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Synology C2, the cloud storage that expands the potential of Synology NAS

Synology C2 is a suite of cloud solutions designed to meet the needs of storage, backup, data protection, file sharing and management of passwords of any type of user or company. A very interesting service due to its integration with Synology technology and the profitability it offers to customers looking for maximum guarantees in data availability, storage expansion and disaster prevention capacity.

Synology C2 is available for business and also for home users . This is the version that we have had the opportunity to analyze under a home office approach for the management of professional and personal data. Although some of these cloud services can be used independently, we have tested it together with the DiskStation DS220 + , one of the last NAS of the Plus series marketed by the manufacturer. Competent and economical, it is a suitable model to work in these environments.

As you will see in this review, the sum of the services Synology C2 Cloud (Backup, Storage and Password) to the storage and connectivity features of a NAS, is perfect for a time of massive teleworking , home study, home entertainment, and, in general, to safely manage and store an amount of professional and personal data that does not stop growing, and prevent threats that can make us lose our precious data.

NAS – Hardware and Software

The installation of a NAS is trivial and if you follow us regularly you will know it from the analyzes that we have dedicated to other Synology models, such as the professional DiskStation DS1621xs + or the domestic DiskStation DS218 + very similar to the DS220 + that we will use in this review.

We are not going to extend too much because the real objective is to test the capabilities of the Synology C2 cloud solution, but to mention that it is a compact, economical and good performance model to be used in small offices, home offices and home environments with the main objective of storing and protecting data, but also used for other tasks such as multimedia media server, P2P client, collaboration or video surveillance in a sample of the great versatility of the NAS .

Synology C2

The model in question has two removable bays without the need for tools to incorporate the compatible drives, be they 3.5 or 2.5-inch hard drives or SSDs. Its CPU is a 64-bit Intel Celeron J4025 with two cores, working frequency of up to 2.9 GHz, hardware encryption engine (AES-NI) and video transcoding up to 4K.

The installed system memory is 2 GB DDR4 which can be expanded with an additional 4 Gbyte module. Regarding its connectivity, it offers two 1GbE RJ-45 LAN ports to connect to the local network and two other USB 3.2 ports. A 92mm fan located on the back serves to keep the temperature under control, with three modes of operation depending on the activity and level of loudness.

One of the USB ports is located on the front of the equipment, next to a dedicated button for quick copy of the device that we connect. We will also find an on / off button and LEDs for NAS status, LAN activity and the two storage units.

His performance has been very correct in all kinds of tasks supported by an outstanding software that we will see below. As we expected, it is an ideal model for domestic environments. And if you are looking for another type of NAS, Synology has an impressive catalog with units from the ‘Value’ series from a single bay to others from the ‘Plus’ series with up to 8 bays.

Synology C2

Operating system and applications

After completing the hardware setup, install the Web-based operating system DiskStation Manager (DSM) that Synology offers free of charge for all of its hardware offering. And we are in luck because it is one of the best NAS operating systems on the market by design, performance and number of applications. In our view, it alone justifies the purchase of a device from this company.

Synology makes it easy to get started with a wizard that allows installation without experience using a NAS . The wizard will recognize and connect the NAS before installing the latest available version of the operating system, a DSM version 7 that has been published this year with interesting news. Later, we can create the administration account, the server name, user and password. Also the QuickConnect ID (with a Synology account that we recommend creating) to facilitate access to the NAS without having to use port forwarding and from anywhere on the Internet.

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The creation of storage groups is just as simple using another wizard, which allows us to select the file system to use between Btrfs or ext4 or the RAID configuration of our choice. Storage management is huge with up to 256 internal volumes. Same for file sharing, up to 2048 local user accounts, 256 local groups and shared folders, and up to 500 simultaneous CIFS / AFP / FTP connections.

As for the DSM interface it is simply perfect, as powerful as it is easy to use . We highlight its control panel from where we can manage any parameter of the NAS; a very complete help that clearly explains the configuration and operation of its multiple functions and a package center from where we can install and manage the multiple applications that Synology itself or third-party developers can use.

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And there is everything you want depending on the tasks you are going to carry out. These applications are the ones that take advantage of the enormous potential of a NAS. And its versatility, because beyond all kinds of functions for data storage and backup, it allows other productivity and collaboration tasks in real time in a private cloud; uses as a multimedia media server; run Windows and Linux instances in a virtualized environment; Comercial activity; developing; IP surveillance and security, and much more, whether in business or home environments.

A marvel in usability and capacity this DiskStation Manager that we repeat ourselves: it alone is worth the investment in a NAS from this company.

Synology C2: your external NAS

We come to the central point and true objective of this review. Synology is well known for offering the best home NAS on the market (like the usage example we described above), but it also has a significant offering of cloud solutions that it offers for businesses of all sizes, but also for home users who likewise need backup, data protection and restoration functions in an age where home office / workstations have increased.

