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What is NAS backup? NAS backup software solutions

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Updated 28th November 2022, Rob Morrison

In the digital world, regular backups are an absolute must and unavoidable. There is nothing worse than the sudden loss of your documents, photos or videos. NAS backups allow you to back up data using the so-called 3-2-1 method. This method consists of three different copies of data: two internal media and one external backup. For the best possible backup of your data, this method can be easily combined with backup software.

What exactly is meant by Network Attached Storage (NAS), what are the advantages of this type of data backup and how to back up your data with Bacula Enterprise, we have summarized for you below.

What is NAS backup and what does NAS data backup mean?

NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a network attached storage. A NAS backup requires a NAS device, which is effectively a small computer because it has an enclosure, a processor, an operating system, and at least one hard drive. The device is linked to your router with a network cable, making it part of your network. Through transfer protocols, the data is backed up on the network.

NAS data backup does not need a specific PC or server to back up data, as it can work automatically due to the direct network connection.

Thanks to NAS data backup, backups can be done simultaneously from multiple devices. All data is backed up centrally on the network. The automatic backup guarantees that all data is always stored in the backup and thus the probability of data loss is significantly reduced.

How does a NAS backup work?

First and foremost, a NAS backup is used to secure data. Here’s how it works:

  • All data from different PCs, smartphones and other devices can be backed up with a NAS data backup – no matter where they are located.
  • The NAS device has an additional USB port for possible extensions or for example a printer – so documents etc. can also be printed from all devices within the network.
  • Access in the local network can be controlled by the administrator. Of course, it is also possible to give rights to different employees.
  • NAS devices can be operated with reliable hard disk configuration, so that in case of failure the data is saved on a mirrored hard disk (e.g. RAID-1 mirroring) and there is no risk of data loss.
  • NAS servers support the following protocols: SMB, AFP, CIFS, NFS.
  • Any device within the local network can access the NAS server.

Why do you need a NAS system?

NAS systems can be used for different types of data backup. For example, for these:

Data Storage

A network storage is the ideal backup system for small businesses. Thanks to the 4 hard disk slots, one can backup up to 40 TB of different data from the entire network with a NAS backup. Additionally, one can fully automate the backup thanks to appropriate backup software. This type of backup is extremely easy to manage.

Backup system for companies

There are professional NAS systems for companies and enterprises, with their own mail server. A VPN connection allows employees to securely access the internal NAS network, even from home. This is possible, for example, with secure FTP access or WebDAV standard.

Employees can even synchronize calendar entries and address data so that important information is always at everyone’s fingertips.

NAS systems can also be used for surveillance. To do this, all you have to do is connect surveillance cameras to NAS servers and install the appropriate software. For companies that want to implement a NAS backup solution, it is advisable to use backup software, such as Synology backup software from Bacula.


The NAS system is usually connected to a router and allows all members that are on the network to always have access to it. Thus, NAS systems are also perfect as a private cloud, since NAS data backup can be done over the Internet. This type of backup is an excellent alternative to other clouds, such as Google Drive or iCloud. This solution is useful for businesses and also for individuals.

Media archive

NAS devices are not only suitable for backing up documents and files, but also for storing different media. Stored movies, pictures, etc. are always available for everyone in the network and can be played on different devices such as a TV. For this, the UPnP AV server must be activated on a smart TV so that the TV can recognize the NAS device. Alternatively, the media can be played on devices that are directly connected to the NAS system via the network.

Furthermore, NAS devices can convert certain content into formats so that it can be played on a receiving device. For example, MKV files can be converted to MP4 if a terminal device can only play MP4. The conversion is done automatically. Since all devices on the network can access the NAS server, a NAS system is great as a media archive for the family or even micro-businesses.

NAS system interfaces

Normally, a NAS backup system is directly part of the network via Ethernet or TCP/IP. The intelligent design of the devices makes it possible to use multiple interfaces simultaneously. However, this requires additional NAS implementations to allow multiple accesses to files.

If a NAS system is used only for home use, one can simply customize a web interface. Unlike SAN systems (storage area networks), access to NAS servers then runs via NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP or SMB protocols.

