Choosing the Right Cloud Service to Backup your NAS

Why Should you Backup your NAS to a Cloud Provider

Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Cloud synchronization integrate the advantages of off-site public cloud and safety and access of private cloud. This enables you to effortlessly connect your NAS to public cloud services, such as Amazon Drive, BackBlaze B2, Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack Swift, and more. Key advantages are:

Sync direction

 

Select one-way or two-way synchronization to flexibly backup or sync your data between your NAS and other cloud services.

Encryption and compression

 

Securely store and transfer your data with encryption, and reduce traffic and storage consumption with compression.

Concurrent processing

 

Customize the suitable number of concurrent file uploads and downloads to maximize system usage.

Selective sync

 

Select certain folders and filter the files you want to sync to the public cloud service or your NAS, optimizing storage usage.

Traffic control

 

Set the bandwidth limits to prevent the upload and download traffic from interfering with the general traffic on your NAS.

Is your NAS Drive Data Safe on the Cloud?

The biggest issue with using cloud storage is data security, as you are relying on the service to keep your files and documents secure. If your account is hacked, your files are immediately available – so always weigh up the risks before uploading more sensitive files. Cloud storage companies typically use encryption to keep your information safe and two-step verification to ensure the right person has access to the account.

Encryption scrambles your data so that anyone unauthorised is unable to get to it. The strength of the encryption is at three levels, starting at 128-bit, rising to 192-bit and with 256-bit as the most secure. Two-step verification involves sending you a message and asking you to respond when you log in or amend your account to check you have the authority to do so.

Backblaze for your NAS

Backblaze’ defining strength is its ease of use, which is rooted in the fact that it’s an unlimited backup service and works by simply backing up files based on their extension. There’s very little user management required. Weaknesses include a lack of mobile backup and the fact that previous file versions aren’t kept indefinitely. Also, you’re limited to one computer, although that’s not surprising for an unlimited backup service.

There are some concerns with Backblaze’ approach to encryption, too, which is only private when you’re backing it up. More on that in our “security” section. Once you’ve decided Backblaze is the best home for your data, you might as well take advantage of the annual or biannual discounts. Initial backups can take days or even weeks to complete, so switching backups is often more trouble than it’s worth, particularly if you’ve got a good service like Backblaze. Most backup services don’t actually offer a month-to-month option for that reason.

Now that CrashPlan has closed its doors to home subscribers, the closest competition to Backblaze is Carbonite cloud platform, which also offers unlimited backup for a single device. However, the nearest analog subscription Carbonite has to Backblaze Personal is its Plus plan, which costs $99.99 per year. The bottom line is that Backblaze is all about the bottom line. For most users, there’s likely not a better deal to be found in the online backup space.

Advantages Disadvantages  
  • Genuinely UNLIMITED storage
  • Low Price
  • Zero-knowledge and fast setup
  • No free Capacity Option, just 15-day trial
  • More of an ALL-or-Nothing NAS Backup
  • Separate Subscription per device (1 NAS = 1 Sub)

MEGA for your NAS

We are strong advocates of real backup solutions when it comes to securing data. Cloud storage services, MEGA or not, cannot replace a proper file backup system. MEGA has three features that make it stand out from the crowd. Superior end-to-end encryption: The data is encrypted and decrypted during the transfer process, unlike the other cloud storage services,by the associated client devices. Secure global access: MEGA allows the user to access data anywhere and anytime but prevents everyone else from accessing it. Secure collaboration: online collaboration is quite private and secure with MEGA’s features in place. It facilitates real-time sharing and viewing updates of contacts, making it convenient for users.

With a cloud storage system like MEGA, users can enjoy several benefits. MEGA’s mobile apps allow access to files and folders from users’ smartphones and tablets. We can also upload and sync media from anywhere to the cloud. MEGA’s sync client ensures easy automation of syncing between the system and the MEGA cloud drive. MEGA email and chat. This feature will soon be available and allows chat, emailing, calling, and video conferencing. MEGA Browser Apps allow installations of browser extensions for high-speed loading and higher resilience against attacks.