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On the other hand, the amount of data to be protected does not stop growing, as do the threats that come both from cybercrime (with Ransomware as the main protagonist) and from incidents that include hardware failures, fires and other circumstances that they can cause complete loss of data. The use of the 3-2-1 Backup strategy and the hybrid environments used by companies, are also a great option to prevent disasters in home environments .

The launch of the new version of the DiskStation Manager 7.0 operating system helped Synology to improve the capacity and integration of its NAS with the cloud and allowed it to expand its Synology C2 Cloud offering with services as interesting as the three for home environments that we are going to review thoroughly: Backup, Storage and Password, which are managed in three data centers, one of them for the European zone located in the German city of Frankfurt.

C2 Backup For people

It is a backup service in the cloud that offers a safe, complete and efficient data protection of Windows devices . It allows you to safeguard absolutely everything, files, data, system, user and application configurations, both of the internal storage units of the PC and of the external ones automatically when they are connected to it.

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C2 Backup stands out for the use of ‘ incremental backup forever’. This helps optimize storage and bandwidth while reducing the amount of data loaded for each copy by targeting only the blocks that have changed. The user can easily manage them by deciding when to do them, scheduling them to run at certain times or after certain events, such as logging off or when the PC starts up. Additionally, customers can set their own individual version retention preferences to meet their specific needs or comply with corporate policies and regulations where applicable.

The restore tasks are just as flexible and allow you to recover your PC from any type of disaster or start a new one with great ease. If a device fails or experiences data loss / malware attacks, users can quickly resume services. recovery can be performed at the level of individual files / folders or entire devices that can be restored to a previous state with a full recovery.

To ensure security and privacy, C2 Backup uses end-to-end AES-256 encryption and a personal private key known only to the user and required to unlock backup files. security and confidential information. Completing the service features, Synology promises high resilience of protected data on servers with data durability of 99.9999999%.

It must be said that this service is offered independently , ie without using a Synology NAS . It is very simple to set up and requires only logging in with a Synology account and creating your personal encryption key as an additional layer of protection.

After the initial process and to add the Windows device to protect, the wizard will ask you to download a desktop client available for Windows 7 SP1 and higher. It is an application that will allow communication from the PC to C2 Backup Cloud Service automating all tasks. All agents installed on Windows devices can be seen in the browser interface along with the device name and operating system.

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C2 Backup allows to customize the backup copies to be made in the cloud , be it the entire device, the volume where the operating system is installed or the specific partitions. Of course, the backups are incremental, only uploading the modified data to the cloud which saves time, storage capacity and computers can be backed up quickly.

As for automatic backup, you can schedule a daily or weekly copy and set specific hours. There is also an option to trigger events, running automatic backup when the screen locks, the session is closed or the device is turned on.

The retention rule allows you to select for how long the backup versions will be kept by selecting the length of the month or simply keep all versions without deleting them. This set of rules is ideal for data protection and will achieve clean storage every time the function is executed.

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The service offers various data recovery options . Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) is used to recover data, including the operating system. You just need to download and install the Recovery Media Creator tool on a Windows device and make a backup using USB media or ISO image. When you need to restore the operating system, this media will restore the entire PC to a previous point. On the other hand, granular data recovery is a recovery for specific files or folders. It not only recovers the same, but allows the user to choose the version of the file if there are several and they have not yet been removed by the retention rule.

We liked this service . Its start-up is simple using the Synology account and the Windows agent; everything is managed from an intuitive central console, very easy to use; Backup and restore options are flexible and run in the background, and security is ensured with end-to-end encryption and a private key known only to the user.

A good option to complement the capabilities of your NAS or use it independently as a cloud storage service. If you register before the end of 2021, you will be able to enjoy a 90-day free trial . If you like it and once the trial period is over, you can hire some of the monthly or annual subscription plans that Synology offers, which, the truth, are not high priced considering their features and the incalculable cost that the loss of professional and personal data.

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C2 Storage For People

It is another of the services that Synology offers among its cloud storage solutions for home environments. It is designed specifically for owners of the company’s NAS as a great addition to its features, since it allows copies of the NAS to be made in the cloud significantly increasing (doubly) data security. It integrates with Synology technology, helps keep storage consumption under control with compression and deduplication, and keeps data even more secure and accessible.

Small business or home users typically manage file and data storage through Windows shares. A NAS is perfect for providing this type of storage. But as we said above, it is not safe from a disaster that compromises it and the C2 Storage offers an additional backup keeping the data out of the physical location of the NAS itself, complying with the aforementioned 3-2-1 copy rule.

The service allows you to back up file shares of Synology DiskStation NAS to the cloud; save the collection of photos and videos; of the applications and even make a backup of the own backup copies saved in the NAS (disk to disk to the cloud).

