Small businesses are constantly faced with the challenge of managing their growing data storage needs efficiently. Whether you run a small e-commerce store, a creative agency, or a local restaurant, data is at the heart of your operations.

This raises an important question: how should small businesses store and manage their data? Two popular options are networked attached storage (NAS) and cloud storage. Learn the pros and cons of NAS vs cloud storage to determine which one is better suited for your small business needs.

What Is Networked Attached Storage (NAS)?

Networked Attached Storage, or NAS for short, is a dedicated device or server that connects to your local network. It allows multiple users and devices to access, store, and share data. It’s essentially a private file server.

NAS Advantages

1. Cost-Effective: NAS systems are a cost-effective way to store and manage data for small businesses. They have a lower upfront cost compared to cloud storage solutions, and there are no ongoing subscription fees.

2. Data Control and Security: With NAS, you have full control over your data. It’s stored on your premises and potentially reduces the risk of third-party breaches. This is particularly appealing if your business deals with sensitive or confidential information.

3. Speed and Accessibility: NAS devices offer fast local access to your data, which makes it ideal for tasks that require quick retrieval of files. Users within your network can access data without relying on internet speeds.

NAS Disadvantages

1. Initial Set-Up Cost: While NAS can be cost-effective in the long run, the initial setup cost can be relatively high, especially if you need to purchase additional storage capacity or hire IT professionals to configure it.

2. Limited Scalability: NAS systems are limited by the physical storage capacity of the device. Expanding storage may require additional hardware, which can be costly and time-consuming.

3. Physical Space Requirements: NAS devices take up physical space in your office and may not be suitable for businesses with limited space.

What Is Cloud Storage?

Cloud Storage is a service that allows you to store and access your data remotely through the internet. It’s offered by various providers like Telewire, and data is stored on their servers in data centers around the world.

Cloud Advantages

1. Scalability: Cloud storage can scale with your business’s needs effortlessly. You can start with a small plan and upgrade as your data requirements grow.

2. Accessibility from Anywhere: Cloud storage enables access to your data from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s a convenient option for remote work or when you need to collaborate with distributed teams.

3. Automatic Backups and Disaster Recovery: Most cloud providers offer automatic data backups and disaster recovery features to ensure that your data is safe even in the event of hardware failures or natural disasters.

Cloud Disadvantages

1. Ongoing Subscription Costs: Unlike NAS, cloud storage typically involves ongoing subscription costs. However, the upfront costs are generally cheaper than NAS.

2. Security and Privacy Concerns: Some small businesses may have reservations about trusting third-party providers with their data. Cloud providers need to have transparent policies about data security and privacy.

3. Internet Dependency: Accessing data from the cloud requires a stable internet connection. If your internet goes down, you may experience disruptions in accessing your data.

Comparing NAS vs Cloud Storage

Here are key decision-making factors for small businesses when it comes to NAS vs cloud storage:

Cost Considerations

  • NAS is cost-effective upfront but may require additional expenses for scalability.
  • Cloud storage involves ongoing subscription costs, but it offers flexible scalability without large initial investments.

Data Security and Privacy

  • NAS provides more direct control over data security and privacy.
  • Cloud storage relies on the security measures of the provider, which may not be suitable for highly sensitive data.

Scalability and Flexibility

  • NAS has limited scalability and may require hardware upgrades.
  • Cloud storage is highly scalable and can adapt to your business’s changing needs.

Accessibility and Collaboration

  • NAS provides local access but can be limited in remote access capabilities.
  • Cloud storage offers accessibility from anywhere, facilitating collaboration among remote teams.

Performance and Speed

  • NAS offers fast local access speeds.
  • Cloud storage access speed depends on internet connectivity but is improving with advancements in technology.

Which Option Should Your Business Use?

The choice between NAS vs cloud storage ultimately depends on your specific business needs and priorities. Small businesses looking for cost-effective, on-premises data storage with control over security may find NAS systems attractive.

On the other hand, those seeking scalability, remote access, and automatic backups may prefer cloud storage solutions. Studies have found that about 94% of businesses use the cloud which means you’ll be in good company! The flexibility and remote access offered by the cloud—especially in our remote-first world—are unmatched. 

Consult with IT Experts at Telewire

If you’re still unsure which storage solution is right for your small business, our team can help! With Telewire, you get access to experienced IT professionals who can assess your data storage needs and recommend the best solution for your business. Schedule a consultation to get started.