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Cloud File Server Remote Access

Benefits of Having Remote Access to Your Work Files

Remote access is no longer a company perk it’s a necessity. Remote access means different things to different people. It can refer to telecommuters accessing their company’s server; branch offices that need interaction with systems at company’s main office; or enable mobile employees to upload or download data from a hotel, car, or even a customer’s office.

Remote technology applications boost collaboration. Employees anywhere can access and work with files in real time—no emails back and forth with updated files attached. Better collaboration improves productivity and creativity.

Meetings go digital, enabling effective participation and communication with colleagues, partners, and customers – anytime, anywhere, on virtually any device, eliminating travel and the need for on site interaction.

What Can Remote Technology do for Business?

Access systems anywhere, anytime. With mobility being vital in today’s world, businesses need easy access to their files, calendars, and client database no matter where they are. Remote access applications are a great solution for today’s mobility requirements. Some of the best features:

 

  • File transfers: Easily transfer a file between computers without emailing files to yourself.
  • Remote printing: Send documents to the printers connected to your remote or local PC.

 

Remote technology can provide more time on the job. No more snow days or other challenges associated with absenteeism. Access and productivity are no longer issues with remote access technology. Users can log into their office desktop from home, inclement weather or a personal matter need not impact the business’s ability to continue with day-to-day operations. Remote productivity allows remote workers to perform tasks without interrupting end-users.

How Can a Business Get Remote Access?

When choosing the remote technology for a business, there are many avenues:

Remote Technology programs such as LogMeIn, grant employees access to the programs and data on their company PCs from outside locations. This allows them to work from their chosen device while leaving the actual data back in the office.

Terminal Services, or Remote Desktop Services, where multiple users connect to a single server. Applications are installed on this terminal server rather than on individual desktops.

Cloud-based, using remote servers on the internet to manage, store, and process data instead of using a personal computer.

Many methods of remote access leave your confidential data at risk. MyWorkDrive offers a solution to give you all of the benefits of the cloud and remote access, but with reduced risks.

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Windows File Sharing with Public Access for Enterprise Networks

WINDOWS FILE SHARING

Public & Private File Sharing with the Speed and Security of Traditional File Servers

File Sharing

Traditionally Windows file sharing has been limited to creating shares on local servers, setting permissions and accessing files over local area networks or VPN’s.  Windows File Sharing has many benefits including speed of access, simplicity, unlimited storage capacities, integration with active directory and the ability to deploy mapped drives to 1000’s of machines instantly using login scripts or group policies.  For this reason, the majority of enterprises continue to maintain significant investments in a Windows file sharing infrastructure including servers, high speed networks, Storage Area Networks and Network Storage devices.  These devices provide the reliability, speed and redundancy enterprises demand for a highly efficient workforce.

Sharing Files

Sharing files using Windows active directory is easy.  It’s important first to plan the directory structure.   Companies typically create root folders which in turn become shares that can be mapped to various departments (for example:  Finance, Projects, Executive, HR).   In the past companies would map different drive letters to each department.   This is no longer necessary since Microsoft shipped the addition of the “Access Based Enumeration” feature as noted below.

It’s also important to plan for future growth by allocating sufficient disk space for file.  It is best practice to locate files on a separate drive letter from the Operating System Drives to prevent future issues with drive space or an operating system failure from corrupting files.  Larger organizations typically store files on Network Attached Storage appliances with failover and backup built in and utilize DFS namespace to redirect users to redundant back end file servers.

Windows File Server shares can be created using Server Manager or by right mouse clicking on any folder and choosing “Sharing” on the sharing tab to create a share that can be mapped by PC’s.   Microsoft has a great article here on how to create a file share using Server Manager here.  For our purposes we will create a share using the manual process so we can have complete control on permissions, share name and share permissions.

Creating a share (Easy)

Once you have created the folder structure, right mouse click on the folder and choose properties, then choose share to create the share and set permissions:

Create Windows Share

Typically, you would add the various groups for whom you wish to have access to your folder structure.  With the simplified interface the actual share creation and permission details are set for you.   Using the Advanced Share interface, we can see the actual permission applied to both the share and NTFS.

Creating a share (Advanced)

There are 2 components when sharing folders in Windows.  First the actual Share name and permission on the share and the underlying NTFS permissions.   In the early days of Windows file systems (fat and fat32) did not allow setting of permissions so Microsoft allowed administrators to set permissions on the share itself rather than the folder structure underneath.   Fortunately, NTFS has been around for many years and it’s no longer necessary or advisable to set permissions at the fileshare level and you’ll see that when you use the easy share interface permissions at the share level are set to the special group “Everyone” and full control.