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To do this, C2 Storage works with the well-known Synology Hyper Backup , a multi-version backup function that includes a complete set of functions suitable for all needs, so that the backup plan is as simple and powerful as possible and with the possibility of hosting the data in local shared folders, another NAS, an external disk, a public cloud service or this C2 Storage specially designed for Synology NAS.

Backup jobs can be scheduled at the user’s discretion to preserve bandwidth, while reducing storage consumption with built-in de-duplication technology. Integrity checks can also be scheduled to ensure backups are healthy when you need them.

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File recovery is just as powerful and can be done using a browser or desktop client directly from the C2 Storage web portal. From the NAS, you can access all backups or files using Hyper Backup. Like the C2 Backup, all data in transit and at rest is protected by strict encryption technologies, specifically a AES-256 encryption that is carried out on the same NAS and a private key that ensures that only the user can access the data.

Its implementation is just as simple as that of C2 Backup and only requires opening a Synology account and choosing the type of subscription without having to pay anything since the company offers a free trial month.

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From there all the possibilities of this service are opened, such as creating a shared folder with Hybrid Share or a backup task with Hyper Backup. Both applications have a wizard that guides the user in everything necessary, finishing by selecting the C2 servers as the destination to connect the NAS with the cloud and obtain total security.

Synology offers a 30-day free trial and subscriptions (monthly or yearly) in two versions:

  • Basic: 100 or 300 GB with daily backup; fixed retention policy and storage on C2 servers.
  • Advanced: All the storage capacity you need; personalized retention policy; data deduplication; sync and share files from multiple sites or local cache.

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C2 Password

Completing the above services, Synology released last summer a password manager that allows all login credentials to be stored, generated, synchronized and managed in a secure place, as well as allowing other additional functions how to share files.

C2 Password is Synology’s answer to the demand for credential management products. A good point of support to manage access to the large number of Internet services where we are registered, avoiding the problem of using multiple passwords and reducing human errors in their handling by automating the generation process. Like the rest of C2 services, saving data safely in Synology’s cloud.

The service includes a password generator that allows you to create them with customizable lengths and strengths to meet the needs of each user and generate time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) for websites and others services that require 2-factor authentication.

Another element of the manager is My Vault , the main panel / home page in which all the elements of credential management are listed and organized. These items are safely stored in the C2 cloud and are available and synced (unlimited devices) for various platforms, including your web portal and as extensions in supported web browsers such as Chrome and Edge. In the near future, Synology intends to extend it to iOS and Android mobile apps.

The administrator also allows secure file transfers with a target group of recipients using a time-limited URL for a specified number of downloads and a shared file watermark.

In terms of security, this feature is protected by end-to-end RSA-2048 and AES-256 standards , with an encryption that is always performed on user devices. This design ensures that all data is always encrypted before reaching the Synology C2 Cloud, and therefore not even Synology will have access and only the user can decrypt it. It also supports 2FA, the two-factor authentication that has become one of the most important security mechanisms in the technology industry when it comes to authenticating users and protecting identities.

Its start-up is similar to the process we have seen with C2 Backup and Storage, logging in with a Synology account (or credentials with Google or Apple ID), configuring the browser extension, selecting the encryption key and generating a recovery code that the user must keep safely.

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To use secure file transfer, simply create a task that uploads the file to share with a size limit of of 100 MB and incorporates the list of email addresses to send to. . The selected files will be encrypted and uploaded to Synology C2’s backend to then create a link to share with recipients.

C2 Password is in its infancy and is a service that Synology intends to improve in the future, but the described functions work according to expectations and is another password manager to consider at one time. of data breaches to guarantee the security of the online accesses; have credentials on hand and keep confidential information such as bank and credit cards safe.

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It should be noted that C2 Password is totally free and to use it you just need to register with your Synology account. Soon, the company will offer (for $ 4.99) a Plus version for 6 users and a shared warehouse between them.

Conclusions

Synology has produced a set of cloud solutions that go beyond the connectivity and storage functions of their highly rated NAS (the best you can find for the consumer market) and whose Usage can be dramatically enhanced with the capabilities of this Synology C2, aptly defined as “your external Synology NAS.”

The truth is that we liked this group of cloud solutions especially the C2 Backup for People for its very complete possibilities for backup tasks, complete and efficient data protection of Windows devices and as prevention of disasters of which no one is safe.

C2 Storage was a feature we already knew from its enterprise variant and it works just as well in home environments to back up NAS to the cloud to increase data security and comply with the 3-2-1 rule. As for C2 Password, it is the ‘icing on the cake’, a useful password manager, which works very well, and is provided by Synology for free. You have more information and access in Synology C2 .

Final Assessment ABSTRACT

Synology C2 is a set of cloud solutions designed to meet the needs of storage, backup, data protection, file sharing or password management, for any type of user or company. A very interesting service due to its integration with Synology technology and the profitability it offers to customers looking for guarantees in data availability, storage expansion and disaster prevention capacity.

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