nConnect for NAS: secure remote access to files and apps

3 min read

One of the biggest challenges for enterprise and home internet users is being able to securely access your data and services from anywhere.  Your phone, tablet, and laptop have limited storage; while cloud services such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive force you to upload all your data to the cloud. This not only is tedious and time consuming but also creates a target for hackers looking for your sensitive data.  NKN has a solution that allows you to keep your data on your own home or enterprise network and safe from predators, while still being  able to access it from any remote location.  We call it nConnect. 

One of the first use cases for nConnect is remotely accessing files and apps in NAS (Network Attached Storage, commonly known as network disks), and we are working with top tier NAS vendors in this space. They love the unique combination of security, speed, and affordability provided by NKN’s nConnect solution.

Key Benefits  

  • Secure Access from Anywhere – Access your files and apps from anywhere even if your home/office servers and devices (such as NAS) is behind a router/gateway/firewall with no public IP address or open ports, by using NKN’s unique NKN addressing and global meshed network architecture
  • High speed and low latency – as a premium paid service, you can choose the highest quality nConnect tunneling servers for high speed and low latency. For example, file transfer using nConnect aggregate multiple concurrent paths and could be significantly faster than cloud file systems like Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Reliable – NKN’s network of up to 30,000 servers in more than 40 countries ensures there are always several high quality nConnect tunneling nodes available.
  • One Connection – Access all the files and apps on your home/office servers and devices from one connection
  • Easy integration: no need to use 3rd party SDK to rewrite all your apps. If your app works on your local private network, it will work over nConnect without any additional configurations.

Solution Overview

In this case study, we will focus on NAS (Network Attached Storage) as the leading use case where we have garnered the most commercial traction so far.

nConnect is a distributed service hosted on NKN’s global network that creates an end-to-end secure tunnel to your Network Attached Storage without exposing it to the open internet.  In order to accomplish this, a connection is established by both the NAS device and remote application to a number of relay nodes within NKN’s public server network.  Multiple nodes are used for both reliability as well as to enable faster transfer speed via multi-path data routing and aggregation.  These relay nodes provide the interconnect to establish a single virtual tunnel between the NAS device and remote application.  Relay nodes also provide a publicly available connection point for the NAS device, which is often connected behind a firewall or gateway and does not have a public IP address or open ports.  Please see figure 1 below.

Fig1: NKN Tunnel via multiple parallel relay node
Fig1: NKN Tunnel via multiple parallel relay node

Once a connection between the NAS device and relay node is established it will begin listening on a unique NKN Address (For example: 20d72feef55…) as shown in Figure 2.  This is a routable address within the NKN network and will be used by the remote application to establish a connection to the same relay nodes as the NAS.  In addition, this NKN Address also includes a public key which will help establish E2E encryption without the need to consult a 3rd party Certificate Authority (CA). 

Figure 2: NKN Address used to establish E2E encryption
Figure 2: NKN Address used to establish E2E encryption

Once the tunnel is established, the remote application will have access to any of the local services available on the end device including access to the users content such as photos, movies, and other files.

As an additional level of security, the NAS device will enforce a whitelist of authorized remote devices. Therefore, nobody else can access your data and apps at home, unless you explicitly allow them to do so. 

Quick and easy setup

nConnect is quick and painless to set up, which involves the following steps:

  1. Users install a nConnect plug-in on their NAS, via its app store or marketplace. Upon successful completion of the installation, a QR code is shown as well as an Access Key can be copied.
  2. Users download and install nMobile Pro. In nMobile Pro, the user scans the QR code from step 1, which will establish the secure tunnel between the mobile device and NAS.
  3. In addition, users can install nMobile desktop applications on their PC. User pastes the Access Key from step 1 to establish a secure tunnel between their PC and NAS. 
  4. Now users can use their favorite applications to remotely access their files on NAS, even when they are not at home or office.

Success Stories

NKN’s nConnect is being tested for commercial deployment with top tier NAS vendors globally. We look forward to announcing the names of our partners in the near future.

In addition, nConnect is not limited to NAS use cases and should be equally useful for all the devices and servers in your private network at home and at work.

Summary

nConnect gives users the power to take their data and applications anywhere they want to go.  By offering a secure connection between your mobile device and your home or enterprise NAS, users can access their irreplaceable family photos or sensitive business data with just a few taps on your mobile while keeping the data private and secure on their own NAS device.  All data is end-to-end encrypted and never stored in the cloud, so only you have access to your data.

nConnect also offers accelerated performance when downloading data from your remote machine with several times faster download experience than comparable cloud based solutions.  So, next time you want to download a copy of your daughter’s dance recital you saved at home to show family and friends, they won’t need to wait long.

Enhance your NAS with nConnect and make your data and applications universally accessible today!

You can find more information on our product page:

https://dataride.nkn.org/filetransfer/

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