Drive Mapping is a very important feature for online file access. It is easy for end-users to access files and folders over the Internet from within a mapped drive with drag and drop capabilities.
When it comes to drive mapping from remote locations, such as working from home, most of us use VPN (virtual private network). VPN support comes from different vendors, your firewall vendor normally provide VPN support, so does the Microsoft Remote Access Server role in the Server 2016 and 2019. Depending on the vendor, you may use the default VPN client from the Windows workstations, or download OpenVPN software or use a vendor specific VPN client agent, or set it up via mobile phone's VPN support. Anyway, it works to certain level for certain people. Like an old car, it works most of the time but you desire for a newer one.
Outside of the workspace, we saw that file accessing has been modernized, including direct and responsive web browser file access, mobile phone access, offline editing, version control and conflict detection. Whether you want to call it a Dropbox-style or a OneDrive-style is just a personal preference.
The very first trial-an-error may involve copying and migrating corporate file server content into OneDrive, or Dropbox, but soon other business problems appear, such as compliance issues, data scattering and data sprawl, in addition to data ownership, privacy and security issues. OneDrive may have other limitations regarding the number of files or the length of file names. If you haven't walked down this path, be warned and there are challenges ahead.
A better approach will be to use a drive mapper over the HTTPS. On one hand, it sounds like the VPN approach, which keeps the current file servers in existing places but enable remote connectivity. On the other hand, it elevates the connectivity protocol to higher up application layer, and away from the network layer, so to enable modern web access, mobile application access, offline editing, client side caching, HTTP resumable download and upload and so many other modern capabilities.
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A solution that adds iPhone application, web browser interface, Windows mapped drive and Mac Finder volume to Cloud Storage and turn Cloud Storage service into a corporate cloud file server solution.
Creates a mapped drive on user's desktop without the need of using a VPN.
Provides mobile applications for file and folder access from mobile devices such as from iPhone or Android phones.
Lock files-in-use or checking out files for offline access. Either way, file locking is a necessary feature for team collaboration.
Web browser based file manager is an important part of the solution. it is responsive, interactive and very easy to use.
Mapped network drive is the default file accessing method inside a corporate's network. Files and folders are served directly from corporate file servers. Windows desktop machines with group policy setup and active directory security settings have network drives automatically mapped to file server network shares and be available immediately upon a user's login to a Windows workstation.
With cloud storage becoming popular and the access methods extended to remote file access over the Internet, it is also very natural to extend the drive mapping technology from internal network to include cloud storage services and online file access.
Gladinet provides advanced drive mapping technology in its solutions. The mapped drive includes on-demand synchronization, local file caching, endpoint encryption, binary differential uploads, and other optimizations for files and folders to be accessed over the Internet.
Gladinet provides a drive letter mapping to the files and folders an employee has access to. The drive mapper is available without the need of using a VPN.
Use Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to access remote files as if they were on your local desktop.
Files are automatically locked when edited.
Locks are intelligently managed across online and offline scenarios with fail-safe algorithms.
Gladinet controls global concurrent access to files by using file locking to maintain consistency.
Define default locking behaviors in your environment. File locking can be exclusive to prevent concurrent access or shared to allow access after notification of locked status.
Multiple users can use the same file without worrying about inconsistent changes or other corruptions from uncontrolled concurrent access.
Drive mapping and file locking are the two basic features for accessing files and folders over the Internet.
However, WebDAV has these basic features too. For example, WebDAV has been used in the past to map a drive over the Internet but WebDAV is not a good solution. Pretty much everyone used WebDAV knows WebDAV is not for serious use for files over the Internet.
Above and beyond these two basic features, Gladinet's mapped drive also comes with many advanced features. These features include local file caching, resuming transfer errors and survive Internet glitches, version control and conflict detection, endpoint encryption and protection and other features.
Local caching can speed up user's file accessing speed by keeping unchanged files on the local disk.
Lengthy file transfers can survive Internet glitches with transfer retry from where the glitches happen instead of restart transfer.
Endpoint cache is protected with encrypting files in the local cache and with remote wipe.
Binary differential upload can speed up upload by detecting portions of the file that is changed.
Modifications to files are kept as old revisions in case they will be useful in the future to understand the change history.
When employees go offline and continue to modify files, the source version of the modification is recorded for later use.