Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in 2019, has added remote cloud access with "Cloud Relay", part of their new 19.06 release.
How well does Cloud Relay work? We tested it and share our findings on:
Can you confirm if Exacq Cloud works with Exacq START or only on Exacq PRO?
Nice to see you had some success with Exacq Cloud - we have attempted to set it up twice now and not been successful either time. Their email tech support takes 10-14 days to respond to a request.
We were also told by our product rep that if you allow Exacq Cloud to go dormant for any reason (ie you are not using it, not renewing SSA etc) they will disable your account because AWS costs Exacq money on a per-account basis. This business model doesn't seem sustainable, and I'd be cautious about offering it to customers as a free service - I can't imagine Exacq will keep it free forever.
We did not test with Exacq Start, but confirmed with Exacq prior to publishing:
We do support Start with this feature as well. The small system market is one where easy Mobile access is valuable.
Exacq also told us that there is inactivity detection to reset the account. This is not the inactivity of a user streaming, but of the web service checking in with the relay. I will check with them to clarify the policy.
Regarding the Cloud Relay, if an NVR does not actively connect outbound to the cloud relay for 180 days, we consider that NVR unlikely to reconnect anytime soon, so we "reclaim" the static URL that it previously was assigned. However that NVR can certainly connect outbound again and get a new URL assigned.
I appreciate the feedback on the Exacq Cloud health monitoring service. The business model there is much different. There is no charge to integrators, but we do require that the NVRs monitored have SSA, so we are indirectly motivating integrators to pursue SSA renewal revenue so they can continue to use the Exacq Cloud health monitoring service to deliver high-quality service to their customers.
The scenario you describe is accurate. If an integrator signs up for the service, we assign them an instance of this service to start monitoring NVRs. That instance does have ongoing costs. If an integrator signs up but they never start monitoring NVRs (or that number drops to zero) we're simply burning those cloud costs for a tool the integrator isn't actually using, so we do shut down that instance.
Of course if the integrator comes back and says "yes, we got busy with another big project; now we do intend to start using this tool." we can of course bring them back online.
There are back-end architectural changes on our roadmap that will change this experience for the integrator, so our costs will directly align to how much the integrator uses, rather than having costs even at zero usage. At that point we won't need to spin down instances that aren't in use.
Is there documentation on the mechanism by which this Cloud Relay works and its cybersecurity implications? Something that an IT security engineer could use to determine if they would want to turn this on in their corporate environment?
I thought this was SmartVue technology though...or maybe it was another cloud storage TSP purchased. I am nearly positive the cloud support is the result of a purchased company...could have sworn it was SmartVue.
Exacq is doing multiple things under the general umbrella of "cloud support". For example, our Cloud Drive storage service is using the former Smartvue architecture.
This particular feature of exacqVision, connecting your web browser or mobile app to the NVR via the cloud, is not specifically derived from Smartvue technology. The general idea and mechanisms to accomplish this are well understood and didn't require specific Smartvue tech.