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How to backup your NAS Drive to the Cloud

By now, you may know that backing up your data is crucial. In order to ensure that you can access it at any stage, choosing a reliable option is very important. All your important data should be protected, including data that is stored on your NAS drive. The first option that may come to your mind would be to back it up to your local drive. This can be done on a regular basis by connecting the NAS drive to your computer via USB. Alternatively, you can use a file syncing program like GoodSync. While this would be a good solution, it is advisable to back up the data in multiple places. You can use two different media for local storage such as the NAS drive and a local computer’s hard drive. It can be configured for RAID backup for extra redundancy. In addition, there should be one offsite location, as well as backup to the cloud. A cloud backup solution will help you to prevent the possible issues that may arise if your hardware is stolen, lost or damaged.

Are there any cases in which backing your NAS to the cloud is not advisable?

The cost of cloud storage is high and if there is a lot of data involved, transferring it can be difficult and it will have an impact on your bandwidth. Backing up your data locally is very easy and you can do it pretty much for free, it is important to consider using online backup for the most valuable data. Although cloud storage can help you to preserve your photos, videos, music and other files that can’t be easily replaced, it should be notes that the data stored in the cloud may be compromised by hackers or accessed by the likes of the NSA. If you are concerned about your privacy, you may want to avoid most commercial services.

While some of them offer the possibility of encrypting your data, they are in charge of the encryption and as such they hold the keys, meaning that they are not the most secure option. You can still store sensitive data to the cloud, but it is important that you encrypt it by yourself before doing so. The encryption keys should only be held by you or by people that you really trust. One good option is to create a TrueCrypt container within a cloud storage folder (of the service of your choice), is a good solution to enhance the security of the data that you store in the cloud.

NAS to Cloud Backup Solutions

There is a wide selection of commercial backup solutions that support NAS backup. Some NAS device manufacturers even partner with these services to provide special offers when you start a subscription. Synology is a popular NAS solution and it is known for working in combination with backup services to provide customers better deals when they subscribe. Carbonite and CrashPlan are two of the best commercial backup solutions for NAS.

While in general, you would need to pay in order to get the best level of online storage, you can use the plans that you already have, instead of looking for a service that is focused on NAS backup. The majority of NAS backup methods involve mapping your NAS drive, which gives it a drive letter that allows it to be dealt with as you would with a regular hard drive.

How to map your NAS drive in Windows

  1. Click the Start button and go to Computer. Then select Map network drive.
  2. Select a drive letter and go to the NAS device location. If a password is required, check the Connect using different credentials box. You will be asked to provide the password.
  3. Now you will see your NAS router as a lettered drive under Network locations. Windows will treat it as if it was any other drive.

How to backup your NAS to online storage

Although the instructions described here are for Windows and Dropbox, the process is very similar in other platforms like MacOS and with other cloud services that rely on backup folders. There are different methods, staring with the below, which doesn’t require additional software.

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon in the Task Bar Notification Area. Then click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the pop-up window. Select Preference.
  2. In the Advanced tab. select “Move…” under Dropbox (or the service you are using) location.
  3. With Dropbox, you can go directly yo your NAS, or if you have mapped your NAS to a drive letter, you can go there.

All the data saved to Dropbox will be stored on your NAS and it will be automatically backed up to the Dropbox cloud. In order to enhance the protection to your data, you can save files to a local drive.

The second method allows you to carry out the backup process in an automatic way. You won’t need to save files to multiple locations and while it requires additional software, you can find free solutions like Allway Sync. Here are the steps required.

  1. After downloading and installing Allway Sync, run the application and go to Job. There, you will need to select Add New Job. On the left, you can select your NAS drive or folder. This can be done by selecting Network folder and then entering its network path and the login details. Alternatively, you can choose “Windows folder” and select a drive letter that you previously mapped to it. Select your Dropbox folder on the right.
  2. Click on “Change”, which is the arrow that points in both directions. Toggle the radio button to the left to sync the files from the NAS device to your cloud storage folder. You can save files in your Dropbox to mirror on your NAS or the other way around too. The setting can be left unchanged, meaning that it will sync both ways, plus to the Dropbox cloud.
  3. Select “Analyze” to allow Allway Sync to check and report on the changes that need to be implemented. Make sure that you take a look at the changes and their results before clicking “Synchronize”.

Although Allway Sync doesn’t have an appealing interface, it is an advanced solution that supports multiple synchronization options. Keep in mind that the above are some options that will allow you to backup your NAS to the cloud, but they are not the only ones.