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NAS Guide 2022: Why and How to Use Network Attached Storage?

If you have worked in IT for a long time, you have likely heard about network-attached storage. Even though you may have heard of it in general terms and know NAS storage meaning, it is also quite possible that you are unaware of the vast array of devices in the market and what these devices are actually doing. For those in need of more details, we take a closer look at NAS devices and their functions, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. It is with this knowledge that we can answer the question: “Why and how do you use NAS devices?”

What Is Network Attached Storage?

Network-attached storage is a type of computer that contains data storage systems and software, including the capability to create and manipulate files. A NAS system that is also a gateway device (networked backup drive) or a server can provide you a central location to store your files, as well as share files and printers from the NAS itself or other computers. This makes it easy for other users to use the same files and printers without being given permission. For this reason, it is quite popular in schools, colleges, and small and medium-sized companies. The network-attached storage market was valued at $21.55 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $62.77 billion by 2026.

Since NAS devices are usually connected to the network, the files created and used on the NAS will be available to any other computer with the correct software installed on it. If the files are to be accessed from another computer, it does not necessarily mean that both computers have to be connected to the same network. A computer can access the files on a NAS device from another machine on a different network even if the two computers are not connected to the same network. This is what makes NAS meaning computer so user-friendly.

NAS devices also come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and capacities. While a general NAS software free storage system has up to 30TB of space for files, the prices range from less than $100 to a few thousand dollars. There are NAS devices designed for file backup, sharing large volumes of data, as well as personal and business use.

The Benefits of Using NAS

Apart from being an inexpensive and reliable form of storage, NAS systems also have some significant advantages. Here are the key ones to be highlighted:

  • Ease of use – The files and folders that you create or modify on the NAS are normally accessible and retrievable from any other computer in the network. There is no need to have permissions to access the files on the NAS, and you can also make changes to them without having to gain permission from the administrator of the NAS;
  • Easy to installation – Some NAS devices can be installed and run in only a few minutes. Moreover, the NAS does not require any special skills to be used or installed, especially when compared to NAS drive vs HDD;
  • High compatibility – Most NAS devices come with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. Since these systems are all used around the world, most users can work on the NAS device with the files created and used on any of these computers;
  • Accessibility – With the help of a NAS device, the files on a network can be accessible, regardless of which computer you are working on or which computer is connected to the network;
  • Saving space – Since it does not require a local hard drive to store files, NAS devices have the capacity to store up to 30TB of data.

How to Use a Network Attached Storage Device

Before you start using a NAS device, you need to know the network attached storage definition, what you are using it for and what the best fit is for your needs. If you need a NAS device for home and small business use, you should have a basic understanding of how the utility functions. When choosing a NAS device, you need to understand how the device operates and whether it meets your needs.

How to Use a NAS Device for File Sharing

NAS devices have been designed to function as network-attached storage (NAS) system that offers users a central place for storing and sharing files. While the NAS is connected to a network, it allows users to use any compatible software to connect to the NAS device and store files on the NAS device. These files can be accessed by other devices on the network and are saved to the NAS device without the users needing to gain the permissions of the NAS administrator.

According to network attached storage drive reviews, one of the most basic ways to use a NAS device for file sharing is to use it to share one or more folders. When you share one or more folders on the NAS device, the files inside the folders become accessible to other users connected to the network. Once the files are saved on the NAS device, other users will be able to access the files through compatible software. For example, you can share a folder containing files from your Windows computer and make them available on a Mac, Linux, or other compatible operating systems. You will not have to go through the steps of copying and pasting the files from the NAS device to the other computer. 

How to Use a NAS Device for Home Backup

For file backup, the files on the NAS device will not be accessible to any other utilities connected to the network, and you will only have access to the files you allow. The backup files will also not be accessible from any other computer on the network. If there is an issue that results in the loss of files, you will not have to worry about the assets becoming inaccessible or lost.

So if your computer crashes or if it becomes inaccessible, you can still access NAS backup files and easily restore the assets. In case you need to access files on the NAS device from a remote computer, the solution can be connected to the Internet, and you will be able to easily upload files to cloud storage. 

How to Use a NAS Device for Business Backup

If you want to have a backup system that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, the NAS system will help you achieve that goal. Since the NAS device is connected to the network, it will be easy to backup and access files on it. This can be useful if you need to back up your files to a cloud server if the files are damaged, if you need to access files stored on your NAS device from a remote computer, or if you want to access files from a computer or other device that is not connected to the network.

If you need to be able to access and use the files on your NAS device regardless of what computer or device is connected to the network, the NAS device can be helpful. You can also use the NAS device to store files on it that will be easily accessible when needed. If you need to share and backup files between multiple network users and devices, NAS solutions will come in handy.