Navigating SharePoint Limitations: The Best File Server Access Solution for AutoCAD Users

Businesses that migrate to Office 365 often choose SharePoint for file sharing and collaboration. Whereas Office 365 makes it easy to share files and collaborate with co-workers, it can be challenging to use SharePoint for specific industries.

In this piece, we introduce Triofox as a tried and tested cloud file server access solution for MEP companies and discuss ways in which Triofox makes up for SharePoint as a corporate file sharing platform.

Background: Company Case Study

Outlined below is a case study that describes the previous workflow of an electrical engineering company and specifies the issue they ran into. Companies whose workflow corresponds can take a cue from the results.

  • Company A does solar panel projects for residential utilities.
  • They have a few designers, a lot of AutoCAD-editing users, and the rest are just people that need access to the CAD drawings.
  • They used SharePoint for several years. However, as an engineering company, using SharePoint brought some compatibility concerns when used with their CAD files, which made them seek an alternative file sharing solution.

These issues include:

  1. No File Locking

According to Autodesk, “Since the release of AutoCAD 2000, the program no longer controls file locking or creates lock files. All file locking now is performed by the operating system or file access software.” Although SharePoint has the file locking features set up for co-authoring applications such as MS Office files, it does not support CAD files, which is configured by SharePoint Online to open its files externally on the AutoCAD app as a third-party application.

As a result, multiple people can open the same drawing at the same time and edit it, and they won’t get a notification that someone else already opened it. When this happens, either a user can’t save changes because the write privilege has been revoked, or the other user’s updates are overwritten.

  1. External reference (XREF) is Inconsistent

It is impossible to get the correct referencing between files via path names, and AutoCAD files can’t be accessed via the download folder. With our case study, because they use the files from their Windows machines (to prevent slow performance, people are advised to download the files to the local network and upload when done), the pathnames are inclusive of the OneDrive folder, i.e., “C:\Users\<UserName>\OneDrive”.

The problem is that updates to the file change the pathname for everyone writing to the file. Hence, it can’t point to the same location.

SharePoint Incompatibility with AutoCAD

The CAD file is a container file that references other files or blocks within the same file. It is important for these references to be correctly managed so they can be updated when their corresponding files are edited. In its right, SharePoint is more a document management system than it is a file-sharing solution as phrased by the AIIM, “Microsoft SharePoint is an enterprise content management and collaboration platform that allows organizations to share and exchange information.” Though it allows for storing CAD files, it doesn’t provide sufficient functionality to manage its design files.

Why Triofox?

File locking is an important feature for online file access and team collaboration. It is a feature that prevents the modification of a file by more than one user at once, which is useful when two or more people need to make changes to a document simultaneously. Triofox is a cloud file server access solution that allows you to access your AutoCAD files in the cloud. It allows users to edit the drawings from within AutoCAD but still have quick and easy access to the drawings from a web browser or mobile device.

By providing a mapped-drive approach to access file shares, it solves the file-locking problem, so editing AutoCAD files that have been replicated to the cloud is not an issue. Triofox mapped drive is a file access solution that has an automatic (and manual) file lock feature that is compatible with a wide range of file extension types. It lets you collaborate with AutoCAD DWG/DXF files so users can easily share design plans and drawings without worrying about the AutoCAD compatibility issue or corruption. Cloud file server access solution other benefits include:

  • Great Tool for Remote Working

For designers who need to work with files from their local server when they’re on the go, Triofox enables users to work on the go without the need to use a VPN, as the performance is subject to network availability and the number of users on the network connection. Also, other users can have 24/7 access to the files on the server, unlike when using an RDP, which still requires an active data connection and someone on the ground in the office to turn on the workstation.

Triofox makes working with AutoCAD easier and more efficient. With Triofox, you can access files faster and worry less about the hassle of AutoCAD file corruption. In addition, using a mapped drive, companies can access files they need from their cloud storage service without worrying about network issues as frequently accessed files can be cached for offline access; those files are encrypted at rest.

  • Seamless Integration

This solution provides the same in-office AutoCAD experience and reduces data replication or redundancy concerns. Triofox enables users to access existing file shares so employees can access their company’s file shares from anywhere, using a web browser or a mobile app. It mirrors the familiar on-premise working experience, so it doesn’t matter whether employees work remotely or on the road. Once authenticated, they can effortlessly use their own device to securely access corporate data, even when they’re away from the office.

