How can I be a part of clients JIRA projects when I cannot have access to their JIRA server?

I am an independant contractor working with large corporate customers. I am trying to work with them and track task progress and make progress reports using Jira.

My problem is very similar to working offline, but because my computer does not have the correct domain setup I cannot access their server. I need a way to work offline where I can never sync with the server.

I found this topic on a similar subject, and Jira client looks promising, but I do not think it can help since I cannot directly sync with a Jira server. Unless, there is some way for them to export the project for me to modify and return to them?

I have my own instance of Jira server running, but as stated in the other thread the import function seems to be for migration not data ingestion.

At this point I may have to send them backups of a project on my server, they can import them to a duplicate project on their end. This is non ideal as my work cannot be associated to tasks in the real project. It will take effort for them to manually sync my tasks to keep their project current.

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VPN access seems the only answer.

I have to agree.

Synchronisation was a route worth exploring, but you still have to open up a route for it (unless there's one like "email" already there), and you'll be doing that with VPN anyway.

Technically, VPN is the best answer, as there's no duplication or working in separate places and gives you full access with very little configuration to do.  Financially, it's definitely a win, as the cost of "set up a VPN" is similar to the cost of "set up a communications route for sync", but with the sync, you also need to pay for add-ons, especially as you would need to pay for a lot of users who would not use it!

1 vote
Mikael Sandberg Community Champion Nov 15, 2017

There are a couple of apps that can sync issues between Jira instances that may work for you. One of them is Backbone Issue Sync, but if you search on synchronize on the marketplace you will find others too. 

Most of the add-ons will require a route to the server that is inside their firewalls.  If you're going to do that, you might find it easier to get them to set up a VPN so you can remotely connect in through their firewall and get direct access.

If you have to remain outside their networks, then Backbone could still help you - it can do a lot of synchronisation over email, without direct access to their Jira.

I really like the update by email option provided by backbone, but just like the other add-on solution proposed, this forces my large customer (really, a small group in a huge corp.) to buy an expensive license (because they are using the corporate Jira server with a massive license count) and install the add-in on their server (IT nightmare of galactic proportion apparently) just for interacting with me (a very small fish). 

Yes, that's a problem whatever you do.

By far the best answer here is to get them to give you VPN access through their firewalls.  Much as I like the add-ons that can synchronise, a VPN is a better answer.

I disagree :-)

One of the reasons that we started with Exalate is because we had the same problem.


We are an atlassian solution partner, servicing on premise atlassian stacks all over Belgium.  All our customers demanded to work on their JIRA for tracking work, and prioritizing our work over multiple systems was a real pain.

Synchronisation solutions remedy this problem.  We have now all customer issues on our own JIRA, using our own workflows.  Reporting and prioritizing can be done in our own context.

We don't have to copy information anymore or go and look in various location what the current work is.

The customer has also a better grip on SLA's as Exalate tracks when the sync happened. 


There is of course an investment to be done, creating such solution comes at a cost - but the benefits outweigh these.

My 5c


I'm sure Exalate works great, and the option to pay for the license from one end is nice, but unfortunately it will still be a major task to convince their IT dept. to install the client side software.

Also, for my scale of business the single side license is still 10x what I am willing to pay for such a product. I am but one man, and Exalate is asking for more than a month's profits, not worth it.

I'd chase up the VPN route - it's free, barring the network engineer's time to get it set up.

Yes, this is the path we're on.

It's more of a security qualification administrative hurdle to gain VPN access, so we're going that route. In the meantime, my customer has a login on my server to check the status of my work.

One of these other solutions is Exalate which allows for private / public network connections allowing you to synchronise data between the server of your customer  - which is behind a firewall and not reachable from the internet - and your JIRA (which should be accessible from the private one.


If you would like to get more details, don't hesitate to book a meeting on






That looks really promising, but the problem I see, is the requirement of purchasing a license for all servers involved. It is cheap for my scale Jira license, but this seems to cause my client to buy a multi-thousand dollar license to interact with me alone.

We do support a connection based model.  This is to support the case where a supplier wants to connect to all their customers.  

In this model, you still need to install the add-on on every instance and then purchase an exalate subscription.

Check the details on the subscription pricing



Is the issue that you cant access the server at all or that they don't want you to have visibility to any other data?  I had a similar issue with contractors and third party companies needing access and I was able to configure specific projects for this purpose.  it worked out nicely.  I gave one user per vendor to log into their projects and it allowed issues to be moved to internal projects if need be. 

I'm sure the IT dept. knows how to limit my exposure on the server. I'm sure they have done this to the other users in the group I am working with, since there are soooo many other projects going on within the company. It is more a problem of access.

1.  I currently do not have site access or VPN access to their network, so I cannot reach their server. Nor could I have a login, at this point, based on the security protocols. This is the path we are following to solve this, as it is just administrative form completion and approval, as opposed to:

2. Convincing the IT dept. to install anything on their server (all these app solutions do). Doing so is going to be even more difficult than gaining VPN access. They have +10k users and cannot suffer down time. We'd have to convince them of  all sorts of things before they would allow that.

I'm quietly hoping our queries into the group responsible for the server turn up that they already use one of these apps for handling other vendors. All I have to do is get a license for my end and set it up. but no guarantees.

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