Network Backups Explained

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 Backup

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

CD/DVD/Blu-ray Disc

Pros: Cheap

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.

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund