Is a NAS or Server Better for Small Businesses?

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In a small business there’s little patience — or room for error — when it comes to accessing data quickly and securely. You and your team need to be able to access information and collaborate on files at a moment’s notice.

So what’s the best way to do that? IT professionals go back and forth when it comes to recommending network attached storage or a server, but we can help simplify the basics. Here’s what you need to know before you decide between a NAS or server for your small business:

Which is easier to use?

Both servers and network attached storage systems allow users to store and share files at any time. NAS, however, can be simpler for small businesses to use because it comes with fewer settings and is not as customizable.

So if you’re working with a smaller team, a NAS system would require less management and troubleshooting than a server generally would.

Which is more expensive?

Because a server comes with more tools, hardware, and user licenses, it’s often much more expensive than a NAS unit, though nailing down an exact price for either depends heavily on how much storage you need.

Start by looking at how much data you and your team need, then start shopping for hard drives and a NAS unit based on what you find.

And don’t be afraid to shop for used servers. Depending on the retailer, used NAS systems can function just as well as new ones for a fraction of the price — and you often get more technical support from the seller.

Which is best for sharing and collaborating?

Regardless of how big or small your business is, you need to be able to share files and collaborate across desks. Your storage system should accommodate that need.

Smaller teams can save on money, time and human resources by using network attached storage. And if you plan on collaborating with clients, NAS can allow users outside the company to access files with permission. Servers do not typically offer that feature.

Which is more secure?

Both NAS systems and servers offer varying levels of security, all of which depend on the brand of storage system.

While you research your options, look for a system that offers encryption, customizable user access controls and third-party security support in case you already have a security system in place or want to implement one in the future.

Which can best handle my team’s needs?

For smaller businesses looking to share and access data securely, a NAS system is generally the most affordable and capable solution.

As your business grows, you might consider upgrading to a server system, but network attached storage can be as fast and secure in the meantime.

Whether you use a NAS or server in your small business, make sure you shop with a retailer who can help you with shipping, warranties and technical support. It’ll give you and your team the confidence you need to grow.

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