The breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise and saw businesses adapting innovative solutions to stay afloat during the worldwide lockdown. Remote work, which was a working perk exclusive to certain positions and job titles, became the only working option for most businesses offering what was considered “non-essential” services. These saw organizations scurrying to adapt the fastest remote working options available to risk sinking in the sudden economic downturn caused by the rapid spread of the flu.
Contrary to the suspicions that remote working would take its toll on businesses because of its perceived lack of structure and solitary nature that contrasted with the connectivity and community that in-office collaboration afforded, remote work has proven to be the future of work.
By now, even with the lockdown ease and rollout of the vaccine, most businesses have realized that remote working is not a passing trend, and they must integrate efficient remote working policies into their business operations. Hence, companies must find and adapt long-term scalable solutions for file sharing and synchronized collaboration between remote teams.
In this article, we will focus on the challenges of working remotely using a VPN in the creative industry and share how organizations can extend remote working long-term for improved performance and security, even without a full cloud migration.
VPN to the Rescue…or Not
VPN was seen as the ultimate quick fix for businesses that wanted their employees to access corporate files without risking security. As a result, its popularity skyrocketed, but the challenges manifested as the months wore on.
Here is a play out of the VPN remote access experience by a previous VPN user:
- Company designs ads for impulse buy products.
- The workload was multiplied after COVID hit because they deal with online advertising and sales.
- An increase in workload led to an increased workforce, doubling data output.
- The company was fine with the sales team working over VPN connections, but not so for their designers, who had to frequently access the photo library stored on the file server. The directory listing took too long to load over VPN, delaying search and sorting through thumbnails – they used most of the adobe’s creative cloud software.
- Since their photos were all stored in a single photo library (with pictures dating back to 2003) and had several network shares (each 100GB or more), this made work slow and insufferable.
- In addition, they could not migrate fully to the cloud because of the heavy media files.
VPN, which provides secure access through its encryption and cloaking features, remains what it is, a temporary fix. Its usage for designers in creative agencies can be off-putting. And slower home network speed, which can be a significant bottleneck for remote teams, is further worsened by the dampening bandwidth effect of a VPN. Using InDesign, remote design teams reported significant slowdowns when connecting to their company’s on-prem file server using VPNs. Still, they had to use it because personal or public networks expose the company to cyber threats and attacks.
Although the needs of businesses vary according to industry and size, irrespective of the differentiating limitations, productivity plunge and employee frustration were shared consequences of VPN usage.
Even though business needs vary by industry and size, VPN use has been linked to decreased productivity and employee dissatisfaction.
Other challenges that could affect operations include:
- There is a higher risk of data corruption due to reduced bandwidth and high latency fluctuations.
- VPNs lack the granular level of control needed to monitor and control data access.
- VPNs are a choice target for hackers, and their successful infiltration affects companies engaging their services, as they have to bear the brunt of data breaches.
- If a uniform corporate VPN network is not set up, employees risk exposing company data through the use of public Wi-Fi or unscrupulous VPN vendors hiding under the guise of free or cheap VPN providers. Even when companies incorporate this, a data compliance breach is inevitable when the company’s data is replicated on the servers of third parties during VPN tunneling.
Securely Access and Share Files Without a VPN
Some businesses opt out of complete cloud server migration because the process can be hectic and could lead to significant workflow disruption when migrating. Large file size, long path names, windows character limitations, and numbers of files per folder (files have to be reorganized to prevent sync issues) are only a few issues affecting cloud migration and sync. And fixing those limitations is resource-intensive.
Also, most cloud services do not support essential windows server security features such as file locking and permission control. For instance, Adobe Creative Cloud still doesn’t support control permissions for contributors (the horror of having hours’ worth of work overwritten by a two-second update). As explained by a representative, “Currently shared libraries are always writable by all participants.”
Since server-side edits aren’t supported, the best bet is for designers to work from their local devices and upload to central storage when done. However, for organizations that rely on PSD and heavy media files, a cloud-based environment is sorely expensive.
Businesses in similar situations (firms who choose to keep their on-premises file servers) can take advantage of Triofox. This hybrid cloud server solution enhances the functionalities of file servers by adding mobility, data sharing, and security capabilities. Triofox server solution allows secure remote file access without a VPN.
Benefits of Triofox Hybrid Cloud Server Solution
Businesses can improve the performance and productivity of their staff with corporate data never leaving the server. This is possible as Triofox compliments the security of file servers with the flexibility of cloud storage. Outlined below are other benefits of deploying the Triofox server solution as a VPN alternative:
- Organizations no longer have to sacrifice security for accessibility or vice versa as Triofox offers the best of both worlds by enhancing the existing file servers with mobile file accessibility and easy file sharing solutions.
- Organizations can improve the work-from-home experience for their employees by removing VPN bottlenecks.
- Secure remote access to on-premise file servers eliminates the need for engaging third-party VPN vendors, greatly reducing the risk of a data breach.
- Triofox secure file sharing solutions make it easy to share large files and collaborate with teams, partners, and clients.
- Users can easily adapt the Triofox solution because it offers a similar mapped-drive experience, so there’s no disruption to the workflow after deployment.
- As a VPN alternative, Triofox fixes the scalability, performance, and security issues while providing management features and security tools.