Photos, movies and music in particular can quickly burst the computer's memory.
They are about to be forgotten on an external hard drive.
One solution can be a NAS.
This acronym for Network Attached Storage is a storage system that can be compared to an external hard drive for the computer, says Sebastian Klöß from the IT industry association Bitkom.
“In contrast to an external hard drive, the NAS is not connected directly to the computer, but via the network.” A NAS must therefore be connected to the Internet router via WLAN or LAN cable.
Another advantage: You can now access most NAS from outside the company or home network.
“So the shared network hard drive has developed into a small server,” says Ernst Ahlers from the “c't” specialist magazine.
NAS access for the whole family
“Compared to a“ simple ”external hard drive, several users - such as the whole family - can access the data on a NAS, explains Klöß.
That is particularly convenient.
Usually, a NAS is simply used to expand the storage space of the computer.
Photos, videos or films would then no longer have to be on the computer's hard drive.
Data backup is not a backup: You shouldn't do without the external hard drive (picture) at least for the most important data
Thanks to the constantly active NAS, this data can still be easily accessed via the computer, smartphone app or smart TV, according to Klöß.
A common use is therefore the streaming of videos or music.
In addition, apps and programs can often be used on NAS systems.
Some NAS systems also work with surveillance cameras.
You can also operate your own VPN service for secure Internet connections, host mail and chat servers yourself or secure data.
NAS systems are better with two hard drives
Ernst Ahlers recommends a NAS with two hard drives.
Because: “Every hard drive breaks at some point.” In this case, you would still have the data on the second hard drive.
Nevertheless, even a NAS with a mirrored hard drive is not a backup system.
Important data must be regularly backed up on an external hard drive.
“A lightning strike, for example, that jumps into the power distribution, can destroy the NAS.
An external hard drive that was not connected is not affected, ”said the expert.
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NAS systems can, however, make data backup much easier.
You can merge and save files from all computers on the NAS.
“This means that you no longer have to back up the data from each computer in the household individually,” explains Ahlers.
A great advantage of NAS systems is the good data protection.
All data remain with the users and are not transferred to third parties, says Klöß.
NAS systems are therefore particularly interesting for all those who do not want to use online storage (clouds).
Updates are everything with NAS systems
In order to maintain or expand its functionality, and above all to guarantee security, a NAS must be updated regularly.
“NAS systems are small computers, which is why the systems also need regular updates,” explains Ernst Ahlers.
He advises larger manufacturers because they usually not only have better customer service - also in German - but also provide permanent updates for their NAS systems and the associated smartphone apps.
Larger and widespread providers for private users are, for example, Qnap, Synology or Western Digital, says Ahlers.
The price of a NAS mainly results from the storage capacity.
It is important to think about how much storage space you need beforehand.
NAS systems start at 140 euros
Current, small NAS systems started at around 140 euros, but with that you only get the empty housing and have to buy the hard drives yourself, says Ahlers.
Inexpensive, complete NAS devices with one terabyte of storage space are available from around 240 euros.
If you want to send a lot or a lot of larger files through the network, you should spend a lot more money, advises Ahlers.
Higher-priced NAS systems would also have the advantage that they had more computing power and thus access to encrypted data would also be convenient.