Turn those icons off!
If you are using project spaces and home folders on the research storage (part of the HBS compute grid), it is likely that you will need to access these while not on the HBS campus. If you are mapping drives or mounting shared folders, the default settings in both Windows and Mac OS may be working against you, as the OS will try to present the files to you with an icon of the contents. This takes much more time to display in Finder or Explorer windows that simple generic file icons, especially over the VPN. On Windows OS, show your "Folder Options", and ensure the option "Always show icons, never thumbnails" is checked. On Mac OS, with the folder open, select "View" > "Show View Options" from the menu bar, and turn off the checkbox for "Show icon preview."