For a small business / SOHO there may be relatively few documents and files to store, but the available budget and the technical expertise is limited. In such cases, why not consider a NAS (Network Attached Storage) Box instead of External Hard-disk Drive for storage / back-up? An entry level NAS box might give many features and functionalities that may be very useful for SOHO / small business users and the price difference between an external hard disk & entry level NAS box is not very much.
But first let us consider the advantages of External Hard Disk/Drive:
1. Low cost.
2. Portable – Can be carried anywhere.
3. Sufficient storage capacity – 320 GB to 1.5 TB in popular models.
4. Automatic backup software.
5. Encryption software.
6. Connects to any Computer/Laptop using the USB port/ eSATA port.
7. Available anywhere and simple to use.
Now, let us look at the advantages of NAS box:
1. Connects to the Network directly using RJ-45 Ports.
2. Multiple users can simultaneously connect to, store & share files using the NAS box.
3. Cost is almost equivalent / slightly higher than an external Hard-disk Drive of similar capacity.
4. Automatic back-up/ encryption.
5. The contents of the NAS box can be remotely accessed (If it supports DDNS) from anywhere over the Internet.
6. Media stored in the NAS box (audio/video) can be streamed within a small network, without users having to download files every time.
7. NAS box enables companies to create common storage and backup mechanism so that the data need not be duplicated in all the individual users PC/ Laptop.
8. Some NAS Boxes support multiple disk-drives to be mounted on the same box for additional storage capacity.
9. Some NAS Boxes support RAID with multiple disk-drives to ensure that the data is available even if one of the disk-drive fails (Redundancy).
10. Some NAS Boxes support Bare Metal Recovery (Restoring the state of the NAS box to how it was, on a certain date/time).
11. NAS a higher storage capacity – 1 TB/ 2 TB/ 3 TB/ 6 TB, etc.
12. Independent device – Can be Always ON and not dependent on a particular user’s laptop. Anyone connected to the network can access it anytime.
13. Even if you just have a Wi-Fi network, you can connect the NAS box to one of the Wired ports of the broadband router and it becomes accessible to everyone over the Wi-Fi Network.
So, if you are buying a storage/ backup device for your SOHO/ SMB or even your home, why not consider a NAS box?
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