File sharing in a modern business is something no that no-one gives a second thought to, but what if you are a home office user or small business user and you want to share files between a combination of laptops and desktops in the most cost effective way?
The simple solution would be to share files on a peer to peer basis, but that doesn’t work if laptops are out of the office, a desktop machine is not switched on or a particular machine is not working. The simple solution would be to have all the files you want to share on an always on device such as a NAS ( network attached storage ) device.
A NAS drive ( often referred to as a NAS box, NAS server, NAS appliance ) is normally a small(ish) always on device connected to your network ( often plugged straight into your router or hub ) that is available to all network users. This is the ideal solution for smalloffice/home office file sharing and could also be utilised for backups.
The cost of NAS boxes has dropped considerably over the last 5 years with entry leve devices now coming in at around £100.This will give you network attached storage with a single 1TB drive. If however you intend to use your NAS box for file sharing and have no other way of backing up your data, then you will want a business focused NAS box with RAID 1 ( a NAS box that has two drives that mirror the data on both drives to prevent data loss in the case of a drive failure ) – entry level boxes starting at around £200.