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So we have a client that's just been setup on a domain with Shared Folders on a server (They currently use DropBox but will be migrating these to the Shared Folders on the server). Now the tricky part is 2 of the staff members are located in another country and need to access some of the files + create new files.

One of our ideas was to perhaps install the program they need to create the files on the server so they could use the program directly on the server via RDP. Trouble is, it requires a graphics card which the server doesn't have/can't install. - This idea is out of the window.

The next idea was perhaps the VPN option and to add shortcuts to the desktop of the users to be able to remotely access the files - We feel this may have severe performance issues (as where the server is located, it's not on a good connection).

After that, we thought about keeping Dropbox and perhaps have a work in progress folder where the 2 users create their files then drag over to the server once they've finished with them. - The only problem with this, is that they've now told us all users need to access them at all times whether they are a work in progress or not.

Ideally, we don't want to be installing Dropbox or keeping a local copy on every users machine (only those 2 users out of the country). - I'm wondering if it could be a case of perhaps syncing a folder on the server e.g. 'Files' into DropBox and then that would sync on the 2 users machines locally.

Does anyone know of a solution to this, it seems to be like it could be a really common probably. Is there an alternative way other than the last point I've made of using Dropbox to sync a folder on the server?

I wonder if we could use something similar to a Dropbox client that could download the files directly from the server locally onto the PC and then sync back up once changes have been made?

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The next idea was perhaps the VPN option and to add shortcuts to the desktop of the users to be able to remotely access the files

This is the correct solution based on the given requirements (Such as moving away from Dropbox).

We feel this may have severe performance issues (as where the server is located, it's not on a good connection).

If you're afraid VPN is going to have issues, then anything connecting to or from this box is going to have issues. Dropbox would have to upload/download changes from the Dropbox servers in order to maintain the sync state which would also be impacted by a slow connection.

I wouldn't install RDP on the server itself, but setting up a minimal desktop machine that can be used as a Jump host would have potential... Alternatively some type of shared desktop environment (Citrix comes to mind) would also benefit here.

But if you have concerns of the external network impeding work, then all of this is for not since it will impact any connection to the box. Putting it in a CoLo or cloud service could alleviate the speed of access, but now bring in additional costs that may exceed what is being spent on Dropbox as it is.

  • Thanks for your comments. I mean the issue is the 2 users trying to pull the files from the server as this will be very slow (as based in the UK) and they are in another country. If they used Dropbox or something similar it should be faster for them as they would be downloading from a bigger/more local server to pull the files. It doesn't matter about the speed of it downloading/uploading from the server on-site. – Ash M Mar 12 '18 at 14:18

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