There’s nothing quite like a NAS device to cue our nerd feelsies. Whether you’re using one to run your own personal cloud storage system to host your movie collection or to backup your business data, network-attached storage devices are both trendy and utilitarian — just like a pair of camouflage cargo shorts.

There’s no question that transferring data to and from a NAS device is faster than working with the cloud. However, as we’ve detailed elsewhere, the best approach to file hosting — whether for cloud storage or online backup — is to employ both approaches.  

The reasoning is simple: while pushing files locally may be faster, NAS devices are more prone to damage than cloud servers. On top of that, for those that need to work on the move, cloud servers tend to be more readily accessible remotely thanks to backup power sources and onsite engineers.

However, while the merits of keeping data both locally and remote may be quite clear in theory, those merits tend to blur fast in the face of adversity (i.e., too much work). The key is finding an online backup service that supports hybrid backup by managing both local and remote backup processes for you. The good news is that the options include two of the best online backup options available today: read about them in our IDrive review and CloudBerry Backup review.

During this guide, we’ll give you glimpse into the NAS backup process with both services, helping on your way to getting your NAS data in the cloud where it’ll be safe from the ravages of both time and spilled beverages.

IDrive NAS Backup

Whether you’re considering IDrive Personal or IDrive Business as your online backup provider, both offer backup for NAS devices. In fact, IDrive is one of the most platform-friendly services available, able to backup unlimited computers and smartphones, too. It’s for that reason that we feature IDrive prominently in our best online backup for business guide (you can read our IDrive for Business review for more info, as well).

The first thing you need to do to start backing up your NAS with IDrive is to sign-up for an account and download the client software. IDrive doesn’t offer a free trial, but it does have a forever-free 5GB plan. That’s not going to be enough to protect your NAS, but it will be enough to make sure you like the service before paying more.


PlanFreePersonal 2TBPersonal 5TBBusiness 250GBBusiness 500GBBusiness 1.25TB
Price Plan
Freemonthly
$ 52 12yearly
$ 104 252 years
$ 74 62yearly
$ 149 252 years
$ 74 62yearly
$ 149 252 years
$ 149 62yearly
$ 299 252 years
$ 374 62yearly
$ 749 252 years
Storage 5 GB 2000 GB 5000 GB 250 GB 500 GB 1250 GB
Details

One of the conveniences offered by IDrive is that there are two different ways you can backup NAS data: as a mapped drive or using a dedicated NAS app.

IDrive Mapped Drive Backup

Backing up your NAS as a mapped drive requires use of the standard IDrive desktop client. The process is pretty simple: it’s just like backing up your hard drive.

With your NAS setup, it should show up as a drive in your file system if you’ve taken steps to map it (see the section on how to map NAS devices, below). To add this drive to your IDrive backup, start by clicking on the client’s “backup” tab. The center pane shows the drives and folders already added to your backup plan.   

To add your NAS device, click the “change” button near the bottom. This will let you alter your backup plan, including adding new file locations like your mapped drive.

Once added, your NAS drive will start backing up to the cloud.

IDrive NAS Apps

IDrive actually makes dedicated, browser-based apps designed to backup specific NAS devices. You’ll find apps for four of the top brands: Synology, QNAP, Netgear and Asustor.

Using a dedicated app maintains IDrive’s high security standards, including 256-bit AES in-transit and at-rest encryption, plus the option for private encryption. Browser-based apps also let you create multiple backup sets, schedule backup and track activity with logs.

Setup generally requires performing some configurations. For example, with Synology, you’ll need to log into your device as an admin and download and install a specific .spk file for your device.

IDrive does a nice job of walking you through the required steps for each supported NAS device on its website:

If you’d like to keep things simple, though, just go with mapped backup.

IDrive Express & NAS Backup

Before we get to CloudBerry Backup, it’s worth mentioning one more critical benefit to using IDrive to backup your NAS: IDrive Express.

IDrive Express is a courier service that can be used for both loading data into the cloud and getting it back. For backup, IDrive will send you a 3TB external drive that you can load your NAS data onto. Mail it back, and IDrive technicians will load it directly onto the server for you.

The advantage is that initial backups over the Internet, particularly for large amounts of data, can take weeks to complete. Loading your data onto a drive, mailing it to IDrive and letting someone plug into the server and load it directly takes just a few days.

The same is true of data recovery. By letting IDrive load your data onto an external drive and mail it to you, you can greatly reduce your disaster recovery timeframe. For someone trying to run a business, that’s a big deal.

Even better, unlike the handful of other online backups that provide courier service, IDrive does all of this for free once a year for personal users and three times a year for business users.

Starts from $ 434 monthly for 2000 GB
(All Plans)

CloudBerry NAS Backup

CloudBerry Backup is a bit of a different animal than IDrive and similar services in that it the company doesn’t actually provide any server space to backup your data. Instead, you get software that can be configured to work with a variety of different cloud services.

Options include IaaS picks popular with business like Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Backblaze B2. Altogether, CloudBerry Backup works with over fifty different services right now, far outpacing similar roll-your-own backup tools, like we discuss in our Arq Backup review and Duplicati review.

Before you backup your NAS device using CloudBerry Backup, then, you’ll need to find a suitable storage service.

