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Synology Cloud Station gives you DropBox-style synchronisation for free

If the thought of paying for a DropBox account to backup and synchronise your files over the internet seems a bit much, Synology may have the solution with Cloud Station.

Part of the Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) 4.0 update (the beta of which will be out this week), Cloud Station turns your DiskStation NAS into cloud storage, letting you backup and synchronise files over the internet without having to pay a penny.

The service will connect through Synology's dynamic DNS service, while UPnP should mean you don't have to worry about opening any ports.

The service is true backup, supporting file versioning, so you can roll back to a previous version of a document. We've been told that you can even synchronise to more than one DiskStation. Using this feature you could, for example, buy a backup NAS to keep in someone else's house, protecting your data from fire or theft in your own home.

With the beta edition of DSM 4.0, only Windows clients will be supported, but a Mac OS X client will be available with the full release of the update, which is typically a couple of months after the Beta.

While Cloud Station is the major addition to DSM 4.0, Synology has also generally tidied up the interface, putting its already incredibly GUI a long way ahead of the competition and making it easier than ever to configure and control the NAS.

With DSM 4.0, there are now widgets to help you monitor the NAS and a Mac Expose-style mode called Pilot View to let you view all open Windows and switch between them easily.

As a Synology NAS can do so much more than just serve files, the company has taken the decision to only make some features available if you explicitly enable them through the simplified and easy-to-use Package Manager. For example, home users may not want the video server for webcams, while a business is unlikely to want to have a media server turned on by default.

Antivirus Essentials is another new package, using virus definitions provided by Clam Antivirus to give you another line of defence against malware.

DSM 4.0 beta will be out later this week (our bet's for the 12th January when there's a DSM 4.0 preview event) and can be used to upgrade existing Synology DiskStations. It looks brilliant and we can't wait to try out the cloud services. We'll update this article with screenshots as soon as we have them.

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