How to Safely Store Your Digital Hoard

The first step is admitting you have a problem, so here goes: I am a digital hoarder. Photos, videos, movies, music—you name it, I hoard it. If you’re a digital hoarder too (or even an aspiring one) you might be wondering where I store and keep all this data safe. It’s a great question and one without a simple answer.


Different Strokes…

There are several different ways to handle data storage. You can use direct-attached storage (DAS) or network-attached storage (NAS). As you might guess, DAS means that the storage device is connected directly to your laptop or computer via a cable. These devices are also known as external hard drives. NAS storage, on the other hand, is connected to your computer or laptop via a network connection, like your home WiFi.



In this post I’ll focus on network-attached storage devices because they’re far more convenient and efficient if you’re storing a lot of digital media. As opposed to having to plug the device in and out each time you’d like to back up data, a NAS is automatically connected to your computer via WiFi. This allows you to quickly drop files to the storage device. The other advantage of NAS is that anyone on your network can access your files making it easy for family members to share files.


So now that we’ve established that NAS is the way to go if you have a large stash of digital files, we can take a look at some NAS devices. If you’re not completely overrun with media, you might be happy with a simple NAS hard drive like the Western Digital 2TB External Hard Drive. This device offers 2TB of storage and free desktop and mobile apps that will allow you to easily manage your files. One thing to note about this device is that it features a single drive. This means that if that drive fails you lose all your data, unless you’re backing up to yet another device or using a cloud backup solution.


If you’re looking for a bit more space and security, the next step up is the Western Digital 4TB My Cloud Mirror NAS. This device works in a very similar manner to the 2TB External Hard Drive but it features two drives. When set up using Mirror Mode, this means that if one of the drives fails, your data stays safe on the second. If you’re not worried about backing your data up, you can opt for settings that will allow for faster performance and increased capacity.


For true hoarders like me, a network storage enclosure offers the flexibility to choose your own hard drives and replace them as needed. The beauty of choosing your own drives is that you can choose your capacity: 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB drives. The only catch is that all the drives housed in the enclosure will need to have the same capacity. Also, keep in mind that the higher the capacity of the drives, the higher the price tag. If you decide to go with an enclosure, check out the D-Link ShareCenter+ 2-Bay Cloud Network Storage Enclosure. This one has two bays for external drives but there are models that feature more bays.


One Caveat

Using NAS and DAS storage devices is a great way to store your data because you can get fast uploads, so you can transfer your data quickly. That being said, if you’re also looking to backup your data to protect it, it’s worth mentioning that you should look into using a cloud storage services, such as Crashplan, to protect your data in case of fire or flood in your home.

By Mike Agerbo

February 03, 2015