Network drives are one of the most popular locations to store backed up data. They offer easy access to anyone on a home or office network, allowing multiple users to backup to the same location. Setting one up usually involves purchasing a Network-attached storage (NAS) device. You can also share a computer over a network.
But they’re not right for everyone. And there are some considerations users should be aware of.
Benefits of Network Backups
- Multiple computers can backup to one location
- Gigabit ethernet is up to 2x faster than USB 2.0 (but not faster than 3.0)
- Wireless capability
- Flexible placement options
Downsides of Network Backups
- The network must be secure, or anyone can access the backups
- NAS devices are more expensive than external hard drives
Alternatives to Network Backups
Online backups are a type of network backup, except the backups are stored on an internet server instead of a local area network (LAN). These services usually charge a monthly fee for any large amount of data.
Pros: Backups are stored online and completely offsite, safe from fire and theft
Cons: Monthly subscription cost; security is paramount; backups are limited by internet connection speed
USB Hard Drive
Pros: Cheap; lots of storage space
Cons: Must be located close to computer being backed up
Cons: Limited capacity (backing up a single computer can require many discs); can’t re-write over old backups
Network drives are a great location for storing your backed up data. They offer more flexibility than USB with regards to placement. You can place the network drive much farther away. Finally, they are ideal when you have multiple users on a network and you want everyone to backup to the same location.