Is Synology A Chinese Company? Can You Trust Them With Your Data?

Synology are quite a reputable manufacturer of NAS devices. These NASes are designed to store all your most important documents and files, so this raises some obvious questions: can you fully trust them? Are they some Chinese company who – like TikTok – will not-so-secretly pass your data on to the Chinese Government? Let’s find out!

Are Synology Chinese? Where Are They Based?

An infographic showing a Synology NAS and saying it is not Chinese and you can trust them
Infographic showing that Synology is not Chinese.

Synology is a massive technology company who specialize in creating network attached storage (NAS) devices. These allow you to save all your documents, photos and important files to a central location, allowing you to access these files from all computers on your home network.

It also allows you to access these files over the internet (if you enable this). As a result, people rightly question whether their files would be safe with Synology. And the answer is thankfully: yes.

Synology is a reputable and trustworthy company, with a headquarters in New Taipei, Taiwan. They have been around for over two decades, and have quickly become counted as the best NAS producer around. Synology also has subsidiary companies in America, France, Germany and the UK.

Synology are actually Taiwanese through-and-through: they design and manufacture their NAS devices in Taiwan:

The Synology product label confirms that it was made in Taiwan
The Synology product label confirms that it was made in Taiwan

I always find it a little odd when people say things like “Dell are American so you should buy from them”, when most Dell laptops are produced in China. On a related note, D-Link are another Taiwan-based NAS company, but they actually manufacture their products in China (or at least, some of them are from China):

The product label for a DLink NAS which is made in China
The product label for a D-Link NAS which is made in China

So if you ever are concerned about Chinese products, you can at least be sure that Synology is 100% Taiwanese: from design right through to production.

A Brief History Of China & Taiwan

If you look on a map, Taiwan is a small island near a very big country: China. Sometimes small islands like these are part of the main nearby country, but this is not (quite) the case with Taiwan and China.

There was a time in the 1600s when the island of Taiwan was controlled by the China dynasty, however in the 19th century it was taken over by Japan – before China took it back over again in 1945! However while China would argue that they still ‘own’ Taiwan, Taiwan disagrees that thinks that it is a separate nation that is not subject to Chinese rule.

So the whole situation is a bit messy, especially with recent rumors that China might try and invade the island of Taiwan to properly exert control over it.

While I won’t be getting into geopolitics in this post, such an invasion would cause a massive negative impact to technology – because Taiwan is a crucial manufacturer of computer chips, NASes and more.

What Exactly Does Synology Do? What Do They Sell?

As mentioned earlier, Synology mainly produces NAS devices. These are mini computers that allow you to insert hard drives into them, and you then turn them on (like you would with any computer):

My Synology DS220 NAS with two internal drives connected to a network switch
My Synology DS220 NAS with two internal drives connected to a network switch

You then connect the NAS to your home network, either by plugging it into your router (with an ethernet cable), or to a network switch. This can then be accessed within File Explorer on Windows (or whatever OS you use), allowing you to read and store files on it.

This is a really nice way of allowing everyone in your household (or workplace) to access common files, although you can have private areas and folders too. The NAS itself will allow you to monitor its data usage, network bandwidth, RAM and CPU usage and more – just like a computer would too:

A look at my storage volume on my NAS and my general NAS device health
A look at my storage volume on my NAS and my general NAS device health

So a Synology NAS is basically a mini computer which is optimized for file storage. However Synology don’t just sell NASes: they also sell SSDs, routers, hard drives and (fairly expensive!) RAM.

Can You Trust Synology With Your Files And Data?

I personally fully trust Synology to store my files. I store my most sensitive and private documents on my Synology NAS, and I have no problem doing this. I also freely enable QuickConnect (which allows you to access these files over the internet).

It helps that Synology offer a ton of security features, of course. Firstly, everything is protected by automatically generated SSL certificates:

The Synology admin UI offers various security features including full SSL encryption certificates
The Synology admin UI offers various security features including full SSL encryption certificates

This means that you will hopefully never transfer your files over the internet in an insecure way (for example). You can also specify setup a firewall, enable two-factory authentication, have an auto-block list (if someone tries to login via a brute-force attack) and more.

I have been really happy with how secure my Synology NAS feels compared to my previous D-Link NAS (although admittedly my D-Link NAS was many years old, so they might have improved things since).

What Data Synology Keeps About You

You will need a Synology account to effectively use your Synology NAS, and their registration process asks for your name and email address – so these will naturally be kept by Synology. Any files that you store on your Synology NAS will stored on a machine that is produced by Synology, and powered by Synology’s programming.

However Synology’s employees cannot randomly access your NAS or its files: these are only available to you (and any other users you specifically set-up). The only partial exception here is that Synology offer a paid-for cloud backup service:

A look at the cloud backup of my Synology NAS files
A look at the cloud backup of my Synology NAS files

If you use this service, Synology’s software will automatically scan your files to provide search capability:

We do not access or analyze the data you upload, except that, as stated above, for the cloud service backup, we will access part of Your Content to provide service and search feature. website

The cloud backup feature is entirely optional though, and it still does not allow Synology employees to access your files.

For further information on what data Synology might keep about you (and whether you access it), it might be worth checking out Synology’s privacy policy since it is fairly clear and free of legalise.

They make clear that while they do (naturally) need to store some of your personal data, they will only keep it while it is required. In other words, if you get rid of your Synology NAS and delete your account, your personal data will be subsequently deleted:

Synology keeps your personal data for no longer than reasonably necessary for the given purpose for which your data is processed. If you will provide us, or have provided us, consent for us to process your data, we will process your data for no longer than your consent is effective.

Synology Privacy Policy, accessed 3rd January 2023

Are Synology Considered A Good Brand & Company?

There are loads of tech companies who sell NASes: WD, Seagate, D-Link, QNap, Buffalo and more. While most of these sell great NASes, it is generally accepted that Synology produce some of the best NAS devices. This is for two main reasons:

  1. They sell a wide range of products. Some of their budget NASes support one or two drives, while they also sell enterprise solutions they also sell massive 12-bay devices (like the DS3622xs+) which contain Interl Xeon processors and support for expansion units meaning you could have up to 36 drives of storage.
  2. Their overall software is awesome. You can manage your Synology NAS via a browser-based admin tool, but they also have mobile phone apps, and basic NAS management features via too.

If you look on a website like Amazon, you will see that Synology’s NASes tend to attract better reviews than their rivals from WD, Buffalo and others:

Amazon reviews of various 2 bay NAS drives
Amazon reviews of various 2 bay NAS drives
cropped A picture of me Tristan
About Tristan Perry

Tristan has been interested in computer hardware and software since he was 10 years old. He has built loads of computers over the years, along with installing, modifying and writing software (he's a backend software developer 'by trade').

Tristan also has an academic background in technology (in Math and Computer Science), so he enjoys drilling into the deeper aspects of technology.

Tristan is also an avid PC gamer, with FFX and Rocket League being his favorite games.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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