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How To Send XProtect Notifications Securely, Without Compromise

In this note we will discuss the use case for notifications in Milestone XProtect and how to enable it securely.

Where can you use notifications in XProtect

As a Milestone XProtect admin you can’t be watching your system all the time so email notifications are critical for letting you know when something needs attention.  Using rules in XProtect will allow you to triggers those alerts.

The rules engine in Milestone is very powerful and allows you string together different actions based on triggers.  Triggers can be a physical switch, software analytic or system message and in most of these cases you, as an admin would like to be notified via email that the trigger was activated.  There are hundreds of different variants but here are some simple examples:

Physical Switch: You have an input device like an Axis A9161 connected to an output of an intrusion panel and when the intrusion alarm is tripped you would like an email with an image from an associated camera.

Software Analytic: You have set up an intrusion zone in Agent-VI and when someone enters that zone during a certain time frame you want an email with the image of the person or vehicle entering the zone.

System Event: You want an email alert when the archive storage is no longer reachable and Milestone can not archive video.  

How to enable notifications in XProtect VMS

Enabling email notifications in Milestone is pretty straight forward but unfortunately prior to version 2019R2 Express+, Pro+, Expert and Corporate versions of Milestone do not support SSL/TLS encryption which is important when connecting to secure email services like Gmail / Gsuite.  The lack of support for SSL/TLS leaves your options for sending email notifications limited to open SMTP relays from gmail, which have limitations, or using your own in house email server.   

Enable TLS support in Milestone 2019R1 and below

As mentioned, Milestone versions 2019R1 you can not use SSL/TLS but with the use of an opensource 3rd party application called hmail you can!

Milestone has a great knowledge-base article on how to use hmail to enable notifications via Gmail in XProtect.

Enable TLS support in Milestone 2019R2 and above

In 2019R2 and above Milestone listened and is now natively supporting SSL/TLS directly in the VMS.  Here is how to use it:

  • In XProtect management client select tools > Options > Mail Server
  • Sender email address = Email address you want the notifications to come from
  • Outgoing mail server address (SMTP) = smtp.gmail.com
  • Mail server port = 587
  • Encrypt the connection to the server = checked
  • Server requires login = checked
  • User name = In Gmail this would be the user account email address that you want to send notifications through
  • Password = Password for the selected Gmail user
  • OK

Lastly you will need to set up a notification profile in management client to actually sent emails.  Milestone has a great video on this here.

Secure email through Boring Toolbox

At Boring Lab we take security seriously as well as so we have built secure email notifications into Boring Toolbox as well.  When using the Live Monitoring feature you have two methods of getting real time notifications on cameras enabled or disabled.

  • Native Boring email provider
    • You can quickly enable email using the Boring Lab email provider to securely send emails without the need to have your own email server.
  • Custom email provider
    • By using custom settings in Boring Toolbox you can use any mail server including gm

Hope this helps and if you want to try out Boring Toolbox’s Live Monitoring with secure notifications give our Free Trial a shot!