There are many reasons why having large amounts of extra storage space available on your network can be beneficial. The extra storage space can be used for archiving old data, backing-up computers, storing large data files such as pictures, videos, CAD files, or as a location for organizations that are going paperless to store their electronic documents. No matter what the reason, having a low-cost, yet highly expandable storage device can be very beneficial.
One of the best and most inexpensive ways of gaining a large amount of storage on your network is to install a network attached storage device, also known as a NAS. A NAS device is essentially a collection of large capacity hard drives that are connected to the network. The data on the device can be accessed in the same way data on a file server is accessed and, in most cases, anyone accessing the device would not know the difference between the NAS and the company file server.
There are a variety of NAS devices available with varying feature sets that can be chosen based on the device’s intended use. Many provide high levels of expandability and support the adding of additional storage to meet the needs of the organization. Another feature set that many NAS devices offer is data redundancy. The devices will protect the data stored on them, using various methods, so data is not lost in the event a hard drive in the device fails. The devices can be attached to the network directly for multiple users to access or they can be connected to a single computer on the network as additional local storage, similar to that of attaching a USB hard drive or flash drive to your computer.
Because of the low cost of hard drives and the relatively low cost of a NAS device compared to the cost of a new file server, network attached storage is being used more and more to keep up with the growing storage needs of businesses.
Ryan’s articles can also be seen in Berkshire Business News, published monthly by the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.