) using a mapped drive over https (SSL). Drag and Drop of files and folders is supported.  ADFS Single Sign-on and DUO Two Factor are also supported.

Sample Customer scenario:

Enterprise Customer with 500 employees: Ace manufacturing firm has been in business for many years. As part of their business requirements, they process numerous files and photos for clients and have several terabytes of data for both active and archived projects. In addition, new data from projects in the form of documents and photos are growing daily. The company has existing Windows file servers in place with mapped drives to user’s PC’s and Mac’s and leverage traditional VPN access. Users have become frustrated by the complicated and cumbersome VPN access solution currently in place and have expressed a need for an easier solution for accessing files and folders remotely from any PC or mobile device and for sharing data externally with clients. The firm has considered moving all files to the cloud but is concerned about ownership, security, cost and speed of file access. Even if security, ownership and cost were not a concern, they would need extremely fast internet speeds to upload and download the large volume of data they maintain for client projects. The cost of upgrading Internet lines to a minimum of 100 Mbps (both up and down) at their location would run into the thousands of dollars per month which would still be much slower than their current Gigabit network. The firm reviewed other solutions on the market and found them to be both complex (requiring multiple servers) and cost prohibitive. The firm also has a number of users who only have E1 office online subscriptions.  By deploying MyWorkDrive they can make internal shares available to all users including E1 within a browser for online editing or sharing.  Without MyWorkDrive they would have had to migrate all their files to SharePoint, OneDrive or a Sync and Share system or purchase costly E3 Office licenses for all employees.

Solution: MyWorkDrive has provided the answer to these concerns by installing their Web File Access solution. With the MyWorkDrive mapped drive, Mobile and Web File Access features, employees are able to download and upload files remotely on both their PC’s, tablets and mobile devices and share files with customers easily with no complicated VPN’s or prior setup. For day to day operations or when fast upload or download is needed to transfer a large volume of files, the traditional file servers are available at fast Gigabit speed using the mapped drives users already know. The MyWorkDrive solution has helped their employees be more productive without disrupting current operations or work flows providing them with their own private cloud file server – All for a low monthly per user flat fee.

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