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NAS Backup

NAS Backup: Key Considerations for Enterprise Deployments

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What Is Network-Attached Storage (NAS) Backup?

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) technology allows multiple users and client devices to retrieve data from a centralized disk space on a dedicated storage device. A standard Ethernet connection allows users on a local area network (LAN) to access dedicated storage via the NAS protocol.

NAS technology is important for many collaborative workflows, as it provides capabilities like file storage, data sync and data sharing on corporate networks. NAS devices are central to maintaining everyday enterprise operations, so they require proper protection to ensure that any data they hold remains secure and is available when needed, and is retrievable in the event of a failure or disaster.

This article will present the main approaches and strategies to NAS backup in an enterprise setting.

This is part of an extensive series of guides about data breach.

In this article, you will learn:

Approaches to NAS Backup

You can optimize operating systems for storage performance and run them on NAS appliances, but you cannot use standard backup agents. Popular NAS backup strategies include:

  • Online data backup—NAS device vendors integrate with cloud services to provide added reliability, by enabling backup to cloud-based storage while retaining high performance of local NAS devices.
  • NAS-based data replication—the data stored on one NAS device is duplicated to a second device. Vendors combine local and remote replication strategies.
  • NDMP backup—the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) was designed to make backup of NAS devices more efficient. With NDMP, NAS devices can send data straight to a backup server without the need for a backup client. The backup server communicates with the NAS device directly across the network, specifying the data to be sent from the storage device for backup. NDMP backups are the best approach for file data. Learn more in our in-depth guide to NDMP (coming soon)
  • Traditional network-based backup—any server that accessed NAS storage has a backup agent. The agents sent the data across the LAN to a backup server. This client-server backup strategy is less effective than other NAS backup strategies because it results in increased network traffic. Data travels from the NAS device to the client, and from there to the primary backup server. Another downside is that backup agents can produce multiple copies of the same file.

NAS Backup Strategies

Backup to Another NAS

Data from one NAS can be backed up to another through the network. If you are using an external machine connected to NAS shares on both devices, there is a risk of the network being overloaded, slowing down data transfer. Make sure your NAS device supports remote shared folders that can directly copy data from the NAS to a different NAS.

If the NAS allows you to create scheduled tasks, try setting up periodic backups of your data. However, there is the same drawback here is with the external hard disk method—a lack of application awareness. The backed up data may be inconsistent if the files being backed up are opened by an application.

Cloud NAS Backup

If you have a cloud account (Amazon, Azure, OneDrive, etc), you can back up your data from NAS to the cloud. You will need to make sure your security policy allows for storing data in public cloud environments. Backing up data in the cloud helps protect it against physical damage to your data center. Check if your NAS vendor offers built-in features for synchronizing NAS files and directories with cloud storage.

NetApp Cloud Backup is a backup and restore service for NetApp Cloud Volumes deployments and on-premises ONTAP clusters. Leveraging NetApp’s SnapMirror Cloud replication technology, backups are transferred and stored in a highly durable cloud-based object storage. Backups are automatically generated and stored in an object store within your cloud account, independent of volume Snapshot copies used for near-term recovery or cloning, so that you can effortlessly restore data anytime and to anywhere you need it.

The highest level of security as backup copies are stored in your own object storage. As well, data is end-to-end encrypted with AES-256-bit encryption at-rest and with TLS 1.2 HTTPS connections when in-flight.

Get Started with NetApp Cloud Backup

Securing Your NAS Backup

NAS backup often involves setting up an additional NAS server either offsite or on-premises. Applying security best practices to your NAS backup is essential, as this is what will allow you to restore critical data in the event of a disaster.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

While traditional backup methods (i.e, storing your backups either on an external disk, NAS device or the cloud) help reduce the risk of data loss and allow you to restore the backed up data, they do not provide full protection nor address the risk of the backups being corrupted.

The 3-2-1 backup rule offers greater protection compared to relying on a single backup storage system. 3-2-1 stipulates maintaining three or more copies of the data, using at least two types of backup media, with one copy stored physically offsite.

If a disaster impacts your primary data center, it can destroy your primary storage facilities as well as secondary storage devices like your onsite NAS. The 3-2-1 strategy ensures your backups have enough redundancy to enable a full restoration. If two data copies are destroyed, you will still have a third copy stored remotely.

Other Security Measures

Keep your server updated
Be diligent about server updates. This will help eliminate known vulnerabilities in time to prevent an exploit, and can improve NAS performance. Regularly check for and apply new updates.

Set up two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication combines two methods of identification to ensure that only an authorized user can access sensitive resources. For example, combine a username and password with a code sent to the user’s mobile device.

Encrypt Data at Rest
Many NAS devices offer hardware-based encryption of all data stored on the device. Ensure all data on your NAS is encrypted by default, and when performing backups, prefer to only backup encrypted data. This will ensure that even if attackers compromise your backups, the data will be useless to them.

Use HTTPS to Encrypt Data in Transit
Make sure you use an HTTPS connection when you access your NAS remotely. Your connection will be encrypted to prevent the interception or tampering of data. Install an SSL certificate and link it to your NAS IP address to enable HTTPS.

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Want to learn more about NAS backup?

See our additional blog posts on related topics.

Cloud NAS Backup: Why and How to Move NAS Backup to the Cloud

Cloud Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a remote storage solution that you can access in the same way as local NAS storage, only via the Internet. Learn about the advantages of cloud-based NAS backup services in terms of performance, cost, and reliability, and discover 3 methods to transfer data to cloud-based NAS

Read more: Cloud NAS Backup: Why and Howto Move NAS Backup to the Cloud.

5 NAS Backup Strategies and Their Pros and Cons

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) allows access to storage drives via a network. A NAS backup strategy is a technical method for backing up NAS data to another system or device. Learn about common NAS backup strategies including directly attached drive, network-based backup, and backup to secondary NAS device.

Read more: 5 NAS Backup Strategies and Their Pros and Cons.

NDMP: A Brief History, Architecture, and Common Topologies

Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) is an open network protocol for controlling communications between primary and secondary storage. Understand how the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) protocol evolved, how it works, and how to organize your network to effectively use it.

Read more: NDMP: A Brief History, Architecture, and Common Topologies

How to Shorten Your Backup Windows (and Why NDMP Doesn't Help)

The Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) has been one of the key backup methods used to protect NAS data. However, today’s data estates have grown so large that NDMP-based technologies can’t back up without losing data along the way. For ONTAP users, that’s unacceptable. Cloud Backup offers a better solution.

Read more: How to Shorten Your Backup Windows (and Why NDMP Doesn't Help)

Direct Backups: Why You Should Forget About Indirect Backups

Relying on an NDMP-based backup solution that leverages a media gateway can slow down your backup process and open up the door to security risks and unreliability. For more reliable and effective backups direct backups between the source and destination are a must. This blog looks at why indirect backups fail and the benefits of direct backups with NetApp Cloud Backup.

Read more: Direct Backups: Why You Should Forget About Indirect Backups

Why Block-Level Backups Are 10 Times Faster and 1/10th of the Price of File-Level Backups

What’s the real difference between using NDMP-based backup solutions and Cloud Backup for NAS data? Time and money. In this post we look at how Cloud Backup makes significant cost and time savings over dated NDMP-based backup methods.

Read more: Why Block-Level Backups Are 10 Times Faster and 1/10th of the Price of File-Level Backups

See Our Additional Guides on Key Data Breach Topics

Together with our content partners, we have authored in-depth guides on several other topics that can also be useful as you explore the world of data breach.

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Azure Backup

Data Backup

Authored by Cloudian

Denisse Soker, Cloud Backup

Cloud Backup