Remote Access Options

In an effort to be good global citizens, we here at FileCenter will be working from home for the next few weeks. Many of you are either doing the same or thinking about it. Some may be unsure how to pull it off.

One of the biggest challenges with working remotely is access to office data and software. At the same time, we live in a day and age where this kind of remote access is easier to achieve than ever before.

In this issue, we’ll run through a few ways to provide remote access.

Option 1: Remote Control

The first method may be the easiest, especially if you’re only dealing with a few staff members: remote control.

Remote control software lets you control your office computer from any other computer. The computer you’re sitting at “drives” your office computer just like a remote control device. Your screen becomes the office computer’s screen. Your keyboard the office computer’s keyboard, your mouse the other mouse. It will feel just like sitting at your office computer, except that you’re actually miles away.

Benefit: If you have specialized software that’s only on your office computer, this is the solution for you.

Drawback: If your Internet connection’s slow, you may see some slight lag.

How to do it: Sign up for a service like LogMeIn’s GoToMyPC. Do a search for Remote Desktop Software for other options.

Every service will have you install a little utility on your office computer. It’s lightweight and invisible. It may have you install another one on the computer you’ll be using to access the office computer. Connecting is as easy as typing in a username and password. Most services also let you use a web browser for anywhere access.

Option 2: Cloud Drives

If you only need access to your FileCenter cabinets on the office computer, cloud drives are an easy option. You probably already have one on your computer, though you may not be using it. The big players in this arena are Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and DropBox.

Cloud drives “mirror” files between computers (and keep them on the Cloud too). Most of them put a special folder in Windows. Anything you put into this folder automatically gets saved to the Cloud as well. The real magic, though, happens when you connect a second computer to the same account. All of those files get copied to the second computer as well.

The net effect is that you’ll have two computers (office computer and home computer) that each share a copy of the same files. If a file changes on one computer, the change is immediately reflected onto the other computer. Whole teams can share the same set of files, getting updates in real-time.

Benefit: It’s easy to set up. Everyone’s dealing with a local file so there’s no slowness. Also, if you lose your Internet connection, you still have access to all of your files.

How to do it: Install whatever service you want to use on 1) the machine that currently houses the files, and 2) each of the machines that should share them.

There will be a special folder in Windows for your Cloud drive. Move all of your FileCenter cabinets into this folder. The files will get downloaded to the other machines automatically.

Finally, install FileCenter on the other computers and set up cabinets to display the files. We have a video that walks you through the process:

FileCenter Tutorial: Cloud Setup

The solutions above will fit the needs of most companies. But for those who want a more dedicated solution, there are three more options:

Option 3: VPN

You can link your home computers into the office network. This lets you connect to the network drives directly for file access and connect securely to your office computer for remote control access using Windows’ built-in Remote Desktop. In other words, it gives you the best of all worlds.

Benefits: Security and speed. You don’t need to rely on Cloud storage for file access. There’s no risk of file changes getting out of sync because everyone’s using the file server just as if they were in the office.

Drawbacks: If your Internet connection goes down, you lose all access. Security is also a drawback because home computers now have access to the internal network.

How to do it: There are many ways to install a VPN. It can get technical. There are, however, some services that simplify it like LogMeIn’s Hamachi. You install Hamachi on the office server and each remote computer. Hamachi then creates a secure network connection between them.

You can now map drives onto the server just like any office computer. Install FileCenter just like you would on any office computer. You’re good to go.

Option 4: SharePoint

This is a variation on the “Cloud drive” concept, except that it packs much, much, much more power. You can lock down user access to specific files and folders. You can have file “checkout”. You can keep a version history on files. Note that FileCenter 11 Pro Plus has a special SharePoint integration that taps into many of these features.

Benefits: With the SharePoint solution, you get an actual mapped drive on your computer, not just a synced folder. And everyone is working with the same set of live files, not mirrored copies. The files just happen to reside in the Cloud. It makes no difference whether you’re accessing the files from the office or at home.

Drawbacks: Complex setup. You’ll need IT help for this one. And if the Internet goes down, so does file access.

We won’t go into further details here because you’ll need experienced IT help to set this one up.

Option 5: Terminal Server

Think of a terminal server as the “remote control” solution on steroids. All office programs run on the server. All office users get remote control access to a “virtual desktop” on the server. It doesn’t matter whether they work in the office or at home — the experience will be the same.

Benefit: Users have access to their office “desktop” wherever they are. IT can manage everything on a single computer.

Drawbacks: If the Internet goes down, so does remote access. It’s also quite technical to set up. The setup will probably include setting up a VPN as well.

This isn’t a DIY solution. Get some good IT help for this one.


FileCenter Premier Partner

OREM, Utah, January 9, 2020 – FileCenter, Inc., a global leader in the document management industry, announced a new Premier Partner with Black Box Data Imaging Solutions.

