Access File Servers Without a VPN

Many companies struggled to comply with government regulations and stay at home orders that aimed to keep staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, it was more complex than simply setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and allowing staff to work from home.

Governments around the world had to act quickly to slow the spread of the virus, but the best way to protect populations was to enforce the necessary social distancing. The boost this gave to remote work technologies hasn’t gone unnoticed. Stock prices for companies who were perfectly poised to provide remote work tech skyrocketed.

Similarly, employees who had to perform duties from home found that productivity stayed the same or even increased. While work from home has been on an upward trend over the last ten years, since the start of 2020, it is now part of good business practice for your organization to establish an effective and secure remote access solution. If your company operates in an area or territory where VPNs are illegal (like the United Arab Emirates), you can still implement remote work and it may even be a better solution than a traditional VPN.

Why are VPNs Illegal in the UAE?

In July last year, the UAE’s President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan published a royal edict banning the use of VPNs. In an attempt to combat cybercrimes, the law states that anyone using a fraudulent computer network protocol address (or IP address) to commit a crime or just to prevent discovery will face imprisonment and have to pay a hefty fine.

The wording of the law may leave some VPN providers guessing if there are any loopholes, as the two major telecom companies (Etisalat and Du) does provide the service legally. Seeing as the majority of residents living and working in the UAE are foreigners, the law creates an inconvenience for individuals and companies alike.

The UAE isn’t the only territory that banned VPNs. Currently, the following countries have laws prohibiting or limiting the use of these networks:

  • Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Turkey have implemented complete VPN bans
  • UAE, Uganda, and China have tightly regulated or partially blocked VPNs

For companies operating in these territories, there’s no upside to not complying with the regulations. In the UAE, some VPNs may still work but if you’re operating your business and relying on remote work, it’s definitely not worth the risk. Besides, VPNs are no longer the most efficient remote work tech available today.

What are the Drawbacks of VPNs?

VPNs are actually an outdated technology. It’s been around for ages and has received little to no updates except slight improvements with the encryption used by these connections. Other drawbacks include slowing down your internet connection, becoming costly at scale, and requiring excessive admin effort to maintain.

Some services may also block VPNs and prevent access, making the effectiveness of this solution uncertain. The worst providers have little scruples and could be selling your browsing and internet habits to a third party. Although most corporations won’t use a VPN service that has a bad reputation, if you don’t know what’s going on in your network, it could put your organization at risk.

A final drawback of VPNs is that it grants complete access to the company’s internal networks that could see personal devices infect the IT system with malware or viruses. With newer remote work technologies available, the effort, risk, and uncertainty regarding VPNs should make it a final resort instead of a preferred solution.

How Does a VPN Work?

VPNs allow you to access resources on a network by transferring your connection via an encrypted channel (also called a tunnel or pipe). The destination will see your address as originating from within the network and as such, allow you to access files, services, or other infrastructure via the VPN’s server.

Any request from your device will go to the VPN server before it re-routes you to the required network resources, usually encrypting the request between the origin and destination. It’s these additional routing paths required between you and the destination that will influence your internet speeds, leading to inefficient connections.

Are There Viable VPN Alternatives Available?

You don’t have to move your company servers to a cloud service to enable remote access. With Triofox, it’s still possible to provide secure access to your file servers while your staff works from home. You can implement remote work that’s compliant with the applicable laws and without having to expose your servers to the internet.

Benefits of Triofox for Remote Access to On-Premises File Servers

To provide companies with secure, efficient, and compliant remote access, Triofox comes with a host of features. Triofox is an easy-to-use, encrypted solution that outperforms VPN in most metrics. Here are some of the primary benefits you get from using Triofox.

Assures Safe and Secure Remote Access to File Servers

Instead of implementing cloud storage that will increase data sprawl in your organization, you can retain your existing file server deployment while enabling secure remote access. Triofox allows you to connect directly to your on-premises file servers and network drives without having to implement any additional solutions or elevated security controls.

Reduces Need to Retrain Users

Some VPNs are complex to operate and maintain, requiring additional training for your users and administrators. Troubleshooting issues with a VPN is complex and time-consuming. With simplified and encrypted access to your company servers, you won’t need to spend additional time and resources on educating your employees on the safe use of a VPN.

Triofox integrates with your existing active directory and NTFS permissions, eliminating the need to administer multiple access control solutions. For employees, it’s easy to use and works just like any mapped network drive or file explorer.

Works Like Cloud Storage Using Your Own Servers

Users can access all their work files as the sharing and security settings extend to remote locations without requiring a reconfiguration of your IT systems. Triofox provides you with Office365 integration to help you get back to work quickly. You also get support for offline folders to keep staff productive even when internet connections aren’t available. To keep everyone on the same page, you have on-demand synchronization and parallel data transfer for large files.

Comes with Loads of Security Features

Endpoint and connection encryption keeps all communications secure, while staff will only have access to the files and folders you already permitted them to use. Additional security features include two-factor authentication (2FA) with support for both Google Authenticator and Amazon MFA or DUO.

Keeps Staff Productive from Anywhere

Once workers aren’t sharing a workspace, it’s a challenge to keep them informed about progress and prevent mismatched data. Triofox helps you by providing version control, file locking, and conflict detection. Alerts and change notifications help prevent any mistakes from creeping into your workflows and ensures all employees know what another is doing while working remotely.

Consider Triofox as Your Remote Access Solution

Triofox brings new efficiencies to workforces who are required to work remotely. With VPNs, the admin effort is massive while access is slow or in some cases, prohibited. As Triofox extends your file servers’ NTFS permissions and integrates with your active directory, it enables collaboration from any remote location. You can reduce the costs associated with VPN solutions, minimize your data sprawl, boost your remote work productivity, and enforce all data security just like within your corporate network.

Simplify your file server management and ensure compliance with Triofox even when moving to a mobile workforce. To see how it works, sign up for a free trial today.