Network Attached Storage (or NAS) is exactly what it sounds like. It is data storage space attached to your local network. Think of network attached storage as a combination of an external harddrive and a cloud storage server (like Google Drive, AWS, other cloud platforms that you may be familiar with).
However, unlike an external drive, network attached storage can be used by everyone connected to your local network. At home, this means all of your computers, mobile devices, smart TVs, etc. In the office, this means by the workstations of everyone on your team. And, unlike cloud storage, the data storage on your NAS is only available on your local network.
What Are The Benefits Of Network Attached Storage?
There are a bunch of benefits of network attached storage. Think of your NAS as your own personal cloud service, but instead of your data out in the ether, it is safe and secure on your own hardware and network.
1. More Storage Space
If you are like me, you can always have more storage space for your data, for your documents, your images, your videos, etc. Instead of using external harddrives which you would need to move and plug in to another machine if you change computers throughout the day, or from day to day, or if you take your work home with you like so many of us do. You can simply store your files on your NAS and then work on them to any device that you connect to that network storage.
2. Flawless Collaboration
If you have files that are worked on by multiple team members every day, you know the frustration of having to have one person save it, then send the new version to the next person who needs it, and then that person has to repeat the process…this kind of insanity wastes hours and hours and hours over the course of a work year. A network attached storage solves this problem by giving the members of your team access to the files that they need when they need it, and as long as they work off the file on the NAS, the updates will automatically be available for the next user.
3. Remote Access
If you, or your team take work home, there are logistic and security concerns that need to be addressed. Nothing is more of a PITA than making sure to copy all (hopefully) that you need to work on that night. And then, you have to make sure to bring them back the next day. And, heaven forbid if you forget to update the office copy of the file with the new one that had worked on the night before. By allowing protected remote access when work needs to be done out of the office, you can easily accomplish the work and still maintain the integrity of the data and ensure that updates / changes are not lost and time (money) is not wasted.
4. Automatic Backups
Aside from working on shared files directly off of your network attached storage, most will include software that will allow you (and the rest of your team) to backup the important files on their computers to corresponding directories on the NAS device automatically (either at the end of the day, throughout the day, or at the end of the week). On top of that, most NAS devices will include software to automatically backup your network storage to cloud service of your choice to add a layer of redundancy to your data security.
What Can I Do With A NAS Drive?
There are many different things that you can do with network attached storage. And, some NAS devices come with some rather impressive software that actually allows you do more than you would imagine.
Some of the most popular uses for network attached storage includes:
- File storage, backup, and collaboration
- Protected document access restrictions
- Remote access to work documents / data / files
- Meda (audio / video) streaming
- Team communications / shared calendars / notes
To be honest, the uses of a NAS are as varied as the people who choose to use them. If you have a question about a specific task you would like to use a NAS for, please feel free to contact XOrca and we will help you find a model that might meet those needs.
Can You Access Network Attached Storage From Anywhere?
The simple answer is yes…but only if you want to be able to…and only people who you want to be able to. Most network attached storage devices allow you to turn on / off remote access and control which users are allowed to access / change files remotely. This combination makes your NAS both secure, and extremely helpful in data security and file management for you and your team.
How Do I Set Up Network Attached Storage?
If you are technical minded, setting up a network attached storage by yourself is not an overly difficult thing to do. However, to ensure the best results, we recommend that you speak with a professional to assist with the installation of the physical drives, the setting up of users / permissions / remote access, and ensuring that backup functionality is setup properly.