Achieving FileCenter’s Premier Partner Status differentiates Black Box Data Imaging Solutions as a FileCenter Partner that demonstrates expertise and notable success in helping customers design, build and manage their documents effectively within the FileCenter Suite of Software Solutions.

“Ever since organizations began digitizing their documents, FileCenter has been expanding our ability to support those efforts by training our partners to assist these organizations,” said Kevin Anderson, Executive Vice President of FileCenter. “We are excited to be working with Black Box Data Imaging Solutions to better serve these organizations in the United Kingdom and within Europe.”

As a FileCenter Premier Partner, Black Box Data Imaging Solutions can extend to its customer more dedicated resources from FileCenter, allowing the company to furthur drive innovation to capturing and managing electronic records.

“Achieving the FileCenter Premier Partner status validates our breadth of expertise and offers new tools and resources to help our customers take advantage of the full spectrum of FileCenter services,” said Paul Syers, President and CEO at Black Box Data Imaging Solutions.


For over 25 years, Black Box Data Imaging Solutions has provided products and services to large multi-national companies, small businesses and private individuals. From scanning, document management software, document automation, hardware, archiving and digital searching capabilities, Black Box Data Imaging Solutions tailors its services to helping companies manage their document records. For more information, visit


FileCenter is a developer of breakthrough software solutions that make it easy for people to organize, file and safeguard their electronic and paper files. FileCenter’s suite of software solutions include: FileCenter DMS, FileCenter Receipts, FileCenter Automate and FileCenter Portal. For more information, visit


Kevin Anderson

Tagged with: , , ,

Protect Yourself from a Ransomware Attack in Four Easy Steps

Four Tips to Avoid Ransomware

Hackers finally became businessmen. Actually, they became more like mobsters, so let’s rephrase that: hackers finally realized that they could use their “special skills” and “special powers of persuasion” to make money. And they’re doing it in droves.

Read more ›


Raise Your Hand If Scanning Makes You Cringe

shutterstock_50749954You’ll Start Scanning … If It’s Easy Enough

Who’d blame you if you don’t scan everything? We all know scanning’s a chore. Scanners have been around forever, but most offices still don’t use them. Why? Well, for one thing, no-one thinks of a scanner as fast. Even now, you’re visualizing a bulb dragging slooowly across a sheet of paper.

But the real truth of the matter is, active professionals just don’t have time to waste with scanning and all of the complexities that come with it.

That’s why we have one goal and one goal only: to get you to consider scanning. You’ve dismissed it plenty of times before, but this time, it just might be easy enough … even for you. Read more ›

Tagged with: ,

Are NAS Drives a Good Idea?

NAS Drive

Small offices trying to avoid the complexity of a full file server often get enticed by NAS drives – Network Attached Storage. These little appliances promise the benefits of a full file server with plug-and-play simplicity: just plug the unit into your network, go through a quick, self-guided setup, and voilà, you now have network file sharing. Simple and cheap. Are there any drawbacks to this scenario?

What Exactly is a NAS Drive?

First, let’s get under the hood of a NAS drive to understand exactly what’s going on.

From the outside, a NAS looks like a robust disk drive. So it’s easy to think that a NAS drive is, in fact, simply a network disk drive that all of your machines share. In reality, though, that NAS drive is a full-fledged computer – a very compact, very specialized server in a tiny box.

But if you think about it, that makes sense. A drive has to be managed by a computer. And the networking has to be performed by a computer. And the handling of users and user permissions has to involve a computer.

What sort of computer is it? Typically, these NAS drives run some flavor of UNIX – often LINUX. UNIX is the operating system of choice because of its stability, its low hardware requirements, and its ability to be customized and fine-tuned to very specific tasks.

So Are There Any Drawbacks to NAS Drives?

There actually are three potential drawbacks to a NAS drive, one of them minor and the others quite significant.

Low-Grade Hardware

First, NAS drives often run on slow hardware. Like we said, UNIX can be optimized to run on very low-end hardware, and that’s often what you get. On your cheaper NAS drives, the hardware might not be any more powerful than you’d find on a low-end laptop computer. Of course, you can’t generalize all NAS drives this way, and some do run on fast hardware. But we will say that when users contact our Technical Support complaining that FileCenter’s running painfully slow, as often as not, they’re using a NAS drive.

No Search

The second drawback should give you more pause. Recall that the vast majority of NAS drives run some form of UNIX. Let’s actually flip that statement around: the vast majority of NAS drives don’t run Windows. Why does this matter? In many cases it doesn’t. But if you plan on being able to search your files, it does matter. An awful lot.

You see, FileCenter uses Windows Search as its search engine. Why? Because it’s an outstanding engine. Powerful, unobtrusive, and keeps its indexes constantly current. Not only that, searching network files and sharing network indexes is transparent and automatic … as long as the network files are on a Windows machine.

