The most straightforward way to describe a NAS drive is to say that it is a really clever external hard drive. In fact, it is probably more similar to your computer than an external hard drive. The reason for this is that NAS drives come with a full operating system (usually a linux based one like freenas).
With an average external hard drive, if you want to back up some of your photographs, or if you want to copy some files you need to be close enough to the drive to plug it into your computer. This can restrict where you can do your work and it becomes even more awkward when you’re sharing a drive with another person!
All of this could be done with an old computer or server but NAS drives are purposely designed to be quieter and easier to set up, less expensive to buy and run (no massive electricity bills from having to leave a power consuming computer running all day and night!). They’re also built to give off less heat so that there is less chance of your hard drives becoming faulty.
A NAS drive (sometimes called a Network-Attached Storage Drive) will connect to your local network and premit you to backup and retrieve your files from wherever as long as you’re connected to the same network. because of this multiple people can access the NAS drive at the same time without having to fight over whose computer the drive will be connected to! It also means you can move around (if you’re connected via Wi-Fi) and do your work wherever you want.
Depending on what NAS drive you go for, NAS drives have heaps of other features. Some will be very useful to you whilst some you might not use at all. Before you buy a NAS drive it is important to make sure you know which features you want and which ones you don’t so that you can be sure you won’t pay too much for features you don’t need and you also won’t waste your money purchasing a NAS drive that doesn’t do everything you want it to.
Because there is so much you should know before buying a NAS drive, it is always a good idea to read plenty of NAS drive reviews before taking the plunge and buying something.