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I work in a medium-sized office with many non-technical users. We have a standard Windows VPN. For remote access, most users log on to the VPN and then access their LAN desktop via Windows Remote Desktop/RDP. Although the VPN has excellent uptime, the reliance on local machines makes this a bit unreliable, and the user VPN setup is hard for us to support, especially as users only access it during non-business hours. Most of the time, they only need the VPN in order to edit a Word or Excel file.

I would like to have some method for users to securely access their files without needing to download or configure VPN software and without the flakiness associated with connecting with RDP. I know that we could have each user map a drive to directly access the file share and skip the RDP step, but it is a little advanced for our non-technical users and doesn't solve the problem of users who don't have the PPTP VPN client installed.

Is there any free software out there that will let users access files in network shares via a web page? I had hoped Exchange 2010 would provide this functionality, but apparently it was removed from 2010 and was only present in 2007 (which we skipped over).

The software would need:

  • Secure login to Active Directory
  • File access limited to user/group that user authenticates with
  • Encryption of login and file transfer (via SSL presumably)
  • Limits on file types and shares that can be accessed
  • Virus scanning and limits on types of files uploaded

It can be Windows or Linux based, as long as it supports NTFS permissions.

The reason to prefer the web page is that it is something our users already know how to access. I would prefer a mature, extremely secure by design product though. I can imagine a lot of potential security issues.I did see this similar query but it didn't get the answer I'm looking for.

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2 Answers 2

Have you looked at SharePoint, I think this will do exactly what you want, and it's designed around being used with the Office products.

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Sharepoint is out of our price rang,e unfortunately. I know that Sharepoint is the reason that Microsoft disabled "direct file access" in Exchange 2010. –  Quinten Oct 6 '10 at 17:54
    
There is a free version of SharePoint (SharePoint Foundation I think it's called now) that should still do evrything you need. –  Coding Gorilla Oct 6 '10 at 18:25
    
Thanks--I will certainly give that a try. –  Quinten Oct 6 '10 at 20:57
    
Hmm, after experimenting with this a bit, it seems like Sharepoint is great for organizing a document library, but not great as a tool to just plug in and allow access to existing file shares. Am I missing something? –  Quinten Oct 8 '10 at 16:35
    
No, you're right. You would need to migrate your file shares into document libraries. –  Coding Gorilla Oct 11 '10 at 19:45

I set up a VPN in Windows Server 2008, and I use the built-in VPN connection in Windows 7 to connect to it. It's all free, and I can access my files through the VPN connection and the Internet simultaneously through the split tunnel.

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