The Boring Toolbox was created exclusively to make managing Milestone XProtect easier, more secure, and efficient. Here are five solutions that will save VMS Administrators time and energy.
We love our Milestone XProtect VMS system but let’s be honest, managing it can often feel like a black hole for our day. Use these 5 tricks to save time on basic but necessary tasks such as reporting, renaming cameras, updating passwords, and monitoring your camera’s health.
- Create a camera inventory reports in under 60 seconds
- Protect your Milestone XProtect VMS from cybersecurity threats with bulk password updates
- Set up automated health alerts for your cameras and servers to monitor the overall health of your VMS system
- Use bulk update settings to rename all of your cameras
- Use a global dashboard to manage multiple regions, stores, or locations on separate management servers
Reporting: Use the Boring Toolbox to create quick camera inventory reports. (60 seconds or less!)
Creating a camera inventory report in Milestone XProtect can be tedious, at best. The standard routine consists of compiling lots of data into spreadsheets: IP addresses, names, passwords, you name it. The problem here? Not only is the job boring and laborious, but even a world-ranked typist can make mistakes sometimes. Not to mention that after you create a report, maintaining its accuracy or trying to add more information can turn a 30-minute task into several hours sucked out of your day.
Assuming you are copying and pasting from Milestone Management Client, creating an inventory report can take anywhere from 90 to 120 seconds, per camera.
Luckily, taking the boring stuff off your plate is our specialty.
All the information you need is already in Milestone, so why spend time recreating it? The Boring Toolbox uses the information in Milestone to create auto-generated reports that maintain accuracy, provide simplistic functionality, and add more valuable information you couldn’t get by making the report from scratch, like camera snapshot, video retention information, and password audit.
A report generated from Boring Toolbox for 1000 cameras would take two and a half minutes or less compared to 33 hours when made using good ol’ CTRL + C/Z. Consider those other 119,850 seconds you get back, as our gift to you.
Boring Toolbox gives you the power to generate clean, concise, and always accurate reports with a touch of a button.
Cyber-Hygiene : Bulk Update Your VMS Passwords to Protect Your System Against Cybersecurity Threats
With cybersecurity threats becoming more and more common, keeping your IoT devices safe and protected should be a top priority.
Many of these threats are rooted in the fact that IoT devices, including IP video surveillance cameras, are traditionally ignored or left out of general maintenance routines.
Those who have older firmware, use default passwords, or overlook other system vulnerabilities, are leaving their systems open to exploitation by hackers.
The obvious solution is to change the passwords on each camera and in Milestone XProtect VMS frequently. But on thousands of cameras? Ooooufff.
To manually edit your passwords, we estimate it could take from 60 to 90 seconds per camera. You’d have to log into the camera, navigate to the screen to change your password, change it, log back into the camera, log into Milestone, find the camera, edit the camera, and update the password. Every. Single. Time.
It’s doubtful you’d ever see the light of day again.
Not to mention, changing passwords manually can undoubtedly lead to errors, risking your security and the chance you lock yourself out of a camera.
Managing firmware is critical but the Boring Toolbox doesn’t manage it directly. Typically camera vendors will have software that allows you to update the firmware on multiple cameras at the same time. Take advantage of this to save you time.
So how can you get around this tedious process and be able to update your passwords more efficiently?
The solution is a system that updates passwords in both the camera hardware and Milestone XProtect simultaneously.
To update your firmware, you can use the camera manufacturer’s software tools to bulk update and confirm any identified vulnerabilities are patched, fixed, and secure.
With the Boring Toolbox, updating your passwords is simple, quick, and efficient.
Traditionally, it would take you approximately 500 minutes to update the passwords for 500 cameras. With the Boring Toolbox, it would only take you two minutes to update the passwords for the same number of cameras. This hack saves you approximately 498 minutes, giving you time to focus on less boring tasks.
How is it done?
In Boring Toolbox, just filter your list of cameras, select only the cameras you wish to change the passwords on. Then, you can either choose a standard password for them all or apply a different random password per camera. It’s that easy.
Camera System Health: Easily Monitor The Health of Your Cameras and Servers From Anywhere
You want your VMS to be there when you need it most.
Monitoring the health of your cameras and servers is crucial to ensuring your system is working, recording, and serving its function to limit your liability and protect your employees, customers, and assets.
The traditional built-in methods to monitor your camera health is through email alerts. But historically, the alerts have been known to cause a large number of false alerts, which defeats their very purpose and does you no good at all.
Instead, you might opt for using your employees to review the cameras in your system manually and generate a report in Excel for distribution. It makes sense to fill in the gap made by the lack of VMS tools. But, this is wasting the time of your most valuable asset: your employees.
The time it might take your employee varies. We’ve heard some clients dedicated one whole shift a week to create an audit report.
If only there was another way…
You need a one-size-fits-all solution that monitors the health of your cameras and recording servers. Say goodbye to false-positive alerts, for good!
The Boring Toolbox sends you real-time automated alerts by leveraging an ongoing background service that creates events based on user-definable thresholds.
You will only receive alerts when a camera or recording server's health events pass the threshold level.
This same system will also send emails if the camera health issue was fixed on its own, saving you precious time and worry about whether your VMS is working properly. You can even monitor the health of your system while on the go with the toolbox’s mobile-friendly responsive design!
This functionality will undoubtedly save you time, but more importantly, it will give you peace of mind.
Camera Renaming: Use Bulk Update Settings to Rename Thousands of Cameras in Seconds
If you’ve ever tried renaming your cameras in Milestone VMS, you’re probably already aware of the hardware and multiple devices that make up each camera. You also probably know that to rename a camera, you should rename the hardware and every device underneath it… all 38 of them.
Because renaming every device is tedious and time-consuming, most admins will only rename two components: the hardware and the main camera. The problem with this approach is the lack of name standardization. Which is used primarily to let operators know where each camera is placed and what it’s looking at. Who needs that kind of confusion when trying to manage their VMS?
Instead of manually updating hundreds, or potentially thousands, of cameras, The Boring Toolbox cuts the time needed to rename 1 x hardware and 38 x devices down to 20 seconds by allowing you to perform bulk updates.
If you have 500 cameras in your system, Boring could save you approximately 1,000 minutes for each full name update you do.
How is it done?
- Select the devices you want to rename
- Perform a find and replace function or update the existing name
Add text before your name to standardize your naming system to make searching and filtering easier.
Looking for a specific location? Add it to the beginning of the name so an operator can easily find it later. For example, if the camera is in Los Angeles, you could use, US-LAX-camera_name
Multi-Site Management: Monitor Multiple Sites From One Dashboard
In larger environments, you can split the VMS into multiple regions or locations to be managed by their own management server, but this may create a few issues.
For one, while these individual systems may be easier to manage, an admin will need to log into each system separately to be able to assess the health of the overall system and generate reports. Ugh.
Because it takes a lot more time and energy to consistently check each server, admins tend not to do it as often, leaving their systems and investment at risk.
The main priority of VMS systems is to protect you. In order for them to do that, you have to protect them.
Boring Toolbox simplifies the process of separating your system into different parts by giving you visibility into the health of each on a single dashboard. As an admin, you can quickly assess the health of each server without ever leaving the application they are in.
You’re also able to set up alerts from each location to notify you when things are actually going wrong. Say goodbye to false positives.
Want to stay updated? You no longer need to log in to each server to check the health of the video feed. You can schedule and receive camera and VMS configuration reports via email on the regular.