Following our discussion about the docking station and monitors, my next topic will be external storage for a home office.
External storage is a valuable asset for safeguarding your data, whether it's in the form of a USB thumb drive, a USB external hard disk, or a NAS (Network-attached storage). Storing your data externally can help prevent data loss in case of computer issues. When considering the purchase of a USB external storage device, ensure it is at least USB 3.2 compliant, as this has been the standard since 2017 and is the last generation to feature USB-A connectors.
You might wonder why not opt for USB4 or USB4 v2.0. Firstly, these are the most recent USB standards, and your home computer may not support these formats. Secondly, these standards exclusively use USB-C connectors, making them incompatible with older computers. Certainly, if your budget permits and the computers you are using have a USB-C port, it's a nice hardware to consider.
If you need more extensive storage or desire versioned backups for your files, opt for a NAS (Network Attached Storage). As the name suggests, a NAS isn't a device connected via a USB cable. Instead, it's a standalone hardware that requires setup on your home network. Don't be intimidated by the term "networking." Setting up a NAS is straightforward, and its potential is truly formidable when you make the most of all its features. Nowadays, many NAS units include functions such as media servers, backups, FTP servers, and storage servers. Some top-tier NAS models can even serve as your personal email or web server. When selecting a NAS, there are several factors you need to consider.
Storage: Every NAS comes with 2 or more bays, and the number of bays determines how many hard disks you can connect to the device. The majority of NAS units support 18 TB hard disks per bay, meaning a 2-bay NAS can effortlessly accommodate 32 TB of data.
Networking: While some NAS units may include WiFi connectivity, it's generally more reliable to use an Ethernet connection. All NAS devices should already be equipped with at least one 1GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) connection, and some models may feature two for enhanced connectivity options.
USB Port: It's beneficial to have a USB port for swift backups of your USB storage.
RAM: Unless you intend to use the NAS as a media server, 1GB or 2GB should suffice for basic requirements.
In summary, a storage device is a lasting investment. Consider your future needs before making a purchase.