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Network Attached External Hard Drive - is it a new wave or another fad?

A question posed to me by a customer was why would a NAS be a better choice over an Network Attached External Hard Drive such as the Seagate 2TB GoFlex Home Network Storage System.

Now I am an advocate for the Security provided by a Server, it could be a Windows, Linux, or other Operating System only when the OS is setup in such a way as it has a Domain that provides the highest security.

By using an External NAS such as the Seagate above you are opening your data to thief.

Why do I say that?

Because the security is done by sharing with a non-domain computer, be it a Mac, Linux, or Windows OS which is easily by passed by even a novice hacker (nor will I help the hackers by publishing how this is done on my web sites!) but it is easy and can be coded in to a virus. There is another problem with these devices:

Most Network Attached External Hard Drives come with or have the added option of being wireless, that increases your chance of being hacked.

Because the security of a workstation OS is of lower quality than a Server the hacker / thief can build in cracking tools in their virus, some viruses are very sophisticated, so sophisticated that they have been used to disrupt whole networks.

Not bragging here, an example: My office server has 6 TB of storage to access it you need four things:

  • A Domain user id
  • A Domain password
  • Access to my wired network
  • And to gain access to my network you have to be in the same building.

By contrast if you have an Network Attached External Hard Drive that has a wireless connection someone sitting in their parents basement can use a hacked computer close to your network and proceed to hack into your storage.

Don't think so?

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You have a wireless router/access point? Go to the Properties of My Networks, find your wireless adapter, right click it and open the "View available wireless networks". I have eight close enough to mine that I could connect to, two are unsecured!

You can not access my wired network from the wireless access point in my office with out a Domain Name, Domain User ID, and Domain Password.

I understand that having a wired network in your office / home is expensive that is why wireless is so popular but you could have a wired network in one area, such as a closet (lockable to keep the curious from the keyboard/mouse of a server) or like me in my office then connect your wireless to the wired network.

The main idea here is to increase the security of any network you use and store data on, and wireless is the most susceptible for hackers if they can get your signal, as I pointed out about the number of open wireless networks close to mine.

That is why I wrote this NAS article  and included instructions in the Self Computer Repair Unleashed 2nd Edition Manual Chapter 6.

You don't have to buy an expensive computer to create a Server, if you have an older computer or are in the mode to buy a new one the old computer will work just fine as a NAS, just up grade the network capability and increase the storage with a few more hard drives, SATA 1 or 2/3/4/5 TB hard drives now cost less than $100! Once you have the NAS built and operational all you now need is a Server OS. Then add the external drive to the Server with out the wireless!

A server OS can cost as little as your time to lean how to use it (Linux) or $50 or more depending on what company you buy it from (Mac, Windows, Novell, etc) but the quality will be higher than with the free stuff.

Remember: Your data will remain yours as long as you secure it!

I would be remiss if I gave you the impression that setting up a server is easy, it isn't. It will take some time and there is a learning curve. I don't suggest you enroll in MCSE crash course nor would I suggest you use one of those 'Servers for Dummies' books because they don't cover the topic of Domain Security in enough detail.

Right Kermit? :)

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