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1 Synology DiskStation DS1522+

The best network attached storage (NAS) devices can revolutionize the way your small business stores, secures, and accesses its critical data. A NAS acts as your own private cloud, providing a central repository for files that can be easily reached by multiple users across the network. Choosing the right NAS is essential to ensure it meets your company‘s storage requirements and can scale as your data grows.

As a small business owner, you want a NAS that delivers the performance, capacity and data protection features needed to safeguard your irreplaceable business data, without breaking the bank. It should be simple enough for you and your employees to manage without IT expertise. To help you make the right choice, I‘ve assembled this guide to the best NAS devices for small businesses.

The cornerstone of any effective small business storage strategy is a NAS that‘s sized to meet your current needs with room to grow. Storage capacity is the first consideration. Calculate how much data you have now, then project how much you‘ll accumulate over the next three to five years. A scalable NAS that can accept additional drives or expansion units will prevent an expensive "forklift" upgrade later.

Performance is paramount for multi-user environments. The NAS should have a multi-core Intel or AMD processor and at least 4GB of RAM (the more the better) to deliver speedy file access. An SSD cache will further accelerate performance. 2.5GbE or 10GbE Ethernet ports prevent network bottlenecks. Configure multiple drives in a RAID array for an optimal balance of capacity, performance and redundancy.

Data security should be a top priority for any business. The best small business NAS solutions feature hardware encryption to protect data at rest. Fine-grained access controls ensure only authorized users can reach specific files and folders. Built-in support for virtual private networks (VPNs) and a pre-installed firewall safeguard your data from prying eyes.

To ensure your NAS keeps humming along 24/7, insist on reliability features starting with hot-swappable drives for non-disruptive replacement of failed disks. Dual Ethernet ports and redundant power supplies eliminate single points of failure. A NAS with twin M.2 SSD slots provides the option to mirror the operating system drive.

Real-time snapshots and multi-version backup are powerful tools for minimizing data loss from accidental deletion, ransomware, and other threats. With block-level remote replication, you can create an offsite copy of your data for disaster recovery. Cloud backup support integrates your NAS into a 3-2-1 backup strategy, with three copies of your data, on two types of media, with one copy offsite.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased remote work. A NAS with secure remote access allows your work-from-home employees to safely access the files they need to stay productive. With a virtual private network (VPN), remote workers can securely tunnel into the network and work like they‘re at the office.

Because you likely don‘t have an IT department to administer your NAS, it must be easy to deploy and manage. Through an intuitive web browser interface, you should be able to quickly configure user accounts, create shared folders, set up backups, and monitor storage utilization and hardware health. The leading NAS operating systems offer a library of installable apps to extend functionality.

Now that you know what to look for in a small business NAS, let‘s count down my top five picks:

For the ultimate combination of scalability, performance, and data protection, you can‘t beat the Synology DiskStation DS1522+. This 5-bay powerhouse lets you start with a few drives and expand up to 15 disks by connecting two DX517 expansion units.

Driving the DS1522+ is a snappy quad-core AMD Ryzen D1700 CPU with 8GB of DDR4 memory (expandable to 32GB) for blazing multi-user performance. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports provide plenty of network bandwidth, with the option to add a 10GbE card. For the fastest storage possible, populate the dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots and configure SSD caching.

Synology‘s DiskStation Manager (DSM) is the gold standard for NAS operating systems. Its clean, intuitive interface makes configuration a breeze. DSM protects your data with an arsenal of availability and security features including snapshots, replication, RAID, VPN, encryption, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.

Remote workers can securely access files using Synology‘s QuickConnect and encrypted communications in popular apps like Synology Office and Synology Drive. With Active Backup for Business, you can consolidate backup tasks for PCs, servers, virtual machines, and Microsoft 365/Google Workspace.

Choosing the DS1522+ means your NAS can grow along with your storage and performance needs while providing unmatched flexibility and data protection. It‘s hands-down the best NAS for most small businesses.

If your business requires the speed of 10GbE and flexibility to mix HDDs and SSDs, the QNAP TS-h973AX-8G is a fantastic choice. This 9-bay hybrid NAS is powered by an AMD Ryzen V1000 series quad-core chip and comes with 8GB of RAM (expandable to 64GB).

Two 2.5GbE and one 10GbE port deliver outstanding connectivity. Pop in up to four M.2 SSDs for blistering caching or high-speed storage pools. Accepted drives include both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch SATA drives and U.2 NVMe and SATA SSDs.

The TS-h973AX runs QuTS hero, QNAP‘s ZFS-based operating system. With Copy-on-write, data integrity, inline compression, and near-unlimited snapshots, it‘s an enterprise-class solution. Block-level remote replication and real-time tiering to cloud storage targets round out the data protection features.

Security is airtight with AES-256 encryption for all shared folders and network connections, plus a built-in firewall and VPN support. Employees can securely access the NAS from anywhere over the MyQNAPcloud service. Hybrid Backup Sync consolidates backup, restoration and synchronization tasks through a single console.

Ultimately, the TS-h973AX-8G is the NAS to get if you value the performance of 10GbE, flexibility of a hybrid HDD/SSD architecture, and hardened security and data integrity of ZFS. It‘s on the pricey side, but well worth the investment.

