What Network Attached Storage (NAS) is, what benefits such a NAS data backup has and how to backup data with the Acronis Cyber Protect can be seen below.
What is a NAS backup?
The NAS data backup describes a backup of a network attached storage, also known as networked storage or network drive. The NAS backup system requires a NAS device, which is built like a small computer – with a housing, processor, operating system and one or more hard disks. The network memory is connected to the network via a router or other distributor. With the help of transmission protocols, the data can be shared on the network.
A NAS backup system does not require a dedicated PC or server to function, as it is directly connected to the network and works autonomously.
Using a NAS backup system, data backups of multiple devices can be performed simultaneously. All this data is stored centrally in the network. A NAS data backup usually runs automatically – whenever one of the PCs on the network is turned on. This ensures that all data is saved as a backup at all times.
What features and performance features does a NAS backup system have?
A NAS backup system enables data backup first and foremost. To make it work, the network memory is equipped with the following features:
- The database of multiple PCs, smartphones and other devices can be backed up on a NAS backup - regardless of location.
- The NAS device can be operated with more fail-safe hard disk configuration, e.g. RAID-1 mirroring (two hard disks) or as RAID 6 (four hard disks). (If one of the hard disks should fail, the data is still backed up on the other hard disks and is not lost.)
- The user access on the local network is controlled by an administrator. It is also possible to allocate different access rights in order to maintain data protection
- Access to the NAS server can be from any device on the network.
- The network memory has a USB interface for extensions or a printer - so documents can be printed from any device on the network.
- If a NAS device is paired with a backup software such as Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup), further data security processes can be implemented.
- NAS servers have the following protocols, among others: SMB, CIFS, AFP, NFS.
Uses for NAS systems
A NAS system can be used for multiple data securing purposes. Among others for the following:
NAS system as data storage
A network storage is ideally suited as a backup system. With up to four possible hard disk drives, you can store up to 40 TB of data on a NAS backup system. In addition, the NAS data backup can be automated using an appropriate backup software from the manufacturer. Small businesses in particular like to use NAS backup solutions, as they are easy to manage.
NAS system as media archive
On a NAS device you can not only store backups of documents, but also all kinds of media. Access backed up movies, pictures and music titles easily at any time and play on computer-like or DLNA-enabled media devices such as a TV. To do this, you need to activate the typical NAS services UPnP-AV server and iTunes server, so that smart TVs or smartphones can recognize the NAS system. Only in this way can the contents stored on the hard disk be played back. Enter the desired folder for this and then indicate the NAS.
In addition, the NAS device can convert the content into the format in which the receiver device can play it. If, for example, the file is stored as MKV, but the tablet can only display MP4, then the NAS server transcodes this file automatically. Since every device on the network can access the NAS server, a NAS backup system is worthwhile as a media archive especially for families and residential communities.
NAS-System as own Cloud
A NAS system is usually connected to the router so that all members of the network have access to the data from anywhere. This means that you can use a NAS server as a cloud as well. Because the NAS data backup also takes place over the Internet. Thus, a NAS system presents a good alternative to conventional clouds such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Apple’s iCloud. Not only do companies benefit from such a solution, but also families who can, for example, backup their holiday photos immediately with the NAS backup system.
NAS Business Backup Systems
If companies want to use NAS systems professionally, they often opt for a NAS device with its own mail server. In addition, they use VPN connections to be able to securely access the internal NAS network, also from outside. This works, for example, with secure FTP access or through a WebDAV standard.
With a NAS system, calendar entries or address data can also be synchronized, so that each employee can access the same information.
You can also use NAS systems in the surveillance area. Surveillance cameras are connected to NAS servers for this purpose and the corresponding software is used. If you want to implement a NAS backup solution in your company, the choice of a backup software, for example Acronis Cloud Backup recommended.
Interfaces to the NAS backup system
NAS backup systems are usually connected to the network via Ethernet and TCP/IP. Due to the special construction methods, NAS devices can be used over several interfaces. However, software architectures such as SAP require additional NAS implementations, as multiple file accesses are performed here.
