Navigating the Remote File Server Access Maze in Slow Network Environments: Insights from a Recent MSP Roundtable

Extended Preamble: The New Geography of Remote Work, Cloud Imperatives, and the Search for New Revenue Streams

In a recent roundtable discussion relocated to picturesque Colorado, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) convened to address a challenging terrain not just geographically but also technologically. This was more than a meeting; it was a summit at the intersection of urgent needs and innovative solutions.

In places like Steamboat Springs, where fiber is still creeping its way through the community, bandwidth isn't just an issue; it's a chokepoint. The traditional asymmetry in networks—like a 600 Mbps download and a mere 35 Mbps upload—no longer suits our transformed work landscape. In the world of remote work, what used to be a ‘download’ at the office becomes an ‘upload’ at home. This mismatch is driving MSPs to speed up their cloud migration processes to better serve their clients. But this isn't a straightforward path, as it involves addressing first-level pains, namely how to provide seamless, efficient, and secure remote access to unstructured data in the back office, especially in a slow network environment.

Joining this critical conversation was Fred, who brought an experienced voice to the mix. His emphasis on extending on-premises efficiencies to the cloud crystallizes an emerging view that cloud adoption is no longer a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘how.’ This urgency to adapt leads to a potential sweet spot for MSPs—finding new recurring revenue streams while optimizing client services.


During this enlightening discussion with several Managed Service Providers (MSPs)—including Fred, Mike, and Dave —the complexity of providing effective solutions in today's hybrid work environment came into sharp focus. From SharePoint intricacies to the limitations of VPNs, MSPs are in desperate need of a solution that works efficiently, particularly in environments where high-speed internet is still a dream rather than a reality.

The SharePoint Conundrum in Slow Networks

"SharePoint is just too quirky for my taste," remarks Fred. When you throw in a slow network, SharePoint's labor-intensive setup for permissions can become excruciatingly painful, particularly when integrating it with existing NTFS permissions. The overhead required is simply not practical in an environment where bandwidth is at a premium.

The Dropbox Disconnect

"HIPAA compliance on Dropbox? Don't even get me started," adds Mike. As Fred noted, the platform might be fine for personal use but becomes a compliance nightmare for industries like healthcare. In slow network conditions, the platform’s shortcomings are magnified.

The VPN Quagmire and Its Growing Burden

Both Dave and Fred concur that VPNs, particularly in low bandwidth conditions, are becoming the source of more service calls than ever. The situation has only worsened during the pandemic as the need for remote access to file servers has surged.

Architectural Challenges: Huge File Sets and High Costs

Fred emphasized that for sectors like architectural firms that deal with substantial file sizes, traditional cloud storage services can become prohibitively expensive and slow. Egress costs and long save times for large files can become challenging.

New Revenue Streams: The MSP Perspective

Fred's insights are not just an identification of problems; they also hint at a broader vision for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Fred suggests, "If we can extend what we know works well and what we do well for our organizations into the cloud, maintain smaller DCs and file servers on-prem for these larger medical offices or architectural firms, and then push a bulk of file storage to cloud platforms like Wasabi—that would be an amazing sweet spot for a lot of the companies that we work for."

This approach could translate into new recurring revenue streams for MSPs, solving one of the perennial challenges MSPs face in offering cloud services.

CentreStack as the Ideal Hybrid Solution

As Fred and other MSPs envision, a solution that involves keeping some smaller domain controllers and file servers on-premises while pushing bulk storage to the cloud can offer the best of both worlds. This is precisely where CentreStack comes in, meeting the MSPs' collective wishlist for slow network environments:

  • Seamless NTFS Integration: Continue leveraging existing NTFS permissions without complications.
  • Compliance: Designed for clients who prioritize HIPAA and other regulatory standards.
  • VPN-Free: Say goodbye to VPN-related issues, a lifesaver in bandwidth-challenged scenarios.
  • Transparent Pricing: Predictable costs without hidden fees.
  • Robust Performance: Offers high-speed caching options tailored for handling large files in slow network conditions.
  • Multi-Tenancy: A unified dashboard for efficient client management.

The Customizability Factor

CentreStack offers the capability to customize solutions depending on the industry, be it a healthcare firm needing HIPAA compliance or an architectural firm dealing with massive file sizes. This customization is crucial in a slow network environment where one-size-fits-all solutions often fail.

Conclusion: Finding the Missing Piece in the Cloud Puzzle

The recent roundtable discussion in Colorado served as a stark reminder of the real-world challenges MSPs face. Interestingly, none of the MSPs in the room are current CentreStack customers. Yet, their collective wishlist—particularly the first-level pain points that Fred highlighted—aligns perfectly with CentreStack's offerings. It seems like CentreStack could be the missing piece in solving the cloud puzzle for MSPs operating in rural or slow network areas.

In a world that's rapidly pushing for cloud adoption, the question isn't about whether to move to the cloud; it's about how to do it efficiently and effectively, especially when your clients are running on slow networks. With CentreStack, the answer to that question becomes remarkably straightforward.

Learn more about CentreStack's solution.


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