Acronis offers full-featured backup software that just added its first cloud backup component. Started in 2002, Acronis’ most popular product for personal users is Acronis True Image. The software is unique in that it features a full system image backup to a local drive or the cloud. This is different from almost all other cloud backups, because it includes all your system and application files, not just your data. This can be very beneficial in cases of system crashes – get your system back to where it was when it was backed up.
Acronis may not be the best solution for technically challenged users. Although extremely powerful, it can be a bit complex for the non-techno geeks in the crowd – particularly during restores.
Excellent Cloud Backup for those wanting the ability to do full system image backups.
- System image backups
- Multiple destination backup
- Home plan covers up to three PCs
- File sharing
- Cross-platform backups
- Time explorer
- Lots of options for experts
- Takes up space on computer
- Tricky advanced features
- Confusing help section
Access: (Rating: 8/10)
With Acronis you are able to backup not only your PC or Mac, but also sync pictures and files to the cloud from your iOS or Android devices. There are significant differences between how the sync works with iOS and Android devices. With iOS it is a one-way sync, whereas with Android it is two-way. Read more about this here.
Backup: (Rating: 8/10)
Acronis Backup is extremely easy to initiate, however it can be a bit “buggy” and users have complained that it will occasionally just “freeze up” on Windows based pc’s. You can do an initial “seeding” backup to get all your data to the cloud quickly, and from there schedule regular backups per your requirements.
- your entire system
- specific files/folders
- data from removable drives
- the cloud
- a local drive
Restore: (Rating: 6/10)
This is where things can get quite complicated and this process is not for the faint at heart when it comes to technology – especially when doing a full system restore. Although a powerful feature to be able to restore to a new hard drive after a system crash – this is not something an ordinary user may want to tackle.
Data restores on the other had are pretty straight forward. You can browse the backed up files either from the Acronis software on your computer or via a web browser. Simply select the files you wish to restore and the destination to restore to. Simple as that.
Restoring from the cloud can be a bit slow with Acronis.
Share: (Rating: 8/10)
With Acronis you have the ability to share files and folders using a public link or an email invitation. This grants others access to your data on the cloud, and you are able to adjust individual folder permissions or revoke access all together.
Sync: (Rating: 8/10)
You can sync files between computers even if they aren’t on the same network, however both computers must have Acronis True Image installed on them. You can also sync files/photos between computers and any iOS or Android devices.
Security: (Rating: 10/10)
With True Image you have the ability to encrypt your backups using a password only you know. This gives you complete privacy while storing disk images and data in the Acronis Cloud. You are able to select from 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit AES encryption – this selection is again a unique feature of Acronis.
Help & Support: (Rating: 6/10)
Acronis support is another oddity. You get email/chat support for 30 days after purchase. After that you have to pay $20 per incident to open a support ticket. With the pay-per-incident support you have access to technical support via priority email/chat and phone. The one exemption to this is support for “recovery” related issues – that is always free.
No Bandwidth Caps
No File Size Restrictions
No File Type Restrictions
Help and Support
Restore Individual Files
Version History: unlimited
NAS Drive Support
External Drive Support
Encrypted File Transfer
Encrypted File Storage
1 computer – $99/year with unlimited cloud backup
3 computers – $169/year with unlimited cloud backup
250GB – $99.98/year (+$49.99)
500GB – $149.93/year (+$49.99)
1TB – $239.98/year (+$49.99)
All require a one time purchase of Acronis True Image – $49.99
What we Like about Acronis
Image Backups: Image backups allow for the easiest system restores possible. They copy all of the data on your computer, including operating system data. When you restore using an image backup, all of your settings, file locations, and other particulars magically appear. This is a huge timesaver for customers who are switching to a new computer or who are restoring after a total computer crash.
Pricing: There are two things that make Acronis cheap as a cloud backup provider: the block annual prices and the one-time software purchases. Acronis True Image 2014 is a software program that you purchase once ($50) and never have to purchase again (until you decide to upgrade, but you don’t have to do that every year). Acronis’ cloud backup feature was added onto the software program this year as a pay-per-year option.
