Networked attached storage (NAS) is becoming more and more common in small businesses that still require an effective file server. There are a number of options currently available, and companies could opt for cloud solutions or even direct attached storage solutions. However, due to the dedicated storage functionality and specific data management tools inherent to most modern NAS appliances, as well as the comparatively smaller price, many startups are migrating toward network storage.
Understanding NAS Systems
Modern businesses need a reliable and effective solution to securely store data while still keeping it immediately accessible to those who need it. In the simplest terms, these systems are data storage appliances that are connected to multiple computers over a network. These systems are not directly attached to any one specific computer, but instead have their own IP and function independently.
The hardware for these systems is also relatively simple to understand, and the comparatively compact appliances have a small footprint and can stay out of the way. The most common models have multiple hard drives for redundant storage and added security, and companies do not have to start with each bay filled. Smaller companies can start with just a couple HDDs and then add more as the business grows.
These are intended to be plug and play systems, and generally must be plugged into an open port on a router. Keep in mind, though, that most of these solutions don’t recommend a wireless connection. When reliability and uptime are so important, it isn’t worth risking a slower and less-consistent connection.
Network attached storage allows companies to centralize storage solutions and provide simple management tools. As more startups begin using them, though, they are discovering many other uses. A business could, for example, use them to share printers, stream media, and connect them to surveillance systems that support IP cameras.
Multiple and swappable hard drives make this a more affordable option for new startups because it is easier to fit the device into the budget and let it expand as the company grows. Also, backups can be made on a specific hard drive and then swapped out and stored somewhere else for added security. Whether you are creating entire system backups or just working with a lot of sensitive customer data, these features can be very important.
Matching the System to the Company
Despite its plug-and-play capabilities, one size does not fit all when it comes to NAS systems. Startups generally have a very limited budget, and that means these purchases need to be made carefully to ensure that the company gets everything it needs without overspending. So when you are ready to implement your own storage solutions, consider the following elements:
Access – Who can see what and when? Centralizing your data storage offers a lot of convenience for the entire company, but that doesn’t mean you want the entire company to see everything stored there. Some models only offer basic controls, allowing the manager to mark some data as read only, while more advanced systems will have tools that allow companies to set specific permissions for different individuals.
Connectivity – How will staff members connect with the device? How many connections can it support at once? Will it allow remote access? An NAS system will usually have multiple Ethernet ports that can be used simultaneously (for redundancy in the connection and better uptime), and remote access makes it possible for employees in other locations to access the data they need.
Capacity – The flexibility in storage space means there’s no reason to over purchase NAS systems. While it may be recommended to get as much storage as the startup budget allows, there’s no reason to stretch those dollars too far. As long as there are multiple internal hard drive ports, you will be able to expand later, or even swap out smaller HDDs for larger models.
What type of storage system are you currently using in your organization? Would you consider making the switch to NAS? Let us know in the comments.
About The Author: Paul Mansour is enthusiastic about start-ups along with consumer and small business technology. Working within Dell.com, he needs to stay up-to-date on the latest products and solutions and best-in-class ecommerce strategies. In his spare time he can’t resist taking apart his latest gadget and forgetting how to put it back together.