If you’re looking to save money and plan on mostly using your NAS device for file access, go with a service like Amazon Glacier which is designed for archiving. It’s slower, but also cheaper. If you need faster access but still want to save, Backblaze B2 is great budget choice, too. It costs just $0.005 cents per gigabyte per month, which is only marginally more than Glacier.

You’ll also need to purchase a software license from CloudBerry Labs. Each license applies to only one computer, but that includes as many NAS storage devices as you want. A Windows desktop client costs just $29.99. Business users may also want to consider a server edition.


PlanAmazon S3
Price Plan
$ 2 00monthly
Storage 100 GB
Details

Sample storage pricing for Amazon S3. Actual prices may vary depending on your needs.


You can try out any CloudBerry Backup client with a 15-day free trial to make sure it fits with your backup strategy. CloudBerry Backup also has standalone clients for Synology and QNAP, but neither are supported any longer.

Once you’ve downloaded the software and settled on a cloud provider to serve as your backup repository, everything else is pretty simple if you have your NAS mapped.   

Start the CloudBerry Backup client and click the “files” button on the top left. A window will pop-up with two options: “local or cloud backup” and “hybrid backup.”

Choose hybrid. Added to CloudBerry’s feature set in May, 2017, hybrid backup reduces process time by first uploading your NAS device, then copying files from your NAS to the cloud. By combining everything into one backup process, you don’t have to create and manage two separate backup plans. This saves time and puts much less strain on your computer resources, too.

You’ll need to input the path to your NAS device clicking “add new account” on the next screen and choosing the location you’ve mapped your device to.

Then, you’ll need to select your cloud storage service and likely input some access keys that will have to be obtained from that service. Our getting-started guides for Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure will help you with that side of the equation.

After that, you can set a backup schedule and enable useful features like file compression, block-level backup and local encryption. For a closer look at the process involved, check out our article on setting up hybrid backup for SMBs, featuring CloudBerry Backup.

How to Map NAS Devices in Windows

Both IDrive (if you don’t use the NAS app) and CloudBerry Backup work best if your NAS devices be mapped prior to backup. With that in mind, here are a few pointers on doing that. For Windows 10, the process is pretty straightforward. Open your file explorer and select “this PC.” Then, at the top of the window, click the “map network drive” button.

Select the drive letter you want to use and click browse. Then, pick the NAS shared folder location you want to map. This requires that you’ve mounted your NAS already, so that it shows up in your file system. Your NAS provider will provide instructions on doing that.   

Click “finish” and your NAS device should be mapped. From then on, you can select it just like another drive for backup.

Alternatively, many NAS manufacturers include mapping capabilities in their software. For example, using Synology Assistant, you can map a shared folder to a drive letter by using a simple wizard process.

Either way, mapping your NAS folders to a drive letter shouldn’t cause many problems for Windows users.

Final Thoughts

IDrive and CloudBerry Backup are two excellent and relatively inexpensive choices for NAS backup, but there are other options. CrashPlan provides unlimited NAS backup for Mac and Linux systems, making it one such choice. Our guide to the best online backup for NAS providers will provide a few more ideas.

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By backing up your NAS to the cloud, you’ll be following the golden rule of data backup, known as the 3-2-1 rule:

  • Keep at least three copies of your data
  • Maintain copies on at least two different mediums (i.e., devices)
  • Keep at least one copy offsite

For home users, this provides a measure of assurance that the family photos stored in your NAS won’t be lost in a flood, fire or toddler tantrum. For SMB users, it means your business won’t implode unexpectedly. NAS storage devices are a tremendous convenience, but that convenience comes at a cost. Insuring your NAS data with backup to the cloud is the smart thing to do.

Got questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “How to Backup Your NAS to The Cloud”

  1. I’m trying to back up my photos from mycloud to drop box and find it a little clunky that the device itself can’t do this requiring a client. That said I’ve used the Allway Sync software and found it easy to use however don’t know if I’m missing something. I’ve got more to back up than I have space on my laptop hard disk so copying data to the drop box local directory path is something of an issue, I can see the available disk space just being hammered – help !

  2. I think what most people are looking for is for the NAS to run a native app providing synchronization for Dropbox automatically. This way, the NAS owner can sleep peacefully knowing that the files are in sync and available locally (or remotely on the NAS) at anytime.

    I don’t know of a NAS that successfully does this today, but this business case for it is surely there.

  3. I personally have other options that I use myself.

    Nowadays its super easy with Synology Cloud Sync to backup to Dropbox, Google Drive and even Amazon Cloud Drive (Which offers unlimited storage for USD 60 a year) directly from your NAS to the cloud platform.

    I have a Synology NAS DS1513+ configured with a RAID 5 arrangement where I have attached a couple of 4 TB USB hard drives for weekly backups to it. Then I also have constant sync of some folders to my fathers computer in another country where I have also sent him a 4 TB hard drive. And lastly I have several other files backed up on Google Drive and others in Amazon Cloud Drive.

    Nowadays its very flexible to sync and have multiple copies of backups.

    If you have a high volume of files and you dont want to pay for a high monthly or annual cost, consider buying another small synology NAS, could be just a single drive, for offsite backups. Ask a close friend of yourse if he would let you place it in his house. Ideally both would have high speed internet connections and from the same provider so you ensure the speeds are super reliable.

    Hope this tips helps anybody in need of this.

    Regards

    Fernando
    ITCentralPoint.com

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