For those with a Synology NAS drive, such as the DS218, this is a way to access your files from anywhere.
Operating in a similar way to Google-Drive or OneDrive, the Synology-Drive app or program allows you to access your NAS files as if they were on your PC – wherever you happen to be. You just need an internet connection.
This means that you could create a file on the NAS and then read or modify it using your laptop, even if you are in a different building (or country). Once saved, then the updated file will find its way back to the NAS automatically.
Unless specified otherwise, the program will not download all of your NAS files to your device. This is good thing as the volume of NAS files tends to be more than a laptop can accommodate – and certainly more than a phone can manage!
The program uses the device’s conventional Explorer/Finder to show you files and folders mirroring those on the NAS.
Files are only downloaded when opened. A file may also be ‘pinned’ which means it will download without being opened.
Security/confidentiality can be an issue. The files will happily download to encrypted folders such as those maintained by the Windows native Bitlocker or 3rd party programs such as Descrypt. This means that should your laptop get stolen then the files will be unreadable.
Downloading and syncing are only possibly while the NAS is connected to the internet. This will usually be the case. There is no cloud copy of the files as there is on, say, Onedrive.
When working directly on the NAS, then Office (for example) will lock any file which you have open and no two people can use it at the same time. This does not apply with files accessed via Synology-Drive and there is a danger of ending up with two versions of the same file. Obviously co-ordination with ones fellow team members is essential here.
The first time you open a file or pin it then this may take a little while. Not unreasonable as it needs to upload from the NAS to the cloud then down to the device. After that it will open right away. It is also possible to unpin a file: the local file is deleted but the name remains so that it can be repinned or (re)opened.
There is no charge which is generous of Synology who must be dedicating a chunk of their network to servicing the Synology-Drive process.
The process has been proven on the following platforms. Others will be tested in due course.
Android Phone or Tablet
Works fine but many file types will need a specific reader or app to be installed. Word/Excel files are good example.
Windows 10 Laptop or PC
Works well, no problems noted.