Its deployment takes little to minimal training, unlike SharePoint, whose adoption can be time-intensive and expensive.


Triofox is an excellent solution as it provides the ease of use functionality as SharePoint and provides design editing functionality not readily available on most cloud computing services. For these reasons, Triofox provides a more comprehensive file-sharing solution to MEPs.

How to Improve Access to Azure Files in the Cloud

With more and more employees working from home, many businesses seek to move data from their on-premises servers to cloud storage services. One of the more popular cloud storage solutions is Microsoft’s Azure Files – although it presents its own unique set of challenges to companies seeking to serve their remote workforces better. In this blog, we will look at how to improve access to Azure Files.

Azure Files is a managed file share service for files stored in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform used by large and small businesses for data storage, app hosting, and other purposes. Azure Files allows companies to share files hosted in the cloud with remote employees located anywhere in the world.

Using standard protocols like SMB or NFS, Windows Server administrators can set up access to Azure archives. Users can mount Azure Files directly from the cloud or on-premises servers. Users can access Azure Files from a Windows, macOS, or Linux machine.

Many organizations use Azure Files because it makes it relatively simple to share files via the cloud. It can easily replace on-premises file servers and existing file shares with minimal maintenance. File shares can also be cached on local Windows Servers if desired.

Challenges in Using Azure Files

Azure Files sounds like the perfect solution for organizations with work-at-home employees who need to access files remotely. However, users have discovered that it is less than ideal, with many challenges that impact the service’s ultimate usability.

The biggest challenges in using Azure Files include:

  • No native mobile application for access from phones and tablets
  • No file locking, which could result in multiple users overwriting each other’s changes
  • Potential sync problems with local caching
  • Inefficient bandwidth use from repeatedly downloading the same files from the cloud

These issues can result in inefficiencies and, sometimes, corrupted files. They also are keeping many organizations from embracing Azure Files as their remote file sharing solution.

A Real-World Example

One of our clients decided to transfer all of their on-premises data to Azure Files from local file servers. However, after conducting a service test, they discovered several issues due to the lack of file locking and other popular system features.

This client has offices in two different locations, in the U.S. and Dubai, UAE. The client’s file server is in the U.S. The client currently accesses local files at both locations and needs to access U.S.-based files from the Dubai office..

The client needed the same set of files to be present in both locations. The client had to transfer the files from both on-premises sites to a cloud file server to achieve this. The client chose Microsoft Azure Files to accomplish this.

The Azure Files solution appeared to be a viable option. Microsoft’s data center in Dubai is not far from the client’s Dubai office. His US office is also next to the Azure East data center in the United States.

The client began by syncing files from his office in the United States to the Azure cloud but soon ran into Azure’s lack of file locking functionality. People in both the US and Dubai offices were seeing different copies of the same file was inconvenient. Latency issues plagued the client, especially when it came to files syncing.

As a result, the client was forced to seek out another choice. They went with Triofox.

How Triofox Makes it Easier to Access Azure Files

Secure Azure File Access

All of these issues are addressed by Triofox, which provides all required file system features for Azure Files, including:

  • File locking
  • On-demand synchronization
  • Instant syncing to the central storage repository
  • Efficient bandwidth utilization
  • Secure mobile app access

With Triofox, Azure Files becomes much more usable for remote workers. Files are locked during editing so that essential data is never inadvertently overwritten. Azure file shares look just like typically shared folders on users’ devices.

Triofox offers web browser, desktop/laptop, and mobile access. The Triofox mobile app enables users to access files at home from their own mobile devices. Remote access is easy and secure..

Let Triofox Be Your Azure File Sharing Solution

Triofox is a file server enhancement solution that supplements Microsoft’s Azure Files remote file sharing. With Triofox, remote users have secure access to data in Azure Files with all the file locking and synchronization features that ensure safe and efficient operation. Contact Triofox today to learn more about how Triofox can help your organization get more out of Azure Files – and create a more efficient and practical remote workforce.

Contact us today for a free trial!