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What is network attached storage?

Perfect for both storing media and sensitive files.

Network attached storage box on desk
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Keeping your data backed up is necessary for our ever-connected lives. You could use a cloud provider, but do you really know your data is going to be safe? It seems that every week there’s a new report of cloud storage being left unsecured or a data breach that threatens your identity.

Enter Network Attached Storage (NAS). Basically, it’s the cloud – but inside your home instead of in a datacenter you have no control over.

What is Network Attached Storage?

Okay, at its simplest, a NAS system is just a box with some hard drives in it, that you connect to your internal network. Then you can store and retrieve data from any device on your network that has access, making it a central repository for all your precious files. Some fancier models even let you access them from outside your local network, essentially turning your home into your own cloud provider.

They usually come with at least two drive bays to put hard drives in and have varying support for RAID, which can provide data protections, additional speed, or just pool multiple drives into one large, virtual drive.

NAS use cases

NAS devices are great for small-to-medium business collaboration, video file storage, or any use case that needs a central storage solution that’s easy to administer. Basic ones act like a hard drive on your network, while more expensive ones can be used as email servers, automate backups of devices on your network, and even printing jobs.

Make sure to check out our upcoming guides on picking the NAS device for you and picking hard drives to suit.

What do you think? Is adding network-attached storage to your home something you are considering? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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