Business is becoming increasingly virtual with each passing year. Currently, around 62% of the workforce work remotely at least some of the time. That means that roughly 6 out of 10 employees are working at separate places and at different times. 44% of employees work remotely full-time. This means that almost half of the workforce will never meet face-to-face, which brings its own logistical issues to conquer.
If you’re new to the concept, we’re going to answer the question “What is a network drive?” We’ll show you how this setup can benefit your office, even if you are working in the same physical space. Businesses require rugged, versatile solutions to digital collaboration and productivity. That’s where network drives come in.
What Is A Network Drive?
Keeping track of all of the industry buzzwords is a full-time job in and of itself. That’s especially true in a realm like IT, which is always changing so rapidly. The answer to “What is a network drive,” isn’t as immediately obvious as it might appear at first glance. That’s because this network configuration is similar to other file-sharing solutions but with some key differences.
A network drive is a shared drive that exists on the same network or server as the machines accessing it. That’s one of the key differences that separate network drives from other remote collaboration setups like cloud computing. Network drives are accessed similarly to a local hard drive. Files and data are simply returned over the local area network (LAN).
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A network drive is accessible by entering the network path instead of the hard drive routing. For example, on a PC, you’d enter something like ‘\\server\remote file’ instead of the usual ‘c:\\’ file path. Certain network drives can also be mapped drives. A mapped drive is a network drive that’s given a drive letter. It operates identically to a local hard drive, but everybody on the local network can use it.
The Benefits Of A Network Drive
Businesses are creating and consuming more data than ever before. With that in mind, it’s not realistic or practical to privatize data. Relying entirely on local drives exponentially increases the likelihood of duplicate files, for example. At the very least, this runs the risk of paying for unnecessary hard drive storage space. It also makes it harder to standardize data across the enterprise.
Having all of your company’s data on local hard drives restricts its accessibility and usefulness, as well. This creates data silos that prevent the implementation of rich data. Considering how important that rich data is for predictive analytics or personalized recommendations, this is a risk that we simply can’t afford to take.
Having a network drive on your server ensures that all of your employees have access to all of the necessary data. It also ensures that data conforms to a universal specification. This can save countless headaches down the road, as you won’t run into file formatting or permission issues.
Network drives also greatly reduce the likelihood of duplicate or unnecessary work. You can have all employees working on a project contributing to the same project directory. This means you won’t accidentally assign the same project twice, which essentially doubles your company’s productivity.
Using a network drive also fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration between you and your team. Having everyone contributing to one central knowledge base gives everyone a feeling of working towards a common goal. It also helps to remove competition and a lack of cooperation between different departments.
How To Setup A Network Drive
Now that you know a bit more about what a network drive is and how it can benefit your business, we’re going to show you how to setup a shared drive on your server. We’ll be demonstrating with PC, but the concepts can easily be applied to OS X as well.
You’re going to start off by making sure your computer can detect other computers on the network. On a computer connected to the local network, open the Control Panel. Then navigate to the Network and Sharing Center.
In the Network and Sharing Center, select ‘Change Advanced Sharing Settings.’ Check the box for ‘Turn On Network Discovery.’ Check the box for ‘Turn on File and Printer Sharing’ as well.
Once you’ve done that, select ‘Save Settings’ at the bottom of the page.
Now you’re going to navigate to the File Explorer window. Select the ‘This PC’ icon and double click to access the file storage.
At the top of this page, you’ll see an option that reads ‘Map Network Drive.’ Select the option with a flash drive icon. This will bring you to a pulldown menu where you can select the drive letter you want to assign.
Beneath that, you’ll be able to select the folder you want to map to the hard drive letter you’ve selected. If the folder you’re sharing is on another system, simply double-click the network drive folder below the “Devices and Drives” heading.
That’s all there is to it! As you can see, it’s not that hard to set up a network drive on your own network, even if you’re not that technically savvy.
Source: Hit Consultant