What Is a NAS?
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a purpose-built storage device containing multiple drives that can be used for a variety of file storage and sharing solutions. It connects to a home or office network and allows users to access files from any device without plugging into the drive. It offers secure backup capabilities, simple collaboration, and centralized data storage; it is a scalable solution for a variety of businesses and budgets.
A NAS server sits on-site with you at your business and is accessible via Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. Because it’s a local solution for storage, it’s faster to access than cloud storage. But, because it’s connected to your network, you can store files on it and reach them from anywhere.
Think of it like a private cloud; as easy to access as the cloud, but with all the security characteristics of an on-site device.
Do you find your business has increasing data needs from business-critical systems? Are you looking to get all of your data in one location, have it backed up, and make it accessible from anywhere? If you have more data storage needs than a simple hard-drive backup, but do not yet need or have the budget for enterprise-level solutions, a NAS solution may be the ideal fit.
Your Data Is Valuable
If you feel your small to medium-sized business data is at risk, you are not alone. The time to act is now. The risks to small and medium sized business are real.
Cybersecurity attacks are increasing. 43% of cybersecurity attacks are targeted at small businesses. Only 14 % of small businesses are prepared to fend off such an attack.1 Most small businesses recognize the need to avoid cybersecurity attacks but feel that either the cost is above their budget or the complexity of a solution is above their technical level.
Increased data complexity for SMBs. A growing decentralized workforce combined with rapidly evolving data requirements from business applications has increased complexity for SMBs across all markets. Evolving regulations across a variety of industries, especially healthcare and retail, make securing customer data an imperative. Data intensive workloads from emerging technologies are pushing businesses to protect their critical data.
The cloud may not be sufficient backup. A robust data storage plan needs to include redundancy, and NAS can provide that capability or can be paired in a hybrid cloud solution.
Business Imperatives for SMBs
For small and mid-size businesses, there are key issues to consider regarding data management: scalability, compliance, access, recoverability, and security features.
Scalability – The right technology choices give SMBs the flexibility to scale their capabilities at a cost they can afford.
Compliance – Data management systems must comply with regulations to safeguard customer’s privacy and personal data.
Access – Quick and reliable access to centralized data and files drive productivity and collaboration.
Recoverability – Backup and recovery are essential to ensure business continuity and viability if data loss occurs from natural disasters, hardware faults, human error, viruses, ransomware, and more.
Security – Mounting cyberattacks come in many forms to threaten the security of critical SMB data.
Benefits of NAS
The biggest benefit of a NAS solution is that it typically hits a “sweet spot” for SMBs as a right-sized solution with the right features. NAS solutions are more robust than a singular hard drive, are less intimidating than an enterprise scale networked solution, and offer affordable options for varying business sizes.
Insurance Against Data Loss
Secure storage solutions can offer insurance against loss of data. Devices can be lost, damaged, or suffer failures which can lead to downtime. With increasing cyber-attacks, it’s more important now than ever to help secure your data. If you need to guard against interruption of access to your critical business files, then your business is ready for a scalable storage solution like NAS.
“Right Size” Solution
NAS solutions grow with your business. Understanding how much growth you anticipate will allow you to purchase a NAS solution with expansion capabilities. When your data needs increase, it’s easy to boost your total capacity and scale to your storage needs.
Best of Both Worlds
NAS solutions can help to offset gaps in cloud-based storage by providing an on-premises storage option. For businesses who like the simplicity of cloud-based storage, a hybrid solution of NAS plus cloud storage covers businesses who might experience cloud-access downtime and provides a more secure solution for your most vulnerable data.
Capabilities and Features of NAS
NAS solutions are designed to fit a variety of storage and networking needs. Many small businesses employ them for the following:
Video Surveillance – Storage of a variety of video feeds all in one location. Easy, in-network playback on any networked device. Compression and multiple camera options.
Multimedia Hub – Large capacity for media storage all within network. Making file upload and download fast and easy. Remote sharing and offline file-syncing.
Business Solutions – Easy collaboration opportunities and increased productivity.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure – Virtualized desktop environments accessible to anyone in the business.
Backup and Recovery – Straightforward data recovery for any device and any operating system.
Security - Encryption and cybersecurity protection.
What should you consider in order to select the NAS solution that best fits your business needs? Here are basic considerations to review before you shop:
Storage Scalability – What is your current need for storage? What will you need 3-5 years from now?
Performance – How many devices will be accessing the network simultaneously? What file size are you typically working with?
Security – What level of security do you need? Do you work with sensitive customer data? Are there regulations on how you must handle specific types of data?
Availability & Recovery – Do you have an incident response plan? Do you need automated data backup? How will you handle disaster recovery?
Industry Compliance – Do you know the industry compliance regulations that pertain to your business?
Feature Expandability – Can the solution you pick cater to the software needs your employees have? Can it grow to meet future needs?
Level of Complexity – Who is setting up your system? Who will manage it? Who will maintain it?
Budget – Is your company growing? Are you using managed IT services?
A solution partner can help you to assess each variable and create a tailored solution. Intel recommends the follow technologies as best of breed and these solutions providers as a place to start.
NAS allows small and medium sized businesses to get all their data in one location, secure, and accessible from anywhere.