Advantages Disadvantages  
  • Free 50GB storage
  • Nice web interface
  • Zero-knowledge
  • No file versioning
  • Accounts expire
  • Very slow

What makes MEGA stand out (well, at least this is what they claim) is that they provide a high level of security. When you sign up they create a 2048-bit RSA public /private key that should keep your data safe – safe means that theoretically nobody else but you has access to your files, not even the authorities. However, as Kimdotcom states – you are not totally anonymous. Most cloud storage or syncing services like Dropbox will only encrypt your files on transit but not before you upload them. This cloud storage service has definitely made a good start, offering 50GB of free cloud storage in the beginning – it is trying to integrate various features. It is offering a 96TB bandwidth,and it provides up to 4TB of encrypted storage with its pro packages starting at $9.87/month.

Google Drive for your NAS

Google Drive is one of the more attractive services that Google currently offers. 15GB of free space is available when a Google account is setup – or it is linked to an existing one. In fact, with the current upgrade of Google, it unified its services under a single login ID earlier this year, so chances are that a Drive account already exists if you are using Gmail, Google Calendar, or even YouTube. The storage space of 15GB is shared across all these services, so if users have large attachments in emails, then they will be counted in, and enabling the automatic photo backup to Google+ from a smartphone will act in the same way.

One advantage is that Google discards any photos below 2048×2048 resolution, and videos shorter than 15 minutes, so settings on smartphones and devices can always be adjusted accordingly to get unlimited storage as they don’t count towards the 15GB limit. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Presentations, Drawings, and files that others have shared with the user don’t count either. Google Drive doesn’t provide extra storage space through referrals or link the user account to social media, unlike OneDrive and Dropbox. There have been plenty of promotions offered by Google that include 10GB free for users who download Quick Office and other mobile phone deals. The search giant offers 100GB free for two years if the user buys a Chromebook. A separate service known as Google Music is meant exclusively for storage of music files and allows users to keep 20,000 songs in the cloud for free.

Data stored on Drive is encrypted in 128-bit AES rather than the 256-bit employed by Box, OneDrive, and Dropbox and is quite similar to Apple. Google Drive provides a two-step verification process and asserts that it won’t pry into the content of the user’s Drive folder unless compelled by law enforcement agencies. On the whole, it has a smart interface that’s simple to navigate and a basic file tree showing where the data are kept. Specific files can be selected to make them available offline on the mobile versions, and these files can be edited.

Advantages Disadvantages  
  • Google Docs integration
  • Many third-party apps
  • In-app collaborations
  • Weak file-sharing security
  • No private encryption option
  • No block-level sync

OneDrive and your NAS

OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is Microsoft’s answer to Google Drive, which essentially does the same: it creates a folder on your hard drive that gets synced to other computers where you login with the same account. Similar to Google Drive, OneDrive provides 15GB of free storage, and its referral incentive is a minimum of 500MB limited to 5GB. Office 365 users get 1TB of OneDrive storage as part of the monthly subscription fee, which is the latest addition to the offers provided by OneDrive. However, last October, Microsoft promised offering unlimited cloud storage for Office 365 users.

When it comes to user privacy, Microsoft has secured the right to scan user files and documents and shuns objectionable content according to its policies. This policy is similar to Apple and includes explicit content along with copyrighted material. Hence, OneDrive carves a new niche and brings a couple of new features to iOS. This cloud service from Microsoft, which was formerly known as SkyDrive, is an excellent option for storing files. It provides the option to browse through user files, creates folders, and look at thumbnail previews. It also displays the files in a list where you have the pleasure of smooth file management. Swipe left and you will get the option of deleting files. Buttons provided across the apps allow you to sort by backups, recent files, and documents shared with others. You can enable multiple file sharing from the menu button, which also allows you to add files.