And there’s the drawback. You cannot search network files that don’t reside on a Windows machine. So if that matters to you, forget about a NAS drive.

No Support for Third-Party Programs and Services

Finally, because of the closed nature of the NAS drive’s operating system, you can’t install any software on it. When does that matter? Well, let’s take backup for example. You’re stuck using whatever backup utility comes on your NAS drive (unless you run the backups from another computer).

And how about a more current example – cloud storage. Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, SugarSync … these services have revolutionized your ability to access your files anytime you want from anywhere. That is, unless you use a NAS drive. You can’t install these services on a NAS drive. True, many NAS drives bundle their own cloud storage service. But your options at that point are limited to one single service that almost no-one else uses.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There is a great alternative. Buy a mid-range Windows desktop machine and make it your file server. It’s probably about the same price as a NAS drive, has hardware that’s at least as good, it will perform just as well, and it will still allow you to use search. It will also allow you other options that probably aren’t available on a NAS drive, like Cloud-based backup and storage services.

You see, we tend to get caught in the mindset that network file sharing requires a full-fledged server. But that’s simply not true, especially for small offices that have less than half a dozen users – the offices that are attracted to NAS drives. Any Windows machine is capable of working as a basic server. All you need to do is hire a college kid for an hour to set it up. Or, if you’re even slightly technical, find a tutorial on the web and set it up yourself. It’s not hard at all.


We understand the desire to keep things simple. But sometimes the “simple” solution restricts your options too much. That will often be true of NAS drives. Especially considering that other “simple” solutions exist which don’t restrict you at all.


A PaperPort Alternative, At Last


Mention PaperPort and you’ll hear a lot of opinions. Some users love it, some try hard to love it, and some have just given up. Years ago, PaperPort introduced the world to easy scanning and PDF manipulation. And for years, there’s been no competition.

FileCenter saw a need — a need for the best document management software for small businesses, a streamlined scanning, PDF, and file management system built specifically around the workflow of a professional office. And yes, a system that could fulfill the paperless office dream better than PaperPort. Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,

Client Portals: A Secure Alternative to Email

Protect cloud information data concept. Security and safety of cloud computing.

Most professionals that have been in business for the last 10+ years remember when sharing a file was a time consuming process. Sharing a file meant burning to a CD, floppy disk or even printing out the file and sending via snail mail or hand delivery.

As we watch the way our user base puts FileCenter to work, it’s no surprise to us to see how document-intensive many of your businesses are. But one thing in particular has piqued our interest: how often some of you exchange documents with your customers or clients, or even family members. We’ve seen accounting firms receive tax documents from their clients and give back completed returns, medical practices sharing lab results, and attorneys receiving old wills, trusts, or contracts and sending back newly-executed instruments. And watching all of this, we’ve noticed something: most of you use email to do it. Read more ›

Tagged with: , , ,

Cabinets: Using OneDrive or Dropbox

Combined FileCenter and Windows Folder View

One question that we field regularly goes like this: How can I store my files using OneDrive or Dropbox? Is it even possible?

The short answer is, yes, it is possible to store your files using OneDrive or Dropbox.

Understanding Cabinet Structures

It’s important to understand how we manage your files. With FileCenter, we can turn any Windows folder into a Cabinet. Think of cabinets as an improvement on Windows Explorer. They show Windows Folder Structure Viewregular Windows directories, just like Explorer does, but they improve the presentation and enforce a more uniform structure. Your files will be organized in a Cabinet/Drawer/Folder design, similar to a physical file cabinet that stores paper.

Most cloud services put a special folder on your computer for your cloud files. Anything you put in this folder (folders and files) will be synchronized to the cloud. FileCenter is completely compatible with these services. Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,

Affiliate Program with FileCenter Paperless Solutions

If there is anything that is constant, it is change in technology. Your customer’s depend on you to provide them with the proper solutions to benefit their business. By offering the FileCenter Paperless products and services through a network of business professionals and qualified technology consultants we are fully committed to providing leading solutions to help consumers and businesses become more efficient and effective.

How Does It Work?

Earn Commission
As an affiliate for FileCenter Paperless products, you earn with every qualifying sale your company refers. Commissions start at 20% and can go as high as 40% for each qualifying sale. Read more ›

Tagged with: ,

Expert Q & A: Organizing HR with Document Management Software

Records management is an important concern for every HR department. With so much paperwork – and so many related compliance obligations – it’s critical to have an effective, secure, and manageable way to keep track of and access critical information. Jeff Pickard, CEO of FileCenter DMS, shares some insights on using document management software (DMS) to streamline HR-related paperwork.


Mary White (MW): What are the main benefits of a DMS for HR departments?

Jeff Pickard (JP): Pickard states, “The benefits of document management software are all about accomplishing more by being better organized and able to find and save files. Everyone has to deal with the constant flow of computer and paper files. A good DMS will help make this part of your life easier.” Read more ›