Share Permissions

So it’s clear that we should always set the permission on the share to “Everyone” with full control when using the advanced sharing option to get around this legacy feature and only use NTFS permissions to apply security.   One additional note on File Shares and Naming – to make the share hidden (not broadcast it on the network for browsing), append a $ sign to the end of the name.  For example:  Finance$ can be used to hide the share from appearing when users browse the network.  To map a drive to it users need to know the name – for example \\server\finance$.

Next, we need to set permissions on folders using NTFS security.   If we look at the security permissions for the shared folder we created in our example we will see the user groups we chose have been granted permissions on that shared folder:

From this interface we can add additional users and groups or disable inheritance so that we can apply custom permission on this folder only.  This interface is also where we go to take ownership of files and folders.   In the easy share wizard security results, we can see both groups we added have “Full Control” for all files and folders.  While Full Control makes sense for Administrators, it’s not advisable for regular user groups.   By granting regular users Full Control we have also granted them the “Take Ownership” right which will cause issues down road.  Files “Owned” by one user can become unavailable to other users resulting in support requests and the need to have the administrator “Take Ownership” so these files are again available to everyone with rights to the share.  In our example we will want to set the “Domain Users” group to all rights except for “Full Control” using the security tab properties on the folder.   This simple step will prevent file ownership troubleshooting issues in the future.

Access Based Enumeration

Access-based enumeration (ABE) displays only the files and folders that a user has permissions to access. If a user does not have Read (or equivalent) permissions for a folder, Windows hides the folder from the user’s view. This feature is active only when viewing files and folders in a shared folder; it is not active when viewing files and folders in the local file system.   By utilizing this feature and setting the proper permissions, network administrators can reduce the numbers of shares needed and use ABE to only display files and folders the user have permissions to.

ABE does require CPU cycles to calculate files and folders to display so it’s important to properly size servers to handle the required load based on the number of users access file shares and the number of files and folders to display.

Enable ABE on each windows file share using Microsoft’s guide: Enable access-based enumeration on a namespace.   Microsoft has a complete guild article on best practices for sharing files and folders using access based enumeration here.

DFS Namespaces

DFS Namespaces is a role in Windows Server that enables you to group shared folders located on different servers into one or more logically structured namespaces.  This makes it possible to give users a virtual view of shared folders, where a single path leads to files located on multiple servers.  The advantage of DFS is that drives can be mapped to one DFS Name space and automatically redirect to the then current live file share.  This makes migrating to new file servers in the future very simple since a new file server can be redirected to at any time.

Backup and Retention

The first line of defense for any organization are effective, tested and redundant backups.  In addition to scheduling backups on an hourly, daily, weekly or other intervals IT administrators can take advantage of the “Volume Shadow Copy” service built into Windows Server.  By enabling hourly snapshots, file and folders can be rolled back to previous versions instantly without having to go to backup systems.  Volume Copy Snapshots are not a backup strategy in of themselves but they can provide and additional level of protection.

Backup and retention is also of great concern to protect from data loss, corruption and to comply with legal requirements.  Typically, most businesses must retain up to 7 years of backups that can easily be restored in the future.  For this reason, businesses are reluctant to store their files in database driven file systems either locally or in the cloud including Document Management Systems (DMS) and Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS) systems.  With traditional NTFS based Windows file sharing archive backups can be stored on backup hard disks making restoration as simple as copying over files – even several years later.  With DMS or EFSS systems the restoration of archive data is significantly more complex. Restoration requires backing up and restoring entire operating systems, reinstallation of SQL databases in use at that time (which may no longer be available), restoring backups of SQL data and reintegration of servers back into active directory. Cloud based EFSS or systems require 3rd party backup subscriptions which must be maintained indefinitely to prevent loss and removal of backup file data by the cloud vendor.

Secure File Share Remote Access

Businesses of all types are turning to MyWorkDrive to add cloud functionality while retaining the speed and simplicity of traditional Windows file sharing using our hybrid cloud add-on.  With MyWorkDrive IT departments simply setup MyWorkDrive Windows server software, point to existing Windows file shares and in minutes Secure File Sharing remote access functionality is made available to users including:

Web File Manager browser access to file shares

Office Online document editing ( with files stored on the local file servers )

Mapped Drive from Anywhere without VPN

Mobile App File Access and Editing using Microsoft Office Mobile Apps

Public and Private file sharing

Two Factor Security (2FA)

Single Sign On

Traditional Windows File Sharing at gigabit speed continues to be available in parallel to MyWorkDrive.  Users simply leverage file sharing using traditional methods on the local area network and use MyWorkDrive when cloud functionality or remote access is needed. For IT Departments, No SQL databases need to be maintained or licensed making file backup and restoration simple – NTFS based file shares remain in place.