If the NAS system is rather intended for home use, it can usually be configured via a web interface. Unlike SAN systems (storage networks), access to NAS servers is via protocols such as NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP or SMB.
Pros and Cons of NAS Backups
NAS data backup brings many benefits as well as challenges.
Benefits of NAS Backup Systems
- They have low energy consumption. Servers require very little power, even though they run almost 24 hours during the day. A NAS device usually is 10 to 20 watts.
- They can handle large amounts of data, as NAS devices can be backed up with additional hard disks.
- They have high data security if the NAS device is RAID capable.
- They indicate a high transmission speed. However, only for high-end models with gigabyte LAN.
- Date from numerous devices can be stored centrally and all users can access it simultaneously.
- Fast and uncomplicated storage solution
- NAS backups may get affected by crypto-trojans under certain circumstances. This can be prevented by RAID 1 or RAID 6.
- The data transfer is usually slower than a USB 3.0 hard drive, but it is a NAS model with a gigabyte LAN.
- For use, a proprietary software solution is required in part - Backup software such as Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup), however, also offers numerous benefits.
Create backup up from a NAS Backup
Because your data is well-secured according to the 3-2-1 backup principle, it is not enough to perform only a NAS data backup. Instead, it is advisable to choose at least one more storage location. If you do not use your NAS system as a backup, but only as a storage location, you should in any case additionally backup your NAS system.
There are various possibilities for this.
- NAS backup to an external device, e.g. a USB hard drive: works fast and uncomplicated, however no automated backup and no backups of applications or system configurations
- NAS backup on another NAS system: Data can be transferred using NAS protocol.
- NAS backup to a file server: requires more memory space compared to backup on another NAS system; supports protocols HTTP, WebDAV, rsync, S3 and OpenStack
- NAS backup to a cloud service: flexible solution, low storage space, low procurement costs and low maintenance required; easy to scale
Perform a NAS Backup with Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup)
With the Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup) software, you can easily perform a NAS data backup on a second storage location. Since you can only backup files or folders from a NAS, you should first go to the folder or switch file display.
If you have Acronis Cyber Cloud installed on your computer, start the backup wizard and select the network release. Now simply select the files you want to backup.
As this is a file-level backup, no snapshot of the work can be created at the same time. This technology normally allows users to edit the files during the backup process. With NAS data security, however, this is not possible. Therefore, schedule your backup at a time when you are not using your NAS system.
Solutions to NAS Backup Challenges
If there is a problem during the NAS data backup and the backup is interrupted for this reason, there are the following solutions:
- If the NAS is connected as a drive, try to disconnect.
- Give your folders shorter names (too long folder names with more than eight letters can lead to backup difficulties).
- Disable access for all on the NAS system by disabling authentication.
Benefits of NAS Data Backup with Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup)
With Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup), you can use not just a NAS system to backup your data. You benefit from numerous other data backup options, for example Cloud Backup. The biggest benefits include the following options.
Data protection for the entire company
With all the data of your company secure at all times, our solution uses a disk imaging backup of the original drive. This works on your NAS device as well as with Cloud Backup. Using agent-based and loose backups reduces security risks. Take advantage of the benefits of cloud backup included in the service. This way you can save a NAS backup to the cloud at any time or secure your Microsoft 365 mailbox, Amazon EC2 cloud workloads or similar.
Very fast recovery
Protect yourself against downtime due to data loss with Acronis Universal and Instant Restore: You can use restore your Windows or Linux system and also on other platforms and achieve RTOs (Recovery Time Objective) in just 15 seconds. This is possible by pulling out your data directly from the storage location as a VM and get to remote systems thanks to remote access at all times.
Flexible storage options
With Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup), you can enjoy a wide range of storage options:
- Local hard drives
- Acronis Cloud Storage
Due to the integrated deduplication, your network traffic as well as your required storage volume decreases. In addition, meet central tape device compliance and disaster recovery requirements with backups.
User-friendly and scalable management
With the Acronis Cyber Protect (formerly Acronis Cyber Backup) software, you can manage all the backup activities within the central web console. There, set up dashboards and reports to meet your requirements. In addition, access to data can be assigned by configurable administrator roles.