FAR MORE THAN JUST A CLOUD BACKUP AGENT, THIS FEATURE PACKED DATA-PROTECTION SUITE IS IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN
We’ve been fans of Acronis True Image since long before “the cloud” came along. While this latest release fully embraces remote backup, it doesn’t ditch the flexibility and features that made it a favorite back in the days of tape drives. Depending on your needs, you can buy it as a standalone backup client, with no cloud component.
The more modern option, however, is Acronis’ personal subscription service. This gets you the full client – and updates while your subscription remains current – and 50GB of cloud storage.
That may look a bit mean next to the unlimited quotas of Carbonite and CrashPlan, but if you have only a small amount of critical data to protect, it’s cheaper in absolute terms. Upgrade options are affordable, too: you can step up to 1TB. The top tier offers a gargantuan 5TB.
Accessing your cloud storage is simple.
When you launch the True Image client software, Acronis Cloud is automatically selected as your default backup location, and a non-stop backup of your personal files begins in the background. We were impressed by how fast this happens: although Acronis wasn’t quite as fast as Carbonite or MozyHome, it backed up our 5GB of data in a respectable 2hrs 14mins.
What sets True Image 2017 apart from nearly all of its rivals is its support for multiple backup sets
With this done, a click on the “Recover files” button directed us to the Acronis website, from where we were able to redownload a Zip archive of all our files in a super fast 19 minutes.
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While non-stop backup makes sense for critical data, alternative scheduling options include daily, weekly, monthly or manual backups – or you can configure Acronis to run a backup job whenever you log on, log of, restart or shut down your PC. Furthermore, there’s an option to set the backup only to run when the computer is idle, and disable sleep/hibernation to ensure your uploads don’t get cut of.
For those who like to take control, there’s a whole bunch of additional advanced features. You can set up email notifications, to provide confirmation of completed jobs; change the backup process priority, to balance network usage against backup speed; and – uniquely among the clients we’ve tested – select a cloud destination from a variety of data centers in different countries. This means that if you’re not comfortable with your data being stored in the US, you can choose to have it kept in Australia, the UK, Switzerland, Singapore or a variety of other locales. You can also optionally provide your own encryption key, to ensure that Acronis can’t access or share the information you upload, even if asked to by government authorities.
One capability that sets True Image 2017 apart from almost all of its rivals is its support for multiple backup sets. You can define dozens of different jobs, each with its own files and folders, its own security settings, its own schedule and even its own destinations – so you can, for example, keep a secondary backup of critical files on a local hard disk or NAS box, for high-speed disaster recovery.
You can also carry out periodic backups of your entire PC, or even upload an image of an entire disk or partition, separately from your regular backup regime. A handy rescue media builder lets you create a bootable USB flash drive or CD, so you can restore your entire system from either local media or the Acronis Cloud in the case of a catastrophe.
True Image Home 2017 isn’t really intended for corporate environments – businesses are advised to buy the professional Acronis Backup 12 suite and add Acronis Cloud services as needed.
Those working from home, however, may be tempted to upgrade to a Premium subscription.
Acronis Active Protection steps into antivirus territory by monitoring your system for ransomware-like activity, as well as automatically recovering files that have been maliciously encrypted.
Meanwhile, the Acronis Notary and ASign services use blockchain technology to archive document checksums and digital signatures, allowing you to establish with certainty that a file was in a certain state, and acknowledged by certain parties, at a specified date – which could be useful for resolving legal or business disputes.
If we had to criticize True Image 2017, we’d point out that its interface could be clearer: buttons and menus aren’t always where we’d expect to find them, and there’s too much reliance on cryptic, unlabelled icons. And if you’ve multiple terabytes of data to protect, there are certainly more cost-effective options.
Still, when you look at Acronis’ performance, and the tremendous range of data-protection features it offers, it’s an appealing package for anyone who values their data.