As many as 54% of businesses in key niches have a dedicated budget for technology. With 2020 forcing more people to work remotely, we’ve seen that figure gain momentum.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are, you paid closer attention to IT this year than you have in years past. Among the many solutions you likely explored, remote file access was probably a key question you sought answers to.
For the uninitiated, remote file access describes the process of being able to access files from a host computer/server from a separate device anywhere in the world. If you’re interested in better understanding how remote file access works and are actively considering getting remote access software integrated into your business, keep reading.
Below, our team breaks down everything you need to know!
What Is Remote File Access?
As we touched on already, remote file access describes several solutions that enable people to access data on host machines from other parts of the world. For example, if you had important files on your work computer and weren’t near it, picking up your phone to access those work computer files would constitute remote file access.
The question here is what software solutions enable you to bridge the distance gap between devices to access your files remotely?
More on that in a moment.
Why Is Remote Access Becoming Popular?
In short, necessity is the core driver of remote file access’ popularity. As businesses were forced out of their offices in certain states, file access workflows needed to be leveraged to ensure that people could continue to be productive from home.
This led to the widespread adoption of several remote access solutions that many businesses, small and large, had ignored investing in previously.
Even before COVID-19 changed the work landscape though, remote file access had gained some popularity in certain forward-thinking companies that foresaw a future where employees would work remotely. This unforced move towards remote file access was seen as a way to make workers happier by reducing their commutes and to save millions on expensive office building leases.
Ways to Enable Remote File Access
If your organization is exploring remote file access workflows, you’ll either be glad or overwhelmed to know that you have multiple outlets you can explore. Here are a few ways you can start down the road to effectively making your files available to team members working remotely.
Remote Desktop Applications
Have you ever had an IT professional take control of your desktop remotely to help you work through an issue? If you have, you’ve experienced one of the classic means of remote file access.
Whether you use Window’s native remote access application or third-party tools to grant you access to your desktop remotely, if you can control your computer from afar, you can access its files.
You can learn more about Window’s remote desktop access workflow here.
The downside of using remote desktop applications to service your file access needs is that your host computer needs to be on 24/7. Does that sound like an electricity and maintenance nightmare? If it does, your next best bet will be to store important files on a separate, low-power server that’s built to remain on.
A NAS server is a great means to that end.
NAS stands for “network-attached storage”. It’s essentially a large hard drive that plugs into your company’s internet router. Once plugged in, it can be accessed by other computers from around the world.
NAS servers vary in data capacity, security, and usability features. You’ll want to understand what your company’s unique access needs are before you go out shopping for NAS hardware. That way, you can ensure you don’t under or overpay for your solution.
Cloud File Storage Apps
The most used remote file access solution in the world is cloud file storage apps. You’ve heard of a few of them yourself; Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox.
Cloud file storage apps are like the NAS server solution we pitched. The difference is instead of you purchasing a server, you borrow space on a third-party server.
In most cases, companies will give you a certain amount of free space on their servers (say, 15 gigabytes). Once you surpass that allotment or if you need certain access features to enable your team to be productive, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to continue using the services.
Remote File Access Downsides
You now know what remote file access is and how to enable it. So then, is it worth diving head-first into the world of remote access? Are there downsides to doing so?
Downsides are inevitable anytime you’re allowing remote access to company files. The most obvious downside is security concerns. Most security issues can be abated by using secure remote file server access solutions and training your employees on how to protect data.
Another common downside is the technical troubleshooting skills that may need to be flexed by your team when they run into issues connecting to host computers, NAS servers, or cloud applications.
Remote File Access Is a Business Necessity in the Modern World
Love it or hate it, remote file access isn’t something companies are going to escape. You need to be prepared to invest in it. You need to be prepared and teach your employees how to leverage it.
That is, of course, if you hope to continue being productive amidst current health concerns and in a future where more people than ever are going to expect work from home flexibility.
We hope our post inspires you to double down on remote access solutions. If you’re hungry for more information, feel free to check out additional business tips on our blog.