NAS data backup advantages and disadvantages

Data backup using a NAS system has many advantages, but also some challenges:


  • Fast and easy. NAS systems have a fast connection and are a user-friendly solution for data backup.
  • Low power consumption. Most servers consume little power even though they operate nearly 24 hours a day. NAS devices typically consume 10 to 20 watts.
  • Large data volumes. Thanks to multiple hard disk slots, a NAS device can handle larger volumes of data.
  • Centralized storage. Vast amounts of device data can be stored centrally and made available to all users on the network.
  • Data security. If the device is RAID-enabled, security is guaranteed.
  • High transfer speed. High-quality NAS devices with Gigabit LAN have a high transmission speed.


  • Slow data transfer. NAS systems usually transfer data slower compared to USB 3.0, unless you have a NAS model with Gigabit LAN.
  • Crypto Trojan. Without RAID 1 or RAID 6, a NAS system can be vulnerable to crypto Trojans.
  • Standalone software solutions needed. NAS systems need backup software to be used in the best possible way, for example, Synology data backup software from Bacula Enterprise is recommended here.

NAS Backup protection

There is no such thing as the perfect backup. But the 3-2-1 backup principle comes close. In addition to the NAS data backup, it is advisable to have at least one other backup. If a NAS system is used as a storage location and not as a backup, one should create a backup in any case to avoid data loss.

There are several options here:

  • Backup with another NAS system: data can be backed up easily and quickly with a NAS protocol here.
  • External backup, e.g. a USB hard drive: works quickly and easily, but not automatically. Applications or system configurations cannot be backed up here either.
  • Cloud: the most flexible solution, as little storage space is required. The acquisition costs are low and hardly any maintenance is required.
  • Backup on a file server: This requires more storage space, compared to a NAS system. Supported protocols are: WebDAV, HTTP, OpenStack, rsync, and S3.

NAS backup software solutions from Bacula

Suitable for Synology data backup software and other NAS vendors – Bacula Enterprise.

The open-core Bacula Enterprise product is designed to meet the data backup needs of IT organizations responsible for NAS-based (Synology and other vendors) infrastructures that cannot afford additional high-end backup software due to cost.

Bacula Enterprise’s backup software consists of four elements: the Bacula Enterprise Edition, the Bare Metal Recovery for Linux, the NDMP tool and the Accelerator for NetApp. The backup solution can be installed and customized in a normal Bacula Enterprise environment in a short time.


  • Bacula Enterprise backup software is a standalone, all-in-one NAS software for Synology, NDMP– and a program for NetApp functions.
  • Individual data can be conveniently restored.
  • Data is backed up reliably, completely, and incrementally to your NAS device.
  • Rapid image backup at the block level of your NetApp (SMTAPE).
  • Possibility to restore data from your NAS server.
  • Support of classic tapes and hard disks.
  • Saves space with deduplication on an external Synology backup.
  • Compression of Comm-line saves network bandwidth, facilitating backup to the cloud.
  • The backup is automatic.
  • Encryption between backup system elements and your NAS storage provides better security.

Synology Cloud Backup

With Synology backup software from Bacula Enterprise, you can use the following clouds:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon and S3
  • Google
  • Oracle

NAS backup with Bacula Enterprise is available exclusively for Red Hat Enterprise Linux platforms, but is also compatible with several other vendors:

  • Hitachi BlueArc (Bacula Enterprise 6 and higher)
  • NetApp with Data ONTAP 7.3 and higher
  • EMC Celera (Bacula Enterprise 6 and higher)


Classic USB backups protect against data loss in case of hardware defects and accidental deletion. They are the simplest form of backing up your data.
With cloud backups and NAS apps, you further protect your data from theft and other eventualities as the data is stored with third parties. A cloud backup is flexible and offers a wider range of tools, but copies more data than necessary. Both options are needed to encrypt your data.
Backing up to a private, off-site server is optimal, but rarely considered by home users because it seems complicated and expensive.
For the best possible backup of your data, it is advisable to acquire some know-how and decide what is the best solution for you privately based on this. Businesses should consult an expert here.
In principle, you can’t go wrong with an encrypted cloud backup, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the optimal solution for you or your company.

About the author
Rob Morrison
Rob Morrison is the marketing director at Bacula Systems. He started his IT marketing career with Silicon Graphics in Switzerland, performing strongly in various marketing management roles for almost 10 years. In the next 10 years Rob also held various marketing management positions in JBoss, Red Hat and Pentaho ensuring market share growth for these well-known companies. He is a graduate of Plymouth University and holds an Honours Digital Media and Communications degree, and completed an Overseas Studies Program.
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