Good education is all about good connections

Universities and colleges strive on diversity: multi-cultural students, multi-national tutors and lessons. But there is also a diversity in IT devices: computers and servers provided by universities and private mobile devices used by students. Although these devices can help to make studies and access to learning material easy the right connectivity is vital to support seamless working and share processes.

Universities and colleges benefit from mobile devices in a number of ways — from providing a cost-effective, sustainable way to access and share files, to increasing student engagement and enhancing the learning experience through increased collaboration. However, educational institutions must still be mindful of security concerns and regulatory requirements when allowing access to confidential student information on mobile devices. Furthermore, those institutions need to guarantee that all students and tutors can access, share and edit (or not) files and learning material regardless of the device they are using. And this is where it can get tricky.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a very popular concept on campuses around the world. Students rely on their laptops, smartphones and tablets more than ever when exchanging information, accessing learning material and communicating with fellow students. To have a neat user experience the institutions have to make sure that there will be no compatibility issues because of different devices with multiple operating systems, e.g. Mac users accessing information on Windows servers. When Mac users try to access Windows file servers and/or NAS devices, they typically suffer from poor performance, data integrity issues, slow searches, and many other disruptive problems. Acronis Files Connect solves these problems.

With Acronis Files Connect educational institutions can provide a seamless working and learning environment in which fast file shares, simultaneous searches across multiple shares and speedy access to information are a given no matter what device is used. Knowing that many students prefer Mac based gadgets universities and colleges need to be prepared and deploy an IT infrastructure that won’t allow any technical hiccups due to a chorus of multiple operating systems.

At its core, Acronis Files Connect is an AFP server that runs on your Windows server and enables Macs to connect to file shares and NAS via Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) instead of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. The solution also eliminates SMB protocol bugs, performance, and compatibility problems related to locked files and file naming issues, file corruption, permissions problems and non-functional Windows shortcuts. This provides a much faster file share mounting, folder browsing, and file opening. Having said that, SMB protocol still remains an option for IT to use and it can be enabled for individual shares if required.

Another essential feature is searching file shares without a problem. When working on an important essay or report and looking for relevant information students prefer to get the full picture. Therefore, the search needs to be swift and include all accessible resources. Normally, when Mac users connect over SMB to Windows or NAS file shares, they are limited to filename-only search that has to slowly crawl files shares, for each search issued. With Acronis Files Connect, Mac users can connect to file shares via AFP or SMB and perform nearly instant filename and full-content Spotlight searches using the new Mac client application or the default Finder. Students will not have to wait half an eternity to get to the information they urgently need and thus will feel less need to procrastinate or get less distracted.

To make a deployment simple Acronis Files Connect integrates with key enterprise infrastructure elements, including Active Directory, Distributed File System (DFS),

Home directories, Clustering, and File name policies.

You might be thinking “Not everyone uses Mac devices” and you are more than correct but with Acronis Files Connect universities and colleges got nothing to fear. The solution expands beyond Macs to provide fast, seamless file access to iOS, Android, and Windows phones and tablets. The Access mobile clients provide rich file browsing, full-content searching, file previewing and editing, as well as selective synchronization for working offline. The Research and analyst institution ESG explained in a solution brief how easy it is to connect Macs and mobile devices with Windows resources with Acronis Files Connect. So, the only headache students will get is to finish their homework on time and not how to get access to vital information.

The New Mac client application in short:

  • Three clicks to find and open a file you’re looking for – on any file share.
  • A single window to view all available file shares and network printers.
  • Bypass the process of having to mount file shares and file servers individually.
  • Use a new Mac menu bar tool or the Mac client application interface to perform nearly instant filename and full-content Spotlight searches.
  • IT decides if Macs connect via AFP or SMB – on a per file share basis.
  • Searches can target one, many, or all available file shares.


For more information, please contact your account representative at Academia, or via email at or telephone at 01992 703 900

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