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Anyone used an 'off the shelf' NAS in a way that emulates the functionality of Dropbox... securely?

Posted on 2014-11-25
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Last Modified: 2014-12-01
Looking for an alternative to Dropbox since we have roughly 40+ people with devices, inside and outside the domain that require access to pdf's.  Committing ourselves to Dropbox will run us roughly $600 a month.  I've toyed with the idea of a NAS dual-homed inside and outside of our firewall.  I've yet to find an of-the-shelf solution. Remote access is required for iPads and Windows laptops, Android would be nice but not mandatory.  Internal access is primarily Windows.  Any input welcome.
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Question by:BobIa
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:WalkaboutTigger
ID: 40465961
Don't bridge your firewall.
Place it on the DMZ interface of the firewall and limit how external resources would have access.

What is the classification of the data you desire to store on said NAS?

The following are the four classifications I routinely use in such instances:

Public Data: Data on these systems could be made public without any implications for the company (i.e. the data is not confidential). Data integrity is not vital. Loss of service due to malicious attacks is an acceptable danger.

Internal information: External access to this data is to be prevented, but should this data become public, the consequences are not critical (e.g. the company may be publicly embarrassed). Internal access is selective. Data integrity is important but not vital.

Confidential information: Data in this class is confidential within the company and protected from external access. If such data were to be accessed by unauthorised persons, it could influence the company's operational effectiveness, cause an important financial loss, provide a significant gain to a competitor or cause a major drop in customer confidence. Data integrity is vital.

Secret information: Unauthorised external or internal access to this data would be critical to the company. Data integrity is vital. The number of people with access to this data should be very small. Very strict rules must be adhered to in the usage of this data.

How many simultaneous users will be accessing the system at peak?

Is a manufacturer-provided app acceptable for iPhone and iPad devices?

Are you using any MDM provider this would need to be wrapped in?

Do you have a hardware/software budget for this or is your goal to fill this need without a recurring monthly cost?
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LVL 26

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akahan earned 500 total points
ID: 40466109
You can use a Synology NAS, with the free Cloudstation utility.  You'd run Cloudstation client (free) on your Windows machines, and the DS Cloud app (also free) on IOS devices.  There's also an Android app (free again) for it.

http://blog.synology.com/blog/?p=2566
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Author Comment

by:BobIa
ID: 40467231
WalkaboutTiger... DMZ port seems to be the best location since I have public IP available to apply to this port on firewall. The data is a cross between 'Internal' and 'Confidential' I lean toward 'Confidential' though it will mostly be building plan sets in pdf format given us by our customers. Users could be as many as 10 at a time, most times 1-2 at a time. Not being familiar with the interface of the various manufacturers apps its hard to say.  The iPads have Airwatch MDM installed on them. If the unit cost is offset by 3-6 months of cloud fees we're golden.

akahan... I'm aware of Synology NAS I'll give it a closer look.  Have you set one up in your environment in this fashion?  I'm interested in communicating with someone who has actually set this up.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:akahan
ID: 40467297
Yes, I have a Synology, and I use Cloudstation.  I am not taking full advantage of its capabilities, I use only the most basic aspects.   I keep certain documents in it which I want to be able to access from my iphone, iPad, and Windows desktops (I don't personally use Android), and as to which I want changes made on the Desktop or directly on the server to propagate instantly.  (Whether it is a new file, a file deletion, or a modification to an existing file.)  

Currently, Cloudstation does not offer a way to modify (edit) files from the iPad or iPhone, though you can add and delete files from any device.

Of course, if you are not careful, you can get a situation in which any of your users can delete files, and those deletions would instantly apply to everyone.   You may have to experiment with permissions a bit, but the Synology allows you to give permissions on a file by file, directory by directory, and user by user basis.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:madunix
ID: 40467759
Synology offers Cloud Station, so you have total control of your data, however you have to take care of backups
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:akahan
ID: 40467873
Cloudstation actually does backups automatically, if you set it to do so... so it will retain, on the server, older versions (up to 32, I think) of files that you change or delete.
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