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Network attached storage device (NAS) vs cloud storage systems, which is better and why

May 3, 2024

Discover the key differences between Network Attached Storage (NAS) and cloud storage systems to determine the best storage solution for your business needs.

When it comes to choosing the right data storage solution for your business, the debate between Network Attached Storage (NAS) and cloud storage systems is crucial. Each offers distinct advantages and could be the key to enhancing your operational efficiency and data security. This article compares NAS and cloud storage, helping you understand their functionalities and determine which storage option best aligns with your business needs.

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Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are like specialized mini-servers designed specifically for storing and sharing files within a network. These are physical devices located on-site where digital files such as videos, photos, and documents can be stored centrally.These devices connect to your business network, allowing multiple users and computers to access and store data simultaneously without affecting the performance of other servers. NAS devices come with their own operating system and are configurable via a web browser, making them user-friendly and accessible. They are excellent for businesses that need to store large amounts of data, such as videos and large databases, in one central location while ensuring that the data remains easily accessible to authorized personnel.

Here’s what a NAS looks like:

A woman holding a Network Attached Storage device

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What are the pros and cons of network attached storage (NAS)?

Network attached storage (NAS) devices have some inherent limitations as local appliances. However, their varied advantages make NAS popular storage devices for many businesses.


NAS devices are compatible with most networks

NAS devices are highly versatile, designed to integrate seamlessly with most existing network configurations. This compatibility ensures that they can be easily implemented into your business environment without the need for extensive modifications or specialized equipment. Whether you’re using Windows, macOS, or Linux, a NAS device can be configured to support all these systems, facilitating smooth file sharing and data management across different operating systems. This broad compatibility makes NAS an ideal choice for diverse and dynamic business settings, where multiple devices and platforms need reliable access to shared data.

Data redundancy and back up

While not all NAS devices are configured with redundant storage, they can be. If you have highly sensitive data, then adding extra hard drives is relatively easy. NAS devices come in many sizes, and it’s possible to have more than one installed on the same network as well.

Easier data sharing

NAS devices make it easier to share data across networks. Every device connected to the network can access the same storage system.

One-time cost

Cloud storage requires you to pay monthly based on usage. A NAS device is a one-time investment. This CapEx vs. OpEx financing structure can be a benefit for some budgets. However, this directly leads to the first disadvantage.


NAS can be expensive upfront

While a single upfront cost can benefit some budgets, NAS devices can be very expensive. They can be especially expensive compared to cloud storage when they are underutilized.

Note that Solink customers using the Solink platform are provided a NAS device with a warranty for the duration of your contract.

No built-in remote access capability

NAS devices make it easy to share files locally, but they don’t help with remote access. However, it is possible to set up remote access to files on a NAS device with a cloud-based service.

NAS devices can fail

Hard drives are physical equipment that can fail. The expected lifetime of a NAS device is approximately four years, with some hard drives likely to last much longer and others to fail early.

Since hard drives can fail, it is recommended to have redundant drives on your NAS device. This, along with the four-year expected useful life, can make NAS devices more expensive than cloud storage for small storage needs.

Illustration of NAS vs Cloud Storage

What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is an offshoot of cloud computing. It is the storing of data online instead of on local hard drives, such as NAS devices.

As an individual, you’ve probably used cloud storage to backup your smartphone or transfer large files. The following are some of the most popular personal and business cloud storage offerings:

However, beyond personal file sharing, cloud storage has other major use cases. Indeed, the on-demand storage and remote access capabilities make cloud storage an integral part of cloud video security.

What are the pros and cons of cloud storage?


Reduced chance of data loss

Cloud storage is usually designed with redundancy in mind. That means your data is unlikely to be lost due to a technical failure. In addition, cloud storage is distributed by design. This makes it very unlikely that the physical hard drives storing any of your data will be damaged or stolen.

Remote access

Cloud storage is fully remote by design. If remote monitoring is important to your business, then this is a major advantage over NAS.


