An Introduction to Network Attached Storage for Small Business
Learn how network attached storage is a fast and easy way to centralize, share, and protect data. (2:01 min)
Get the Flash Player
File storage systems that provide automated, secure backup and additional storage capacity can play an essential role in your business's success. The best file storage systems seamlessly help protect valuable data, make it easy for employees to share files, and require minimal maintenance.
You have three main options for file storage systems: external hard drives, online backup/storage, and network attached storage (NAS). Here is a quick look at all three options.
External Hard Drives
In some businesses, an external hard drive may be attached to each computer. The drives serve as backups to a computer's internal hard drive file storage.
External drives may also provide additional file storage for video, high-resolution images, and other large data files. These hard drives are generally inexpensive and simple to install. However, files stored on them are not easily accessible to others in an organization. Moreover, most external hard drives don't offer automated, redundant backup to other drives. If a big file is stored on an external drive, and the drive crashes, the data is lost forever.
Online Backup and File Storage
Some businesses backup their files to an online backup and file storage service. These services are often inexpensive and easy to use. But backups — especially initial backups — can be extremely slow. If a computer's internal hard drive crashes, a business has to wait for the online backup service to send hundreds of lost files on DVD.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Network attached storage (NAS) is the ideal system for backing up, sharing and archiving files and getting additional storage space.
A NAS appliance typically includes multiple hard drives and is connected to your network. NAS appliances deliver many important benefits, as they:
- Offer a significant amount of additional storage capacity that is easily accessible to anyone within your organization, at high speeds.
- Provide a central place for shared files.
- Offer various levels of security, thereby restricting sensitive data (such as employee records) to those with permission to access it.
- Can help ensure that your organization meets government regulations regarding data security, such as HIPAA, PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley, and GBL.
- Can store multiple computer backups in one virtual data vault. Your files are backed up as soon as they are updated or created. This streamlines backup management while helping to ensure that you do not lose valuable information.
- Include multiple, redundant hard drives for backup and storage. If one drive fails, the data is available on another.
NAS File Storage Solutions from Cisco
Cisco offers a variety of affordable, secure, reliable file storage systems. Find out about the Cisco Small Business portfolio of network storage solutions.
Cisco Small Business Continuous Data Protection can be combined with Cisco network storage systems. Continuous Data Protection constantly makes synchronized copies of updated files and works unobtrusively in the background. Learn more about Cisco Continuous Data Protection.