Secure file storage is essential for businesses with multiple locations, remote users, or in-house employees who require access to the same documents and data.
Many companies are aware of the benefits of network attached storage devices (NAS), which hold millions of files and share them between anyone connected to the same network. NAS eliminates the need for time consuming and costly external backups, which require the user to plug in to each individual computer and manually backup data. Most NAS devices can be programmed to save files on a schedule so users don’t need to remember this step.
NAS devices also enable two or more people to work on the same document in real time, which helps boost efficiency and accounts for less errors in back-and-forth file sharing. As with anything accessible via the Internet, one of the most important issues related to file sharing is how to maintain security.
Secure Features to Consider
In general, NAS devices offer more security than file servers because they protect against dangerous third party software being run on a computer, such as malware and spyware. Typical security functions of NAS devices include the ability to choose whom to allow access to on the network, as well as username and password protection. NAS devices with strong access-rights management allow for optimal security rights. These rights include setting up access to password-protected accounts, restricted groups, and shared folders, as well as read/write access.
It is recommended that for backup of personal drives onto an NAS, one should use software, which allows for encryption of the backup, rendering files unreadable to anyone who could gain unwelcome access.
NAS devices also curb the need to send files via email attachment, which is typically not a secure method of file sharing. Everyone on a network can backup content to one central location so that all digital content, regardless of what computer it was created on, is securely protected.
Many NAS devices also provide access and security for mobile devices. Secure access to documents on a mobile device is ideal for business travel, in-person meetings, and instant access to information when you are not near a computer.
Devices to Suite Your NAS Needs
With so much sensitive content and data shared across various channels, it’s important for businesses to understand the security functions offered by various NAS providers. Systems are available from many manufacturers and several models cater to the small- to mid-sized business.
Hewlett-Packard ProLiant DL185 G5 Storage Server, with 9 TB, provides a high-density 2U rack-mount networked file storage unit. Support for multiple protocols enables the consolidation to a centralized NAS solution or create a backup/replication target. A single file/print solution to manage, scale, and secure helps spend less time and effort on maintenance and management, and industry-standard building blocks protect an investment by providing compatibility within a network and applications. Key features include keyboard password, power factor correction, automatic server restart, USB port control, power-on password, and administrator password access.
The Iomega StorCenter ix4-200d NAS Server offers content sharing with advanced security, and is ideal for small office, remote office, or home networks. It provides dual GbE connections, iSCSI block access, and multiple RAID configurations for optimized data protection. RSA BSAFE encryption for protected installs and upgrades are included for advanced backup and security. It supports PC, Mac, and Linux clients and is Vmware certified for NFS and iSCSI.
Linksys by Cisco Systems, Inc.’s NAS200 with two bays allows users to choose the amount of storage they require and is ideal for a small business hoping to expand. The device plugs into a router’s available 10/100 Ethernet port; no dedicated computer is required. Two USB 2.0 ports allows for the expansion of storage by attaching additional hard drives, or plug in flash storage devices to access portable files. Built-in disk utilities and advanced software ensure valuable content is secure. There are options to backup drives and run self tests and disc error scans manually or on automated schedules. Another security feature is the ability to set a username and password for both system administration and file access.
LG Electronics offers several NAS models suited for the small- to mid-sized business. One of the most popular options is the N2A2, which offers 2TB network storage and the ability to streamline information and media directly to portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, making it an ideal choice for businesses on the go. N2A2 allows users to go beyond the storage limitations of handheld devices and gain access to videos, music, and presentations via the Internet.
Netgear offers a comprehensive line of ReadyNAS devices, including the ReadyNas Pro4 offering workgroup storage with RAID 5, and is best suited for departments and small offices. Features include 4bay NAS and iSCSI SAN with 100MBps of performance. Useful features include comprehensive data backup features; cross platform file sharing with Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX; unified storage supporting NAS and SAN simultaneously; multi-site backup and recovery with ReadyNAS Replicate; and ReadyNAS Remote embedded for secure and easy remote access.
Seagate Technology LLC’s BlackArmor Network offers the NAS 440, which is particularly suited for small businesses. The NAS 440 provides optimum uptime, internal data backup protection, and data integrity for up to 50 workstations. Capacity is 4TB–12TB; it features two Ethernet ports and four USB 2.0 ports. It also touts advanced security and government-grade hardware encryption technology. The NAS 440 is equipped with four pre–installed hard drives and supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later. Volume Recovery allows users to recover volumes when drives are accidentally removed and Microsoft Active Directory 2003/2008 support includes real-time importing of a domain’s user and group organizations—along with individual access rights—and automatic detection of a domain server’s IP address.
Finding the right NAS device to suite needs of a business is important and knowing that files remain safe and secure on these networks is even more so. Today’s NAS solutions provide businesses with piece of mind.