Sharing and collaborating on files to users outside of the company is essential to a productive workforce.  With MyWorkDrive internal files can be made public effortlessly with our OneDrive integration.   By leveraging our OneDrive integration businesses can protect sensitive data by transferring public files as needed to OneDrive without opening up internal systems to outside parties or enabling insecure file sharing links that can expose company servers to data breaches.

With MyWorkDrive businesses of all types are able to add cloud capabilities to Windows file shares while protecting and controlling their data to future proof their file server infrastructure investments.

Edit your Office Documents from AnyWhere with MyWorkDrive

Edit and Collaborate in Office Online MyWorkDrive

MyWorkDrive is the only on-premise remote access solution that enables enterprises to remotely edit and collaborate on documents within a browser window or Office Mobile apps on iOS or Android, using Office Online while keeping files stored on their own company’s server.

office365-wordmark-color

MyWorkDrive allows employees to take advantage of more efficient opportunities to collaborate and get work done, from anywhere in the world with any Office 365 subscription.

Edit Local Office Files in Office Online

Do you need to open and edit local documents in Office 365/ Office Online?  With MyWorkDrive you can. MyWorkDrive allows you to open locally stored files on windows file shares in Office online without moving files to SharePoint or OneDrive.  Learn more here on how to edit Local Office Files in Office 365.

MyWorkDrive is a Certified Microsoft Cloud Storage Provider

MyWorkDrive is thrilled to be certified as a Microsoft Cloud Storage Provider and is eager to share the benefits of this partnership with their clients. Other cloud access systems use third-party document editors or require additional servers. With MyWorkDrive customers can integrate local files directly into Office Online.  Whether a user needs to work on files based in Word, PowerPoint or Excel, efficient editing and collaboration capabilities are now central features of the MyWorkDrive platform.

MyWorkDrive and the Modern Business World

The modern business world is more dynamic and fast-moving than ever before and the team at MyWorkDrive believes technology should be supportive of this demanding environment and optimize it’s potential.  More and more professionals are driving demand for universal access, storage and the ability to collaborate remotely; businesses in every industry want instant access, from anywhere and all the time.  MyWorkDrive is passionate about being the premium solution to satisfy this demand and their partnership with Microsoft is an incredibly valued endeavor.

“Our team has over two decades of experience working in managed IT for business.” MyWorkDrive, Co-Founder Dan Gordon claims. “We’re excited about continually optimizing our software to better support the specific needs of modern business professionals. Our partnership with Microsoft and co-authoring integration is a huge asset to our client base. It allows them to get more done and allows for work to be accessed, edited and stored seamlessly. This is the future of modern commerce and we’re excited to be driving its development for business professionals all over the world.”

Office Online Editing Demonstration Videos

 

Contact MyWorkDrive

For more information on the innovative MyWorkDrive cloud storage solutions and their exciting new certification with the Microsoft Cloud Storage Partnership Program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to their team of experts anytime at (877) 705-4997 or via email at sales@myworkdrive.com

Cloud File Sharing Services

Cloud File Sharing Services

coud file sharing

A review of recent posts on file sharing and cloud solutions reveals an ongoing demand for an easy file web access and map drive solution for existing Windows File Servers that’s not currently available in typical file sharing services.  Intivix – our MSP in San Francisco – looked for products to fill this demand and came up short. All the products assumed clients are looking to sync all their data to the cloud or users’ desktops–something unfeasible when file server storage for even the smallest clients exceeds 1 terabyte. Intivix therefore ended up designing their own product–MyWorkDrive.com–and setup a new company around it. Intivix now uses it at numerous clients and for their own secure file remote access solution.

Most Appreciated Features of MyWorkDrive by Businesses

  • 100% native Windows product:  Easy to patch and ties into active directory (with nothing to configure) and inherits existing NTFS permissions, users and groups.
  • File access solution without VPN: End-users utilize the file web access browser client or WebDAV to map drives; there are no sync clients to maintain or troubleshoot.  We leave synching to whatever service the client prefers for a subset of their files – Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc..
  • Choice between Simple or Advanced File Viewer: Files can be viewed on iPads or for power users they can utilize WebDAV to connect to shares using 3rd party apps.  (We recommend WebDAV Navigator for both iOS and Android powered phones.)
  • Easily Scan, Update and Manage: Our security utilizes Windows IIS Our optional free relay service allows small clients to access files through our Azure service bus relay: so no Firewalls, SSL Certificates or host names to configure, and no open ports to servers. We regularly scan our relay servers using Qualys SSL Labs to ensure an A rating.

With MyWorkDrive users can connect to internal files & shares using any web browser, map drives over WebDAV and enjoy ease of access on any mobile device – all while providing internal access at gigabit speeds using mapped drives users already know.

With MyWorkDrive users enjoy all the benefits of cloud file server access without giving up their data!