Using a NAS as a Firewall?

Recently, I have been trying to rejigger my home network to support a bunch of the usual things: a firewall, a VPN, ssh access, perhaps a media streaming server and, last but not least, a new backup solution. Someone I work with pointed me at Synology for the backup portion. As a result, I learned about their software product DiskStation Manager (DSM) which does a lot of cool things like file sharing and remote access to your data. The software also has a bunch of cool plugins for things like offsite backup (via Amazon Glacier) and running a web server.. I also found that QNAP has similar software. They both also seem to be supporting at least the letter of the GPL by publishing some (all?) of their code (Synology, QNAP respectively) on sourceforge.

However., and here is the big “but,” it strikes me as incredibly dangerous to run my network on the same hardware as where all of my data lives. In other words, if you root my network connectivity you now have instant access to all my data. I think the concerns go the other way as well. There are a ton of WiFi APs that offer support for publishing data (via USB drive) and printers which seems equally dangerous. One I think looks cool is this Asus one, however, it doesn’t seem to support the nice “pluggable apps” of, at least, the Synology software. A quick search seems to indicate that my concerns are at least somewhat valid.

And, my final note, I would really appreciate someone producing a nice network management device with all the features of the Synology software (or, failing that, the Asus, or QNAP) and just leave out the bits that are asking for trouble.

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