Today’s business generates a lot more data than in the past. For a small or medium-sized business storing this data, it can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. One way to store and manage all this data is by using Network attached storage (NAS). Today, we will define NAS and explain when it might be a good fit for your business.
It is exactly as the name suggests: a network-attached device that houses removable hard drives for easy data storage. Since the device is part of your network, data that is stored on a NAS-based hard drive will be accessible via the network, and typically can give you offsite access to the data. Your average NAS device is also configured to connect to a variety of cloud applications and storage options, providing your users quick and secure access to company data on nearly any device from anywhere that has an Internet connection.
NAS devices have become increasingly popular for home users and home offices. They are relatively inexpensive, and offer some scalability options to replace traditional external hard drives. For example, you might set up a NAS device to store all of your media, so you can access it from all of your different devices at home. We’re going to talk more about the business-related functions, but it’s important to understand that most consumer NAS devices fall short of what a business needs.
Choosing the right NAS device can be difficult. Consumer-grade devices typically don’t come with all the bells and whistles that are integrated into commercial-grade ones. Often, NAS devices are built with specific functionality in mind--some might be designed for capturing surveillance, while others are designed for storing and dishing out documents.
Businesses can use NAS devices for many different functions, but typically it is to store important information and to give people who work with that information, access to it. Therefore NAS devices that have strong networking features written into their OS are targeted by small businesses for their relative ease of use and their cost effectiveness.
Additionally, when it comes to NAS, size and scalability matter. Most models are defined by the number of hard drive bays they support, which is pretty straightforward. Then it’s up to you to stock it with hard drives.
Since most NAS devices come with several storage bays, this means getting one that can store multiple terabytes of data, and even store it redundantly within the device itself is possible.
Here are some other considerations you are going to want to make when choosing a NAS device:
NAS devices are great. As we mentioned earlier, the home and home office can find great utility in them, and businesses can too. However, there are a lot of cases where adding another device on your network is impractical, when you already have servers that could be doing the same job.
Most office networks should already have a centralized server that dishes out network policies, hosts line of business applications, and more. In fact, many businesses might have several servers performing different tasks. Storing files is a relatively low-resource task for a server. All you need is the hard drive space. A NAS device might be a good bandage for when your current servers are maxed out, and you aren’t quite ready to upgrade them. Otherwise, it’s suggested to use your existing server hardware to store and dish out files.
That said, a NAS device might be the perfect fit for very specific cases. They are great for storing a lot of data relatively safely and reliably. That works great for camera systems that are constantly recording. If you have a project that requires some users to have local access to a large amount of shared data, a NAS device might be the right option before deploying a full server for it. It really depends on the specific situation.
To find out which option is right for your needs, call the IT professionals at Washington Works today at 301-571-5040.