In years past, data storage for many organizations was done through local servers. In the last couple of decades, a couple different options have become widespread: Network Attached Storage—NAS— and the cloud.

Let’s take a look at each and then some variables that factor into that choice.

NAS storage

A NAS is a device that is specifically intended to replace a file server. It connects to a network and then users of the network can access the files and data that are stored on it. In some ways, it’s like having a private cloud in your office. It does not require a traditional server, but has built-in hardware and software that allows users to interact with it over the network.

Cloud storage

We’ve talked in the past about how cloud storage works and whether or not cloud storage can fail. In a nutshell, cloud storage is a remote network of interconnected machines that allows you to store files and data and access them remotely.

How do you choose?

When you choose between a NAS and the cloud, there are a number of variables to consider:

  • Are you accessing large files or a large quantity of files? A NAS may make more sense.
  • Do you have a distributed work force? Then the cloud will likely be a better option.
  • Are you a larger organizations with a lot of users? A local NAS may be a better fit.

A NAS can be accessed remotely. But when you access it remotely, you’re using bandwidth at your office. So if five people are in the office and five people are accessing the NAS from remote locations, that’s really ten people using your network at once.

For larger organizations, security becomes a factor. If you use a directory server, a NAS is inherently more secure because you only have one account to log into the network and your file storage at the same time.

Remember, choosing between the two is based on what type of files and data you’re accessing and how you interact with them.