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How can I access my data remotely?

If you are like most people, you probably use a variety of methods to access files remotely (e.g. USB memory stick, laptop, e-mailing files to yourself, etc). This mixed method of data transfer and access is convenient in the short term, but can be chaotic (or even dangerous) in the longer term because it:

  • can make it difficult to tell which version of the file/database/etc. is which
  • makes it easier to lose or over-write your files
  • makes it easier to accidentally share your confidential files.

You can avoid these pitfalls by (a) using a single technology/method of remote access, or (b) deciding on clear rules up front for managing your remote access technologies.


Departmental or college Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you store files on a network provided by your department, college, or research group, it is worth finding out whether you can log in remotely using a VPN. Ask your local computing officer or consult the University Information Service infosheet, "Accessing the University Network".

These accounts can be a challenge to set up initially, but are extremely useful. A VPN will usually allow you to: 

  • access files securely
  • save new files/versions
  • remotely access any folder you can access on-site.

Also check: Does your department/college have a 'remote desktop' capability? This often gives you remote access to software on the network in addition to files.