NAS and the Hybrid Cloud

illustration of a NAS device and cloud storage

Upgrading to network attached storage (NAS) can be a game changer for your business. When you invest in NAS, you get easier collaboration, faster restores, 24/7 file availability, and added redundancy. But you can get an even bigger return on your investment by pairing it with cloud storage. When you combine NAS with a trusted cloud storage provider in a hybrid cloud strategy, you gain access to features that complement the security of your data and your ability to share files both locally and remotely.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can achieve a hybrid cloud strategy with NAS and cloud storage.

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What Is Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud strategy uses a private cloud and public cloud in combination. To expand on that a bit, we can say that the hybrid cloud refers to a cloud environment made up of a mixture of typically on-premises, private cloud resources combined with third-party public cloud resources that use some kind of orchestration between them. A private cloud doesn’t necessarily need to live on-premises—some companies rent space in a data center to host the infrastructure for their private cloud—the important defining factor is that a private cloud is dedicated to only one “tenant” or organization.

illustration of hybrid cloud - private cloud sending data to public cloud
A hybrid cloud strategy combines a private cloud with a public cloud.

In this case, your NAS device serves as the on-premises private cloud, as it’s dedicated to only you or your organization, and then you connect it to the public cloud.

What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud model offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Off-site backup protection.
  • Added security features.
  • Remote sync capabilities.
  • Flexibility and cost savings.

Hybrid Cloud Benefit 1: Off-site Backup Protection

To start with, cloud storage provides off-site backup protection. This aligns your NAS setup with the industry standard for data protection: a 3-2-1 backup strategy—which ensures that you have three copies of your data on two different media (read: devices) with one stored off-site. When using NAS and the cloud in a hybrid strategy, you have three copies of your data—the source data and two backups. One of those backups lives on your NAS and one is stored off-site in the cloud. In the event of data loss, you can restore your systems directly from the cloud even if all the systems in your office are knocked out or destroyed.

Hybrid Cloud Benefit 2: Added Security Features

Data sent to the cloud is encrypted in-flight via SSL, and you can also encrypt your backups so that they are only openable with your team’s encryption key. The cloud can also give you advanced storage options for your backup files, like Object Lock. Object Lock allows you to store data using a Write Once, Read Many (WORM) model. Once you set Object Lock and the retention timeframe, your data stored with Object Lock is unchangeable for a defined period of time. You can also set custom data lifecycle rules at the bucket level to help match your ideal backup workflow.

Hybrid Cloud Benefit 3: Remote Sync Capabilities

Cloud storage provides valuable access to your data and documents from your NAS through sync capabilities. In case anyone on your team needs to access a file when they are away from the office, or as is more common now, when your entire team is working from home, they’ll be able to access the files that have been synced to the cloud through your NAS’s secure sync program. You can even sync across multiple locations using the cloud as a two-way sync to quickly replicate data across locations. For employees collaborating remotely, this helps to ensure they’re not waiting on the internet to deliver critical files: They’re already on-site.

What’s the Difference Between Cloud Sync, Cloud Backup, and Cloud Storage?

Sync services allow multiple users across multiple devices to access the same file. Backup stores a copy of those files somewhere remote from your work environment, usually in an off-site server—like cloud storage. It’s important to know that a “sync” is not a backup, but they can work well together when properly coordinated.

Hybrid Cloud Benefit 4: Flexibility and Cost Savings

Additionally, two of the biggest advantages of the hybrid cloud are flexibility and cost savings. Provisioning an additional device to store backups and physically separating it from your production data is time consuming and costly. The cloud eliminates the need to provision and maintain additional hardware while keeping your data protected with a 3-2-1 strategy, and it can be scaled up or down flexibly as needed.

With NAS on-site for fast, local access combined with the cloud for off-site backups and storage of less frequently used files, you get the best of both worlds.

How to Set Up a Hybrid Cloud With NAS

Some cloud providers are already integrated with NAS systems. (Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage is integrated with NAS systems from Synology and QNAP, for example.) Check if your preferred NAS system is already integrated with a cloud storage provider to ensure setting up cloud backup, storage, and sync is as easy as possible.

Your NAS should come with a built-in backup manager, like Hyper Backup from Synology or Hybrid Backup Sync from QNAP. Once you download and install the appropriate backup manager app, you can configure it to send backups to your preferred cloud provider. You can also fine-tune the behavior of the backup jobs, including what gets backed up and how often.

Now, you can send backups to the cloud as a third, off-site backup and use your cloud instance to access files anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Wondering If NAS Is Right for You?

Our Complete NAS Guide provides comprehensive information on NAS and what it can do for your business, how to evaluate and purchase a NAS system, and how to deploy your NAS. Download the guide today for more on all things NAS.


About Molly Clancy

Molly Clancy is a content writer who specializes in explaining tech concepts in an easy, approachable way. With more than 15 years of experience, she has a broad background in industries ranging from B2B tech to engineering to luxury travel. A deep curiosity drives her repeated success explaining what terms like OS kernel and preflight request mean so that anyone can understand them.