Delivering outstanding value, the TerraMaster F5-422 provides an affordable 5-bay foundation for your small business storage. An Intel Celeron quad-core CPU supplies solid performance, while 4GB of DDR3 memory ensures smooth multi-tasking.

You get dual Gigabit Ethernet ports for network redundancy and high availability. To boost storage speeds, add SSDs to the two M.2 slots and enable SSD caching. Five hot-swappable drive bays accommodate up to 80TB of total raw capacity using 16TB drives.

The F5-422 runs TerraMaster‘s TOS operating system. The latest version, TOS 4.2, features an attractive, easy-to-navigate interface that puts everything from user and group management to storage analysis at your fingertips. With just a few clicks, you can configure RAID arrays, create iSCSI storage targets, set up remote replication, and more.

TerraMaster has placed a big emphasis on data security in TOS 4.2. AES hardware encryption protects data at rest and meets strict regulatory requirements. Granular access controls through Windows ACL and RBAC ensure only authorized users can access folders and files. Antivirus software and a firewall are integrated.

Employees can access the F5-422 remotely using the TNAS mobile app, while TFTP and Cloud Drive keep files in sync between the NAS, computers, mobile devices and cloud services. TOS includes apps for data backup, multimedia serving and video surveillance, making this NAS a flexible storage repository.

While the F5-422 may not match the performance and scalability of pricier alternatives, it offers a generous set of features—including high-speed connectivity, SSD caching, hardware encryption, and remote access—in an affordable, user-friendly package. Small business buyers should give it serious consideration.

Don‘t let the budget-friendly price of the Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro AS3304T fool you. This compact 4-bay NAS boasts serious business features like 2.5GbE connectivity, M.2 NVMe SSD caching, and advanced data protection—perfect for small office and home office environments.

At the heart of the AS3304T is an Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core CPU running at 2.0GHz, backed by 2GB of DDR4 memory. It won‘t win any speed records, but offers capable performance for a small team, especially if you leverage the M.2 slots for SSD caching. Four SATA drive bays accommodate up to 72TB using 18TB drives.

Asustor keeps things user-friendly with its Linux-based ADM operating system. Key features for business users include AES-256 folder encryption, support for Windows ACL and RBAC, and a built-in firewall and antivirus. Employees can gain secure, private access to the NAS over the internet using the free AiMaster mobile app.

On the data protection front, the AS3304T supports real-time and scheduled snapshots, letting you quickly roll back to previous states in the event of data loss incidents. The MyArchive cold backup solution allows you to rotate drives offsite for disaster recovery. Backup to popular cloud services is also available through the Asus Backup Suite.

If you don‘t need massive storage space or lightning performance, the Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro AS33304T is a fantastic value for small businesses and remote workers, with surprisingly powerful features given its affordable price. It‘s a great starter NAS that provides a solid foundation for your data.

The baby brother to my top pick, the Synology DiskStation DS220+ packs a remarkable amount of power and functionality into a palm-sized, two-bay package. It‘s the ideal solution for small businesses with modest storage needs that want Synology‘s excellent DSM operating system and rich application ecosystem.

Powering the DS220+ is an Intel Celeron J4025 dual-core CPU and 2GB of DDR4 memory. Two drive bays accommodate up to 32TB with a pair of 16TB HDDs. Dual 1GbE Ethernet ports provide fast network connectivity and link aggregation support. The dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots can be used for caching to accelerate storage performance.

As a Synology NAS, the DS220+ benefits from the outstanding DSM software environment. My personal favorite for business use is Synology‘s Active Backup for Business, which makes it easy to consolidate backup tasks through a single console. It supports PC, server, VM, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace backups, simplifying data protection.

Other critical business capabilities in DSM include AES-256 encryption for individual shared folders, HTTPS web access, a built-in firewall, and multi-factor authentication. Employees can access files remotely using QuickConnect and sync data across devices with Synology Drive.

The ability to run Docker containers and virtual machines adds intriguing possibilities to offload compute-intensive workloads to your storage device. Plex, Wordpress, Git and CRM are some of the applications that can run directly on the NAS, though you‘ll want to upgrade the RAM for optimal results.

While it can‘t match the capacity, performance and expandability of larger NAS units, the DS220+ is a fantastic option for small businesses that want an affordable yet full-featured two-bay NAS. If you‘ve outgrown external drives and basic NAS devices but don‘t have the budget for a larger model, this mighty mite deserves a spot on your shortlist.

Choosing the best NAS for your small business requires carefully assessing your current storage needs and planning for future growth. With the right combination of capacity, performance, data protection and ease-of-use, a NAS can provide your business with a secure, centralized repository for its most valuable data assets.

Whether you opt for an expandable powerhouse like the Synology DiskStation DS1522+, the flexibility and performance of the QNAP TS-h973AX-8G, or a versatile, budget-friendly option like the TerraMaster F5-422 or Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro AS3304T, you‘ll be taking an important step toward safeguarding your business data. With the peace of mind that comes with knowing your files are protected, you can focus on what matters most—serving your customers and growing your business.