Network Attached Storage (NAS)
A NAS Box or Network Attached Storage Server is dedicated networked hardware which supplies data storage services to many networked PC’s and devices. The NAS will typically run a Linux based Operating system and may provide additional functionality such as FTP Service, Web Hosting, Multimedia Streaming and Email Server. These servers are ideal for small businesses to share files and resources.
Windows File Servers
There have been many incarnations of Windows File Server in recent years. Windows Home Server which will easily provide basic file server Services for up to 10 Networked PC's. Windows Small Business Server 2011 is a good cost effective solution for a small business of up to 75 networked PC’s, It will provide file sharing, client backups, email Server, SQL Databases, Web Hosting and media streaming. A larger business should consider a multi CPU Tower or Rack Mounted Server running Windows 2013 Server Software.
An alternative and potentially cost saving option is to adopt Cloud Storage services where data is stored online using a Cloud Storage Provider. There are considerations though, you are reliant upon your internet connection, if that goes down you are effectively cut off from your data. You are also storing your data on equipment outside your immediate control which brings up privacy and security concerns and the provider may have insufficient redundancy and backup systems in place. As with anything you get what you pay for and the more robust, reliable and secure services will naturally cost more. The advantages are though that you can access your data from anywhere with internet access and there is only a small initial capital outlay for provision of services although this cost would be on-going. Cloud Storage would make a good backup resource as you are storing data in a separate physical location. There are also free Cloud storage resources of up to 5 Gigabytes such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive or Google’s My Drive, these would be useful to a small business.