Modernize Remote Access
for a Hybrid Workforce

How can I leverage Amazon S3 to facilitate remote file access?

Modernize Remote Access for a Hybrid Workforce

  • VPN-Less File Server Access
  • Unified Mapped Drive Experience
  • Single Sign-on & Zero Trust
  • Offline Editing & Caching

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Can Amazon S3 solve the remote file access problem?

The most common solution for hybrid employees who need remote file access is to set up VPN (Virtual Private Network) or RDP (Remote Desktop) so that employees who work from home can access file server network shares. If VPN or RDP works for you, that's all good and no big deal. However, if employees are not happy with VPN or RDP, the next solution is usually to migrate the file servers to SharePoint, which works for some, but not all, organizations. The most common issues with migrating to SharePoint are compliance issues, scalability issues with large data sets and legacy application support issues. If you either can not migrate to SharePoint or the migration fails, what do you try next?

In addition to the SharePoint solution, there is also an Amazon S3 File Gateway solution. The great thing about Amazon S3 File Gateway is that it provides backward compatibility through the file server's network share interface. However, accessing Amazon S3 File Gateway from a remote location is an issue. Amazon S3 is also included in the solution mix. Enterprises value Amazon S3's durability and availability, as well as its data classification. However, the problem they have encountered is that Amazon S3 does not provide a cloud file server interface, such as drive mapping, file locking, permission controls, etc.

So how can you turn Amazon S3 into a traditional file server that provides wide-ranging remote file access to support your hybrid workforce?

Unleash the Power of AWS

Testimonials

CASE STUDY #1

Triofox and AWS File Gateway work hand in hand

A private investment firm deployed AWS File Gateway to address capacity constraints on its on-premises file server. The company had about 8 TB of data, which is close to the limit of an on-premises file server. Therefore, AWS S3 File Gateway was used to move data from the on-premises file server to Amazon S3. Employees at the corporate site can access SMB shares provided by the on-premises file server and the AWS File Gateway appliance (based on a virtual machine). This worked well until the pandemic broke out in 2020. When everyone started working from home, the problem arose that the on-premises file server and AWS File Gateway are all on-premises appliances, which means access is not easy without an enterprise VPN. And a VPN is considered either a security risk (since it exposes the entire network) or inconvenient. So how can you access files from your employees' home offices without a VPN (but the data is in Amazon S3 anyway)? It's certainly not practical to require every employee to install an AWS File Gateway appliance in every home office to meet access requirements. This is where Triofox comes in. Triofox installs on an Amazon EC2 instance and provides an HTTPS RESTful-based protocol for file access. Triofox also has Windows client agents, macOS agents, web browser agents and Active Directory integration. So when employees work from home, they get a mapped drive to the same Amazon S3 bucket provided by AWS File Gateway. In addition, this solution now provides mobile access, offline editing, and file sharing in the web browser with Active Directory identity integration.

Single Sign-on - Triofox/OneLogin integration

CASE STUDY #2

Single Sign-on - Triofox/OneLogin integration

A leading sports tour organization produces and distributes videos about sports tournaments. They use Amazon S3 as a great data storage for its availability and durability. Originally, they used TntDrive to map a drive on Windows machines to Amazon S3 and used Adobe Creative Suite to edit the videos. After a while, however, they ran into problems because TntDrive is a client tool that provides direct access to Amazon S3 via a map drive, but does not provide Active Directory integration or file and folder level permissions like NTFS permissions. So you need a file server interface, which Triofox can provide. For example, the company uses OneLogin as a single sign-on solution, meaning that each employee logs into the OneLogin portal via a web browser. Within the web browser are application tiles representing Office 365, Sales Force, and other enterprise applications they can use. However, prior to the introduction of Triofox, an application tile for "Corporate File Server" was missing. With the Triofox/OneLogin integration, the "Corporate File Server" tile is displayed after employees log in to the OneLogin web portal and click through. They see their files and folders (with appropriate permission) and the files and folders are from Amazon S3. Also, employees log in to OneLogin on their desktops using SAML integration and then see a mapped drive representing their Amazon S3 bucket and can then use Adobe Creative Suite to edit files.

WHAT DO WE DO?

We offer a solution to these problems.

VPN ISSUES

Have you spent many hours troubleshooting VPN connections?

MOBILE NEEDS

Do you have employees who work from home and need mobile file access via a web browser?

DATA SPRAWL

Did you have two or more data stores to manage, but they were getting out of control?

IMPLEMENTATION

Have lengthy cloud migrations, additional user training, and compliance regulations held you back?

Amazon S3 lays a perfect foundation for a cloud file server service

Triofox and AWS File Gateway
in Comparison

Both Triofox and AWS S3 File Gateway provide a file server interface to the underlying Amazon S3 bucket. So what is the difference and when should you use one of the two solutions or use both together?

