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If all involved machines are linux based you can use ssh for remote shell access, ftp as you are using or even nfs. The advantage of nfs is that it's transparent in the sense that you use it just like any other mounted volume, however nfs is not too solid and I really don't advice it where data integrity matters. It has many issues.
If you want ssh, look into sshfs, which lets you mount a remote share via ssh. This is the best solution for me. Just setup a key pair so you can login without password and the mount your remote shell account using sshfs. There are other options. For example, konqueror and mc can access remote ssh shares directly, and manage them like if they were local directories, copy to/from them, etc. They can also do the same with ftp.
If you want linux/win conectivity, then the best option is samba, though you can use ssh as well or ftp, there are good clients like WinSCP that can be used to transfer things to/from the server, and I think that nfs is also usable in windows.
As chrism01 points out - 'scp'. (rcp is deprecated - serious security problems)
Once upon a time 'rcp' was the tool frequently used to transfer files between two machines. 'scp' is safer - as far as the user is concerned, they're mostly the same. Inside they're quite different - scp uses encrypted communications so no one can see your password in the clear over the net. rcp can use a certain file listing trusted hosts so that it can accept files without requiring a password - in scp you do the same by setting up trusted keys.
On Linux the Konqueror filemanager/browser allows to open an SSH, FTP etc connection to a remote site, providing a graphical interface for browsing and copying files and directories.
These connections can be saved, so you can re-open them with a single mouse-click. Passwords can be stored as well, so it has to be entered only once, unless you avoid this due to security.