What is Network Attached Storage (NAS)?

Instructor: Randall Panduren

Randy is an ITIL certified IT Manager and Technical Professional with more than 20 years' experience in Information Technology.

Reliable data storage is an important aspect of our increasingly technology-centric lifestyles and work environments. Learn what network attached storage is, why it is useful and how it can help overcome storage issues at home and in the workplace.

The Need For Network Attached Storage

With our ever-growing reliance on computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and the like comes an abundance of data files that need to be stored. Word processing documents, emails, photos, databases- the list goes on and on. At home, it is easy to end up with files scattered all over the place- some on your computer drive, others on a flash drive, photos on a SD card, etc. It can be easy to lose files and frustrating to find information when you aren't sure where it is stored.

Likewise, businesses have their own data storage issues to contend with. Data growth can lead to storage space issues, leading many businesses to invest large amounts of money in technology to store their data.

But what if you are a small business or home user needing to store your data reliably without breaking the bank? What if you only need file storage and don't need all the other functions of a typical server? Further, what if you want to store data from different sources or devices to one central location and be able to access that data again from any device? How do you clean up those files strewn all over the place mentioned earlier?

These issues can be resolved through the use of Network Attached Storage (NAS). Network attached storage is a technology that provides central data file storage capabilities on a network, whether at home or in the workplace. It is essentially a server that only deals with storing files. It doesn't hold applications, provide email services or perform other functions. With no other processing to concern itself with, a NAS device can focus on doing one thing really well- storing, sharing and serving up files.

Network attached storage can be accessed from any authorized device on the same network, such as your home network or a business LAN (local area network). Files can be saved to the NAS and retrieved by you or others. Many NAS devices also allow access from outside of your network through the internet. By utilizing this option, you can access your NAS files from a smartphone or other device no matter where you are.

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