Server farms are massive infrastructure projects. Companies like Amazon or Google are ready to service any sized company, and their cloud storage contracts are dynamic. You can increase or decrease the size of your cloud storage plan at any moment to meet the current demands of your business.

For growing companies, or those with unpredictable storage requirements, this is a huge plus.


Requires a solid Internet connection

If you are doing anything that requires real-time data storage, then you’ll need a reliable, high-bandwidth, and constant Internet connection. This isn’t always the case.

Business security systems that save video to the cloud can reduce bandwidth for other uses. Conversely, with a spotty Internet connection, you might lose important video footage.

Expensive for large files

If your company is looking to store some text files, then cloud storage is cheap. In fact, many services offer the first few gigabytes of space for free. However, this isn’t helpful for security needs.

In the case of security, cloud video storage is the real consideration. Since cloud storage services change based on the amount stored, the price of storing large files including HD video streams in the cloud is often prohibitive.

Can be locked into long contracts

Many cloud storage solutions require multi-year contracts. They can also tie your digital assets to a specific proprietary program, which might make it difficult to switch after the contract expires.

Solink fights against this with a no term contract. We earn your business every day, and you are free to leave at any time.

To see why Solink’s cloud-managed security solution is right for your organization, sign up for a demo today.

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NAS vs. cloud storage: A complete breakdown

NAS vs. cloud storage comes down to the individual requirements of a business. If you are dealing with real-time data transfer or large files, then NAS might be better for you.

If you have highly sensitive information and the average file size is small, then cloud storage might be better for you.

Here’s a helpful comparison chart:

nas vs cloud storage comparison chart

What about NAS with cloud storage?

Sometimes called cloud NAS, using a NAS with cloud storage is often the optimal solution in physical security.

According to MUO, NAS tend to be cheaper once your storage requirements reach about 2–4 TB.When dealing with security cameras, you can easily reach this number. However, that doesn’t mean NAS is superior to cloud storage, only cheaper. The fact is that cloud video storage, while more expensive, is also more reliable and enables remote access capabilities.

These are important features for security. Since video footage may become evidence in a theft investigation, you need to guarantee that it will not be lost.

Furthermore, large organizations require remote access to video footage so senior management can audit locations for loss prevention, cleanliness, safety, and more from the head office.

That’s why Solink brings together both NAS and cloud storage to offer all of the benefits of cloud security without the high cost of cloud video storage. This is known as hybrid cloud video security.

Solink offers an innovative cloud-managed security solution that uniquely integrates both NAS (Network Attached Storage) and cloud storage to enhance efficiency and reduce costs for clients. By utilizing a local NAS, Solink ensures that video data is stored securely on-premises, which helps in managing bandwidth usage effectively and reduces reliance on continuous internet connectivity. This hybrid approach not only optimizes data management but also ensures potentially faster access to stored videos, essential for real-time security analysis and historical review.

Furthermore, the integration of NAS with Solink’s cloud-based management system is designed to be completely seamless and hassle-free for the user. The NAS device used is invisible to the client and requires no active management or maintenance, which means businesses can focus on their core operations without worrying about their storage infrastructure. This strategic combination of local and cloud storage by Solink exemplifies a sophisticated yet straightforward approach to modern data handling and security, tailored to meet the needs of today’s businesses efficiently.


To see how Solink can save you time and money, sign up for a demo today.

Find what you’re looking for in seconds

Save hours sifting through video and uncover suspicious cash handling in our self-guided tour.

A search box which filters events on a Solink dashboard

Solink’s video analytics and surveillance for businesses makes it easy to create a safe, secure, and healthy environment.

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Timothy Ware |

Solink stands at the forefront of security solutions, excelling in loss prevention and asset protection for businesses. Our content is rich in industry expertise and crafted to provide actionable insights and innovative strategies. We empower businesses to enhance their security systems, optimize operations, and protect their assets more effectively. Discover how our advanced cloud video management system can transform your security approach.