Remote File Access Solutions Help Required.


Active Member
Hi All,

I own a small business across 3 retails units with a head office and could do with some help with the best and simplest solution for shared file and folder access for all users and PC’s within and across these sites.

I currently have every PC login into the same Microsoft and OneDrive account which has served us well given its seamless integration with Windows but as I’m sure you are aware its not the quickest of services and frequent file conflicts occur and need constant attention.

I thought a central file server located at HQ with all remote clients accessing files from here would work but I am concerned that one of the sites is unable to be serviced by a fibre or cable connection and is stuck with a woeful 8 down + 1 up dsl connection that might prove problematic.

Ideally, I would like the following:

Each site has its own internal network structure but accessible by HQ remotely.

Each site’s users to have their own windows logins that determine what files / resources they have access to.

Users should be notified of files currently being accessed by other users so conflicts do not occur.

File access speed should not be limited by broadband speeds.

Files should have a revision history to allow users to ‘roll-back’ changes to a previous version if necessary.

Current total document storage is only 80GB

All PC’s are Windows 10 Pro

Currently the business / sites have no real network infrastructure other than phone line > modem / router > unmanaged switch > devices.

Retail sites have fairly large internal and external network traffic demands with Cloud based Epos systems and multi-channel IP cameras / NVRs.

Budget is whatever it costs to get the best solution for the job.

Solution needs to be scalable as more retail unit openings are likely over the coming years.

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance



Distinguished Member
Why not go with an Office 365 online solution for your business and give relevant employees access or have a retail account for each store?

No requirements to manage local hardware or cost of it etc.

You can also share updates between spreadsheets etc.

It's an ongoing monthly cost rather than potentially an expensive setup solution that you don't gain from.


Active Member
Hi Chuck,

Thanks for the quick reply.

I currently use Office 365 Home to install Word, Excel... on my PCs but haven't found a way of restricting folder and file access to users. Does the business version have this facility?



Distinguished Member
If you have a different user account (and they are non admin - admin could eventually access them) then they would only be able to see their "Documents" etc folder and\or their one drive regardless of whether its home or business. You can have shared spaces too.

If you have a network share then you can restrict user access to particular folders (and files) but if you are using a "shared" user then that's probably your limitation.


Distinguished Member
Office 365 Home is not licensed for business use, so you should look at upgrading to the legal versions in any case. If you get caught, you could be fined a significant amount.

Onedrive business will allow you to set up much more in the way of access restrictions. 8MB down / 1MB up is not an issue and you can also use online versions of the software to view and edit files - which makes things really quick! You will want individual or site based accounts - depending upon the restrictions you need. If everyone needs different access rights, then you will ideally want different accounts, but you could password protect different documents as open or read only.

To make things scaleable, you could look at different software to replace spreadsheets and MS Office documents. From the sound of it, you have started this for your EPOS and I assume other aspects of the business as well, but maybe a web based management system is required?


Active Member
Office 365 Home is not licensed for business use, so you should look at upgrading to the legal versions in any case. If you get caught, you could be fined a significant amount.

Thanks for the heads up, I didn't even consider that.

Moving back to OneDrive Business, does this support different Windows user logins being able to access files by permission on a single OneDrive account? I few Google hits looks like the answer is no as each login is linked to a seperate Microsoft account and therefore a different OneDrive account.

I really need each user to have their own login as I want to not only control what applications are installed and available to each user but to make sure emails are only visibleto the specified use. Currently I have Outlook configured with multiple accounts which isn't ideal.

Does Sharepoint solve this?


Distinguished Member
Not sure I am the right person to answer the question, but I am sure there are some real experts on here!

Certainly you can use the webmail add in for Exchange to give everyone an easy login for their email without having to replicate each of their mailboxes on the PC and Sharepoint can be configured on a user by user basis.


Distinguished Member
You share the files with the users you want to at a basic level but there are options available but MS have covered most of the scenarios that businesses want to do.


Well-known Member
Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials or Business Premium is probably a good solution.

You get:
Emails for each user - for your domain if you have one. E.G. [email protected]
Also unlimited shared mailboxes which are free “[email protected], [email protected] etc” and any number of licensed users can be given access to these shared mailboxes.
Office online apps for essentials and latest office suite to run on up to 5 devices for business premium. So each user can have Office 2016 on their pc, laptop, phone, tablet.
One Drive for Business for filesharing, locked down as required.

Do you have the time to setup and manage the ongoing task of managing user accounts, resetting passwords and changing permissions, locking out users when they leave the business?

I suspect maybe not and you might be best to look for a small business IT provider who can do all this for you for monthly set fees and ensure you get the best out of the features available.


Distinguished Member
I generally agree with you @MacrosTheBlack but would add you need to balance the support cost with the size of your org. If you a relatively small then you can reset\change etc passwords in the time taken to make a call\request for the 3rd party to do so. It's an extra step that might not be warranted. However if your nominated person (or you) is not available to do it then that's clearly an advantage for the 3rd party route.


Active Member
Thanks for all the help.

To add a little more info..

This is for a small indepandant restaurant group with a typical retail management structure. Each retail unit has an office that the General, Deputy, Assistant Manager plus the management level chefs will use. I want each user to be able to log into Windows and only be able to see their emails and have access to only the files and applcaitions that are appropraite for their login. HQ users should have unrestricted access to everthing.

A few of the users are proper luddites so user familiarity is key. Windows Shell integration and Office Suite applications.

The business doesn't have a provision for IT support or maintanence. The chances are I will be tasked with this unless its completely beyond me or too time consuming but happy to outsourse if necessary.

Thanks again


Distinguished Member
The Office 365 is going to fit the bill so to speak.

Also the users would be able to access email via their phones too potentially.

Get a couple of quotes from a (local) firm to give you an idea of whether it is worth your time or not to provision support.

Any other solution using onsite hardware is going to be more expensive potentially by the time you have licensed, bought hardware, configured, supported, backup etc.

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