OneDrive also provides you with the auto backup feature for photos and videos. Sharing is easier with this cloud service and involves sending a link of the files and documents via email. Another interesting feature is the file uploading facility to OneDrive directly from your browser. It doesn’t work on IE and Firefox but works well on Chrome. All you have to do is go to OneDrive.com in Chrome, log in, open Windows Explorer, and then drag and drop your folder to the opened OneDrive, that’s it. Although Chrome is the only browser currently capable of handling folder uploads,this may change with the release of Windows 10 later this year.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Low-cost pricing
  • Bundled with Office 365
  • Great for collaboration
  • No at-rest encryption
  • Manual uploads can stall
  • Only NTFS supported
FREE STORAGE 50GB 100GB 200GB 1TB 2TB 4TB UNLTD
Google Drive 15GB £15.99/yr £79.99/yr
Box 10GB £84/yr
OneDrive 5GB £23.88/yr £59.99/yr
Apple iCloud 5GB £9.48/yr £29.88/yr £83.88/yr
Amazon Drive 5GB + unltd photos £55/yr
Dropbox 2GB £79/yr
BT Cloud 5GB-500GB £36/yr
Zoolz 100GB

‘cold storage’

£34.20/yr

‘cold storage’

£83.99/yr

‘cold storage’

BackBlaze £9.99pm
Flickr 1TB for photos
Knowhow None £15/yr £30/yr £50/yr
 

Remember though, you’re signing up for an annual cost, so if you just want to back up your data, consider buying a portable hard drive instead. The cheapest 1TB of storage we found at the time of writing costs about £40.

 

Best NAS for Mac

If you are a Mac user and intend to use the NAS for backing up via Apple Time Machine, using a Plex Media Server, Surveillance, DLNA, an iTunes server, or more Enterprise functionality such as web hosting and 10gbe video editing, then I would recommend that you purchase a Synology NAS as the user interface and software is geared much closer to that of the Mac user interface. Likewise, the build and attitude to software are much more attuned to Mac users, who want something that works immediately and you can setup and forget.

Best NAS for Windows

If you are a Windows user, I would recommend the QNAP range of NAS server devices, as these have more impressive hardware and the slightly more technical information is available straight away. This means that you can be more creative or bespoke with your NAS setup and in many cases, create a much superior setup then you would find in the Synology NAS and it’s more restricted and limiting build. It is worth mentioning that for business users who want to use the very familiar Windows platform, file system and integrate their existing windows server over to the NAS, should consider WSS 2016 NAS from Buffalo. It is easily the best value+power solution for this right now. Where is a PC Gamer has the option of upgrading many parts of the system and are traditionally much more knowledgeable on their hardware, therefore demand more from the software in terms of graphics frames per second and more. As a result is PC gamers end up paying less for their systems over time, but have more work typically to do with running applications. Also, often due to incompatibility and multiple firmware patches regarding stability problems from time to time if they don’t know what they’re doing (cough…QNAP).

Best NAS for Mobile Android and iOS users

Android users can pretty much use QNAP, Synology or Asustor NAS, as these brands arrive with LOADS of mobile apps from the iTunes or Google Play store. These applications cover every aspect of the running of your NAS and all the different NAS tasks. I would mention that the QNAP and Asustor Apps give you much more control of the contents of the NAS (file management), whereas the Synology apps are much more in the theme of fast file retrieval, cataloguing and keeping it easy/simple.

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In most cases, you can seamlessly sync and share files among your NAS and multiple public cloud services, including:

  • Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS)
  • Amazon Drive
  • Amazon S3 compatible cloud services (Amazon S3, hicloud S3 and SFR NAS Backup)
  • Backblaze B2
  • Baidu Cloud
  • Box
  • Dropbox (including Dropbox for Business)
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Google Drive (including G Suite My Drive)
  • HiDrive
  • hubiC
  • MegaFon MegaDisk
  • Microsoft OneDrive (including OneDrive for Business)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • OpenStack Swift compatible cloud services (IBM SoftLayer, RackSpace, RackSpace UK)
  • Tencent Cloud Object Storage (COS)
  • WebDAV
  • Yandex Disk

One thought on “Choosing the Right Cloud Service to Backup your NAS

  1. God, I miss Symform!
    A free QPKG on my Qnap, local encryption of my own files before sharing them in their own developed Raid64.
    And the option of making space available on my own Qnap, getting more free available space…. Hope a new service like that will appear some day…

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