Small Business NAS solution using the Cloud

Clouds

A frequent problem that small businesses have is the management of their documents. More specifically, the device they use to access them (frequently just a PC turned file server) and proper backup of the files to and from the cloud.

It doesn’t make sense for a business to buy a server just to store files. NAS solutions provide a cheap but robust alternative for a small business to have the storage they need with the safety of disk redundancy such as Disk Mirroring or RAID-5.

Also, there are many backup solutions that provide integration with the cloud.  Such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, and many more. This gives the small business another form of backup and access to their files offsite.

The final piece of the puzzle that provides complete protection for the data is a cloud-backup solution. The NAS has redundancy in it and the major cloud storage players all protect their data through all types of means, but there is ultimately no protection from the user deleting an important file (or files!) which then replicates the delete to the cloud. The major cloud storage players do not have functions in their software to restore deleted items. I have found mentions on the Internet that you can call Google or Microsoft and ask them to restore files if a major delete was performed. But you have to do it within 25 days or so of the event. I also get the feeling that this is not a preferred support call that they want to receive from you. Hence the lack of advertising of this service in any of their documentation.

What I found are services that provide cloud-to-cloud backup. More specifically, Backupify. It will backup your Google account (for example) 3 times a day. And it will keep every backup they have ever performed for you, as long as you have an account open with them. It costs $40 / year as of this posting.

The cost of 1 user in Google Apps for Work (1 TB of space) is $10 / user / month. If you have more than 5 users, then each user gets unlimited space.

The cost of the NAS (A Synology DS-414 for example) is $460 currently. It is a 4-bay NAS. If a business was to buy two, 2 TB Hard Drives and Mirror them (RAID-1), it would cost them $100 / drive.

That allows a small business to have a very robust & inexpensive file server solution for an upfront cost of $660 and a yearly cost of $160.

Most small busineses would almost have to shut their doors if they lost their data. Additionally, many small businesses don’t think about backups or protecting their data in-house. This is understandable because they don’t have I.T. staff in-house. And with cloud-technology just coming to fruition over the last few years, the typical small business owner is not up to speed.

Backups are the single most important facet of any I.T. solution for a business. My hope is to help educate small business owners on the possibilities and help them protect their livelihood.

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