Nowadays, we all own multiple devices and deal with increasingly-large files, whether they’re documents, photos, videos or whatever. As such, the notion of storing everything on one device where it can only be accessed by a single user is becoming increasingly silly. People are getting their heads around using the cloud: storing things on the Internet can be a great solution, whether it’s documents and attachments in Gmail or photo backups on OneDrive and iCloud, but free cloud storage fills up quickly and is expensive to enlarge. Cloud also poses problems that are beyond your control – who is looking at your files? What if your account gets hacked and what if the service gets closed down? How sure are you that your files are safe and sound?
Portable USB drives and external hard drives may help to some extent, but how do you access them on a phone or tablet? What if you lose them on your way to work? What’s worse, with so many files scattered across multiple storage devices, finding the right file (or right version of the right file!) amongst a stack of drives can become a long and confusing process.
So what’s the answer? Well, it’s the Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Despite its unsexy-sounding name, it has long been an essential gadget among tech enthusiasts. And what’s more, in this day and age, every home needs one. Here’s why…
What exactly is NAS?
NAS is a small box connected to a network that contains high-capacity hard drives. With their Terabytes of storage space, you can store all of your data in one place, from important documents to precious photos and video collections. By using web browsers or mobile apps, you can access these files and share them with people on-the-go.
1. Conveniently access files from anywhere on anything
It’s no secret that old NAS devices could be a pain to use. But not anymore, with an intuitive, browser-based operating system like Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM), managing your data stored on a NAS is much easier. Using the File Station application on DSM, uploading files to your NAS only requires simple drag and drop from your Windows or Mac computer. Always on the move? Then use the mobile app, DS file, to access and manage any file on your smartphone and tablet. Thanks to seamless integration with each type of device, whether it’s a desktop computer, iPad, smartphone, Smart TV or Media Streamer, you can easily access the files stored on your NAS anywhere. What’s more, you can create accounts for your family members and friends so they can access the NAS as well. If you’re worried about disclosing everything to them, you can easily customise account permissions to ensure access is only available to appropriate content – do the kids really need access to the Disney movies and your tax files? . What’s even better, you can easily share files and folders with anyone over the Internet by simply creating a link or sending them as attachment in an email. It’s a breeze!
It doesn’t stop there. Modern NAS devices act as a hybrid cloud manager, which means they not only store your files privately, but they can also synchronise files and folders that reside on other public cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Drive and OneDrive to flexibly accommodate your needs. With Synology Cloud Station, for example, whenever a file is added or edited on one device or a designated cloud service, such change will be instantly synced to the NAS.
2. The perfect vault for treasured photos and home videos
Nothing is worse than getting a “storage almost full” alert just when you are about to take new pictures on your phone although realising you’ve deleted an treasured old photo to make way for the new is surely worse. If you’re tired of deleting old photos while letting the picture perfect moments slip away then storing them on a NAS is a great solution. These small boxes are large enough to store, manage, and share all of your precious memories, photos and videos at once. With Synology Photo Station’s mobile app, DS photo, you can have photos automatically uploaded to your Synology NAS and browse through them without worrying about filling up your phone storage. Even after you delete photos on your phone to make room for new ones, you can still browse the original files on the app because all memories are already on your NAS, safe and private!
Furthermore, with Photo Station, you can create photo albums online and share them on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress. Thanks to support for Apple TV, Chromecast, and other DLNA devices, you can even show your photos to friends and family on a large-screen TV.
3. Best destination to back up your important files
Ever mourned the loss of your data because of a hard drive crash or accidental deletion? To prepare for a worst-case scenario, frequent backup is a must. The good news is that even the laziest person doesn’t have to worry about doing this if they just own a NAS. It’s large enough to accommodate data from multiple devices and smart enough to manage all of the files at once. With built-in backup applications such as Synology’s Cloud Station Backup, you can automatically back up selected folders, specified file formats or even an entire disk to your NAS. Any further modification will then be added as updates while historic versions of files remain available for retrieval. For additional protection, you can use Synology Hyper Backup to create multiple (local and remote) backup targets including external hard drives and cloud services!
For those who are already accustomed to Windows Backup and Apple Time Machine, backing up data is even simpler. Synology NAS supports these applications (and more) meaning it can be the perfect backup target for a MacBook that is almost full. A NAS should be on the front line of your backup and disaster recovery strategies.
Recommended NAS models
DS115j - Create your own cloud with this budget-friendly yet feature-rich NAS server. Consumes just 5W when not in use and less-than-12W when active.
DS216j - A popular 2-bay NAS providing home media storage and file transfer in a powerful yet affordable way.
DS416play - High Performance 4-bay NAS featuring 4K transcoding. A perfect server for home users and creative professionals. Effortlessly stream your favourite movies from the NAS to your smart TV, smartphone, or tablet.