If you have more employees working from home or remote locations, Triofox is the better solution. If all employees work in a central office, AWS File Gateway is the better solution. If you have both employees who work in the office and those who work from home, you can use AWS File Gateway and Triofox in combination to meet both file access needs.

VPN-Less File Server Access

AWS File Gateway is an appliance that runs on a local network. If you want to access S3 through AWS File Gateway, you need direct access to the local network or through a VPN. In contrast, Triofox provides access via HTTPS RESTful API, allowing remote agents to access files from Windows and macOS machines, web browsers, and mobile apps over the Internet.

HTTP Streaming

AWS File Gateway provides S3 access via SMB or NFS protocols. In contrast, Triofox provides HTTPS RESTful API access with client agents implemented for Windows, macOS, web browsers, and mobile apps.

Single Sign-on

Both integrate with Active Directory. AWS File Gateway does not integrate with SAML single sign-on solutions such as OneLogin, Okta, Duo or Azure AD. Since Triofox is based on HTTPS RESTful, it integrates well with single sign-on solutions and works well in a web browser. Thus, after logging into OneLogin, you can access files and folders through a web browser, with file and folder permissions following Active Directory identity definitions.

Offline Editing & Caching

AWS File Gateway provides active direct access. In contrast, Triofox provides offline editing and asynchronous synchronization after. For example, if you have Triofox Windows Agent installed, you can edit a file in an isolated environment (such as on a cruise ship or airplane). After the device is reconnected to the Internet, the files edited offline are synchronized back to S3 with conflict detection.

Access Anywhere

Triofox has a Windows agent, macOS agent, web browser agent, and mobile apps. This allows a device anywhere on the Internet to connect to S3 for file access with local caching and other WAN optimizations. In contrast, devices using AWS File Gateway are limited to a local network or require a VPN to access the local network. VPN implementation also varies from Windows to macOS to mobile devices, and there is no VPN in the web browser file manager.
Take Your File Servers to Amazon S3
Take Your File Servers to Amazon S3

Are you taking your on-premise file servers to Amazon S3 or bringing Amazon S3 closer to your on-premise file servers? Triofox can help you create a hybrid cloud file server solution with a wide range of secure file sharing capabilities. You can use AWS as a file server without giving up your on-premises file server.

Triofox adds traditional file server capabilities to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). It also extends existing Windows file servers with cloud features such as secure remote access, mobile file sharing, and data protection to meet the security, privacy, compliance, and control needs of enterprises. Regardless of where your data resides, Triofox makes it easy for remote workers to access their data without the need for a virtual private network (VPN). By making Triofox available in the AWS Marketplace, billing and initial setup are greatly simplified for AWS customers who want to use Triofox to securely and easily access their existing Amazon S3 and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) data.

How Triofox adds a file server interface to S3

When it comes to working with files on a daily basis in an organization, most employees are familiar with a drive letter in their Windows Explorer. The reason for this is simple: the drive letter is not just a drive letter, but represents a specific business function. For example, my design work is on drive M: and my digital artwork is on drive N:. So it's important to maintain the interface between drive letters and files and folders, because that's what a normal user has used in the past.

Even before they see the drive letter, another important step is logging into a Windows workstation with their corporate identity stored in Active Directory, or these days, in a hybrid form associated with Azure Active Directory and their Office 365 credentials. The ability to log in and view files and folders through Active Directory is an important part of restoring the file server user interface, which is built on top of the underlying Amazon S3 storage service.

VPP-Less Drive Mapping

Triofox provides a drive letter interface to Amazon S3. Users can see their files and folders from a drive letter mounted in Windows Explorer or macOS Finder applications. 

Global File Locking

Triofox provides the ability to lock files to facilitate collaboration between multiple users on a set of files and folders. When a user is currently editing a file, the file is locked so that other users are not able to edit the same file at the same time to protect the integrity of the files. 

Active Directory & Single Sign-on

Triofox integrates with Active Directory and SAML single sign-on solutions such as OneLogin, Okta, Duo, or Azure AD. Since Triofox is based on HTTPS RESTful, it integrates well with single sign-on solutions and works well in a web browser. So, after logging into OneLogin, you can access files and folders through a web browser, with file and folder permissions following Active Directory identity definitions.

Permissions Control

Triofox adds folder permissions to protect Amazon S3 files. Permissions can be defined from scratch or imported from existing file servers. 

Access Anywhere, from any devices

Triofox has a Windows agent, macOS agent, web browser agent, and mobile apps. This allows a device anywhere on the Internet to connect to S3 for file access with local caching and other WAN optimizations.

Increase the productivity of your mobile workforce with Amazon S3!

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