A Synology NAS drive is the missing link in your home security system

Front of the Mi 360 Home Security Camera 2K Pro with the lens open

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Surveillance camera footage is only as good as you can get from it. Most cloud-connected cameras offer motion-detection-based clips and, in some cases, a few extra days of recording locked behind a subscription service. When you need additional features or long-term video retention, the best solution is usually an IP camera paired with a network video recorder to store video on a hard drive. However, there is a better way to do this.

We’ve already talked about NAS drives and how some of the best network attached storage devices on the market go beyond simple storage-related use cases. Synology makes some of the most feature-rich consumer and enterprise NAS solutions on the market. Most of them also come with a built-in security package that is compatible with most entry-to-mid-range NVR options.

A few months ago I switched to a mesh WiFi solution from Ubiquiti. I’ve even documented my journey to building a complete wireless home solution with my own built-in security solution based on Unifi Protect. However, a few months later and a few robberies later, I found the Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro’s security solution a bit limiting. So, as a local nerd, I did the obvious – I looked for a different, nerdier solution.

What security camera do you have?

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The problem: Saving surveillance camera recordings

Ubiquiti dream machine and network switch placed in a rack

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro features a single hard drive slot for storing video footage. While this should be enough for most users, accidents do happen. I was recently surprised that the hard drive in my security system had crashed and the system was not recording any video at all. Hoping to snag a license plate on the road, losing footage was a serious problem. The loss of recordings in a surveillance camera system was an absolute no-go for me.

Your security system is as strong as its weakest link.

While replacing the hard drive would have been the easy option, I wanted to avoid the situation in the future and decided to offload the camera feeds to my Synology NAS drive. Luckily, I had a spare NAS drive with a duo of eight terabyte drives ready for the job.

The solution: Synology Surveillance Station

Synology DS420j with an open back to access the drive bays

My choice of software solution to manage the hundreds of gigabytes of camera footage was Synology Surveillance Station, and getting started was a breeze.

Synology Surveillance Station can retrieve camera feeds from the most popular IP-based surveillance cameras on the market.

The security suite allows you to include cameras from a wide variety of brands in the recording app, but takes it a step further by allowing both ONVIF-enabled cameras and RTSP streams to be included in the security suite. This ensures that unless you’re fully integrated into a proprietary ecosystem like Google Nest or Arlo, your camera has a high probability of being compatible. If you’re familiar with BlueIris on Windows, Synology’s Surveillance Station will look familiar.

Synology Monitoring Station camera

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

With Ubiquiti’s cameras, I had to log into every camera on my network and switch modes to allow the cameras to output a password-protected RTSP stream. Getting started with Synology Surveillance Station is extremely easy, requiring only you to select your camera brand, enter essential information such as IP addresses, a username and password, and you’re done.

Synology Monitoring Station Records 1

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From there things get a lot more interesting. For me, the biggest benefit was having all my security gear on a RAID array, which provides a bit of redundancy against hard drive failures. However, as an extra security measure, I also back up the encrypted movie files to cloud storage. If you want a more hands-on approach, Synology Surveillance Station can be integrated with the company’s cloud backup offering, C2, with payment plans starting per camera.

Also read: Here’s how I consolidated my smart home with Home Assistant

As someone increasingly aiming to control my connected home locally, the idea of ​​beaming security camera feeds from my house to an unknown server as simple video has always been a nuisance. Using the Synology NAS as a storage option guarantees that no one else will have access to this footage. In fact, paranoid users also have the option to encrypt the locally stored footage for extra privacy. (And they could later back them up to a trusted cloud service like I did.)

Synology Surveillance Station camera options 1

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Synology covers all the essential elements of a modern security camera suite, including timed and motion-based recordings, privacy masks, watermarks, and basics like easy scrubbing through timelines and directional controls for cameras or microphones.

However, using a Synology NAS as your camera’s security suite really comes into its own with the App Store and additional software add-ons. For example, Synology lets you control your camera with a video game joystick if you prefer. Have your cameras pointed at pets the whole time? You can stream your security camera feed directly to YouTube. The surveillance suite even allows you to save a second or third set of recordings to another network destination should you wish.

Synology Surveillance Station App Store

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

All features are neatly packed into a beautiful and user-friendly interface that follows the same desktop-like user experience as Synology’s Diskstation Management software. Of course, you also have the option of using mobile apps to access the video feed.

Synology Monitoring Station home screen

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

In the weeks I’ve been using Synology Surveillance Station Suite as a network video recording solution, the software has been rock solid, giving me peace of mind that security footage will be securely backed up should I ever need it.

Synology Surveillance Station is the perfect middle ground between a dedicated NVR and internet-connected cameras.

Is it an overkill solution for most ordinary consumers? Absolutely. However, if, like me, you need granular control over your hardware and don’t want to rely on cloud solutions for a critical part of your home security solution, Synology Surveillance Station on a NAS is the perfect budget-friendly middle ground between your camera’s onboard storage and a more professional dedicated network video recorder.

Related: Here’s how to turn your old phone into a security camera

https://www.androidauthority.com/synology-surveillance-station-nas-home-security-3207686/ A Synology NAS drive is the missing link in your home security system

Chris Barrese

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