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How to Access Your Computer’s Files Remotely

Remote access

Have you ever been to a location and realized that you need access to a file stored in your home or office computer? Perhaps you need remote into home computer when you are on vacation? Regardless of the reason, it has happened to most of us. We’ve wished we could remotely access a file from our mobile device or run a software program installed on a work computer from a home office but have no idea how to access and control the program remotely. 

There’s a solution to this dilemma of computer remote access. Using remote file server access allows you to log into your computer remotely to edit and delete files and applications from anywhere. Below, we outline how to remotely access files on another computer and the best remote access tools in the market.

Increase in Remote Working

File sharing, when connected to your company’s network, is easy and convenient. However, with the global pandemic and subsequent work-from-home mandates, employees were forced to set up their home offices quickly. This resulted in some employees having to work on their personal computers without access to their work PCs. 

Companies are deploying the full suite of remote access software to simplify this situation, improve productivity, and allow employees to work from anywhere.

Benefits of Remote Access 

Before we explore how to remotely access files on another computer, what are the benefits of enabling remote access to computing devices?

  • Remote access streamlines and simplifies monitoring, control, and maintenance. 
  • Regardless of the user’s location, remote access allows admins to maintain computer systems without physical access.
  • Employees can get help to troubleshoot problems and get their issues resolved within minutes.
  • Enables smooth access to files, applications, and ERP software when your device connects to the company’s network.
  • Improves security by centralizing server activity into one interface. Admins can remotely access computers to view user activity from one interface and determine if their actions compromise security.
  • Remote computer access helps companies reduce overhead costs by migrating their operations to cloud platforms. 

Five Ways to Access Your Computer’s Files Remotely

Below we cover some tools that simplify file browser remote access: 

1.   Cloud Services

Cloud storage systems such as Google Workspace, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox enable companies to operate remotely by syncing work tools and file-sharing services. As a result, employees can easily access documents remotely. 

The good thing about these apps is they can scale from individuals to corporate enterprises. So if you’re a single user, you get access to Google Workspace tools with the bonus of free storage of up to 15GB. Enterprise users get more storage space and services depending on the number of users. 

Create files and folders on your local machine, then right-click on the folder to sync with your Google Drive. Google will automatically upload your files and folders, and you can access them from any device. You can also share documents and folders with other people and limit access for security purposes. 

OneDrive works slightly differently; you don’t have to sync your data. Instead, the platform has a setting that lets you access your computer’s hard disk—Right-click on OneDrive’s icon to activate this setting and launch the settings. 

Select the option “Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC” and save your settings. You can now access your computer’s hard disk using OneDrive’s web app and launch any file from there. 

OneDrive and Google Workspace allow users to access Android files remotely and access mac files remotely.

Remote access: How to Access Your Computer's Files Remotely

2.   Network Attached Storage Devices (NAS)

NAS devices operate similarly to the hard drive; the primary difference is they’re connected to your network via the internet. This connectivity allows you to store your files and access them from any location. A NAS device is an excellent backup tool, and you can use it together with cloud services. In case of a cloud data breach, you can remotely restore your company’s databases from the NAS device. 

To get the best out of your NAS storage system, configure its settings so users can access files via the internet. Note that this configuration applies to devices without automatic remote access.

The downside to NAS devices is that you can only access files over the internet, so users cannot access the NAS device without an internet connection.

3.   USB Enabled Routers

Most internet routers come equipped with a USB port that can be used to connect a hard disk or a flash drive to the router. Start by enabling remote sharing on your router, then activate dynamic DNS. USB-enabled routers are less expensive compared to NAS devices but are more exposed to security issues. 

4.   Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Another excellent method for accessing files remotely on your computer is installing a VPN server on your PC. When activated, your computer is considered part of the company network, and so you can access company files remotely, and if configured correctly, you can also access all other file repositories. Setting up a VPN server may require an IT professional who can also correctly configure the security setting. 

5.   Remote Desktop Access

Remote desktop software comes equipped with additional features such as remote printing, web conferencing apps and also integrates with third-party applications. For example, remote desktop access enables remote file access in distributed file systems by automating all computer functions through an intermediary application. 

The software also has advanced security features to protect companies from cybercriminals, such as VPN access, multi-factor authentication, and access control management.  

Remote desktop access integrates seamlessly with Active Directories so employees can easily access company assets from any location. 

Remote Computer Access Best Practices

Implementing the right software to enable remote access is only the first step. The critical success factor is how well you integrate remote access throughout your processes and job functions. 

Successful integration requires policies, procedures, training, data security compliance, and a culture of continuous innovation. Some best practices to enhance remote access integration and security include: 

  • Develop telework and remote access policies. Setting clear expectations and rules specifies the employee code of conduct. This policy can cover Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) expectations, data security, allowable software installations, and reporting procedures for malware attempts.
  • Encrypt communications and sensitive data. Bad actors can intercept your communications and file-sharing networks to extract valuable information; if they are not encrypted. Therefore, implement end-to-end encryption tools for internal and third-party software and all forms of communications.
  • Provide hardware for remote workers. As much as BYOD is a growing trend, it’s much safer to have defined boundaries between work and personal devices. In addition, it’s easier to support and secure company-provided devices; you can install strict controls and monitor user activity. 
  • Always back up your files. Create a separate backup of all your files, applications, and work tools – separate from your company’s networks. That way, even in the event of a ransomware or security incident, your company can continue with business operations and recover any lost data. 
  • Update security patches. Applying routine security updates help in addressing vulnerabilities and loopholes before attackers can exploit them. In addition to security patches, conduct routine vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and system monitoring to identify problem areas and fix them immediately.
  • Implement strict access controls, manage endpoints and cloud infrastructure. Set up multi-factor authentication and standard password update policies. Also, adopt security management principles such as the least privilege concept, zero trust models and develop a unified vulnerability management program.

Access Computer Remotely Today

Stop struggling to learn how to access computer remotely on your own. Access your PC anywhere. CG Technologies offers a range of managed IT services and solutions tailored to your business. Our network professionals will go through a rigorous process of identifying vulnerabilities that could compromise your network’s overall security, privacy, and operations and recommend how best to optimize and protect your network.

We have over 25 years of experience delivering exceptional services to 100’s of companies in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Contact us if you’d like to know more about how we can manage your day-to-day IT challenges so you don’t have to, allowing you to focus on growing your business. 

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