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Storage Strategy for Content Creators Part 3 – Network Attached Storage

In my previous post I mentioned that there are three layers when keeping your data safe from desktop crashes. While such incidents don’t happened often these days, you still cannot prevent other accidents from happening, laptops being stolen or fire in the house.

In most cases, when you have more copies of the same data in more locations, the safer it will be. For example if you only have a laptop, making a copy of the data in the laptop on the Internet drive will make it safer. If you have another storage device outside of the laptop or desktop, it will also make it safer.

In short, having copies adds to the data security preventing it from being lost. Consequently, having copies mean you have to ensure access to those files are secured too and it will get more complicated when you have more copies.

When you have more devices that have the same data in other location, usually the more secure it will be. The flip side is that access control will be more complicated and more expensive as you add more Hard Disk Drives in a RAID configuration.

Generally, if the data is very sensitive, the data are usually kept at location but are at various areas of the location. If you have a study room, you will have a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server in your master bedroom or living room. You can choose to allow the NAS to be connected or not for added security.

Tip: The more sensitive the data, the better it is to save it in an external drive or server on-site (like your home or office) rather than having copies on the Internet.

I have chosen Synology NAS as the device to demonstrate how to install it on my home network and also add a way for me to access my NAS via the Internet to see my and use photos and videos while mobile. This is very useful when I am overseas and needed some media assets for work. I can also backup my travel photos/videos while on the road too.

The other competitor in the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) NAS market is Qnap and they are also equally good and they have their own app to backup your mobile devices as well. In terms of performance, both are pretty similar too and it all boils down to speed of the network and HDD being used in the devices. I have no issues setting both of them up quickly.

Synology DS220

Qnap TS-251D

Installing NAS

  1. Physically install the NAS to the network (after you plug in a new HDD into the NAS) via the network RJ45 cable.

  2. Make sure the router automatically gives the NAS a network address (IP address). If you can add a phone to the wireless network at home easily, that means the router is working perfectly.

  3. Follow the steps to install the Synology NAS into your network using “”. You can find the steps of installing the Synology NAS here if you need further help. For the sake of simplicity, just install ONE HDD for now

Update the NAS Operating System

Download and install the latest NAS Operating System called DiskManager. Go to go to Control Panel>Update & Restore>Download. This step is to make sure your DSM version is the latest version. You can also do manual update by downloading the update file through Synology Download Center. Do note that only DSM 7.0 has the latest Synology Photos organiser app.

Setup QuickConnect Name

  1. Go to Control Panel>External Access>QuickConnect Tab

  2. Choose a name for the server’s QuickConnect name

  3. Take note of the DSM link as this will be the URL for you to use if you wish to connect to your NAS Server via the browser.

Set up all the users to have access to the NAS Server

This step is to create user accounts for your family or co-workers to have access to the NAS Server at the operating system level. This will be important when you are installing the Synology Photos app in your iOS and Android Devices 1. Go to Control Panel> User & Group > ‘User’ tab > ‘Create’ . This is to create a new user account.

2. Add the new user account to a specific group called ‘users’ by ticking the row under the ‘Add’ column. Click Next.

3. Allow the user to have full access to all or specific folders. For full access to a particular folder, select by ticking the box under the “Read/Write” column. If it is an administrator, do remember to add the user to the administrators group. 4. Click Next. Do change the settings only if you have advanced knowledge of the file access, application access and data transfer limits.

5. Once you have reviewed the settings click ‘Done”

How to include users to shared space folder in Synology Photos App in NAS desktop

This step is different from Step 3 because this step gives specific access to shared folders within the app itself. Set this up properly and the family can contribute photos and videos from a holiday trip into a shared folder, say trip to Japan, inside the SPA App.

  1. Open Synology Photos

  2. Click on the user button at the top right corner of the app

  3. Click ‘settings’

  4. Select ‘Shared Space’ tab

  5. Enable ‘Allow guests to view photos and videos…”

  6. Click ‘Set Access Permission’

  7. Add any users that were created in step 3 and enable them to manage folders and files.

  8. Click OK when done.

Find and Install Synology Photos App (SPA)

Find and Install Synology Photo App in AppStore or PlayStore.

Note: when you are finding the app, the Synology Photo App is named “Photos”.

Log Into Synology Photos App (SPA)

Key in the QuickConnect Server name in Step 2

Under ‘Account’, fill in the username of the owner of the phone and the corresponding password that was created it in the previous step.

Change the backup settings in SPA

In the ‘Face it now’ setup page, you can create a People album in both Personal and/or Shared Space. This is to allow the Synology Photos app to recognise people and group them into individual folders in the People album.

Enable the automatic Photo Backup service in SPA

  1. Go to the bottom right corner of the app and click ‘More’ with the 3 bar icon.

  2. Click on Photo backup (with the cloud icon)

  3. Enable Photo backup

If the phone is never backed up before, you can choose to back up all photos. Otherwise you will only backup photos/videos after you completed the setup for the app.

Go to ‘Backup Destination’. If the user wants privacy, choose ‘Personal’ Space. The destination backup personal folder and shared folder will be saved in different locations within the NAS server itself. You can customise a new folder location if you wish to.

Under upload settings, you should choose Wi-Fi only so as not to use up your Mobile Data allowance with your mobile operator. You can also choose to skip duplicate files or rename the files to be doubly sure the files are copied. To save space in the NAS, it is best to skip.

The articles in this series:

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