NAS vs. Cloud

February 8, 2023

At first glance, network attached storage (NAS) and cloud storage are your two options for retaining video surveillance footage. However, NAS vs. cloud storage is a false choice. By combining NAS with cloud storage into a hybrid cloud NAS solution, you get the advantages of both systems with none of the downside.

In this article, we explain NAS and cloud storage, their pros and cons, and why a hybrid solution might be best for your business.

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Network attached storage (NAS) devices are specially designed computers. They usually have a processor and some memory, in addition to one or more (and sometimes many more) hard drives. They connect directly to an Ethernet network and store data locally.

Most NAS systems can be accessed via the Internet. They can also be built with redundancies so important documents aren’t lost if a drive fails.

Here’s what a NAS looks like:

A woman holding a Network Attached Storage device

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The pros and cons of 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 advantages

Here are some of the advantages of NAS devices.

NAS devices are compatible with most networks

If you have an Ethernet connection, you can probably use a NAS device. You can use NAS with Mac or PC and usually with very little IT setup. Indeed, most NAS devices are plug and play.

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 disadvantages

Here are some of the disadvantages of NAS devices.

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, including 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.

The pros and cons of cloud storage

Cloud storage has many advantages, especially for smaller documents. However, for larger storage requirements, the cost can change the NAS vs. cloud storage preference.

Cloud storage advantages

Here are some of the advantages 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 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.

Cloud storage disadvantages

Here are some of the disadvantages of cloud storage.

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

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

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 NAS with cloud storage to offer all of the benefits of cloud security without the high cost of cloud video storage. This is hybrid cloud video security.

Solink is a cloud-managed security solution. While Solink uses a local NAS to reduce costs for clients, it is invisible, warrantied, and doesn’t require you to think about it.

We offer a security, loss prevention, and business intelligence platform with low upfront costs and a no-term contract. This helps you use your security cameras for more than simple deterrence.

Motion search, event search, and many other features help you uncover sources of loss without wasting time scanning hours of video footage.

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.

Schedule a 30-minute product demo with our experts

Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Ware |

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.