The price of online backup storage space varies greatly with which plan you use. However, even factoring in the price of the software, the prices are very competitive. Take, for example, the most basic plan: Acronis True Image 2014 for one PC. The software costs $49.99; the software plus a year of 250GB online storage is $74.99. That means that the monthly cost for this plan is $6.25. Acronis has not yet revealed how it will handle annual cloud backup fees for existing customers in the coming years.
Multiple Destination Backups: Acronis is built for agility. Its specialty has been local backups for years, which is why it supports partitioned backups, USBs, external hard drives, and the like. Acronis also includes backups for up to five devices (tablets, PCs, and smartphones) with each of its plans.
Family Plan: We like family plans: they protect everyone in your brood for one reasonable price. Acronis offers its True Image software accommodates this by offering plans for up to 3 PCs. The company makes most of its revenue from software sales, so the cloud backups cost just a little extra on top of the one-time software purchase.
Or not! Right now, it is $79.99 to purchase Acronis True Image 2014 for 3 PCs and $74.99 to get the same software plus 250GBs of online storage for a year. That means you can save $5 by INCLUDING cloud backups in your purchase. With this plan, you can cover up to three computers and 15 ‘devices’ for your family with Acronis for $6.25/mo for the first year. Presumably, the annual cost will be smaller than the initial software cost thereafter, making Acronis an excellent deal if your family can get by with sharing 250GBs of online space.
File Sharing: File sharing is a helpful, but not common, feature among cloud backup providers. It allows users to share files from their backed up data with other people. This makes divvying up documents, photos, and the like with friends, family, and coworkers as easy as a few clicks.
Advanced Options: Acronis True Image used to be extremely difficult for laymen to use because of its abundance of features. Its makers have since streamlined it, but those advanced users can still go in and control every little part of their backup. If you like the idea of having this kind of flexibility, Acronis might be for you (but if you don’t know what you are doing, it’s a good idea to avoid the advanced options and stick to what you know).
What we Don’t Like about Acronis
Takes Up Computer Space: Most cloud backup providers have slim software systems that don’t take up much space on your hard drive. Acronis True Image needs 512MB, which can be a stretch for older computers.
Tricky Advanced Features: Acronis True Image’s advanced features are a boon for those who know what they are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing, they are an opportunity to screw up your computer. The advanced features are integrated with Acronis’s basic functions, so it can be easy to accidentally check the wrong box. Rookie Acronis customers need to take extra precautions so they don’t do anything crazy by mistake.
30 Day Free Support: Technical customer support is only available for 30 days from date of purchase. After that users have to pay $20 per incident to open a support ticket. Forum support is free, but may not be as helpful. Also all “recovery” related support is always free.
How to Backup with Acronis
Selecting Files: Selecting files is not necessary for local (external hard drive) backups, since Acronis True Image specializes in true image backups. However, for your online backups, you will need to pick the files by hand. From the Acronis software’s Backup and Recovery tab, click on File Backup and select the files you want in the cloud. Then select Acronis Cloud as the backup destination.
Scheduling Backups: The scheduling function is available on the same page as the File Backup (or the Disk and Partition Backup tab) at the right hand bottom corner of the screen. You can schedule backups to occur monthly, weekly, or “upon event” (whenever there is a data change). You can also choose to have backups run at a certain time of day.
Backups can be incremental, differential, single version, version chain, or custom. Acronis recommends incremental backups for most users. Most of the advanced backup features are meant for use with true image backups, not with cloud backups.
How to Restore using Acronis
Choose Your Data: To restore from an Acronis cloud backup, log into your online account from the device you need restored. Select the files you need to restore, and click “download.” Unlike other Acronis functions, restoring from web-based files is simple and streamlined.
Local Restore: With Acronis, you will always have the option to use your local backup to restore. You can perform a complete image restore or simply restore individual files using the True Image software.
Acronis has its disadvantages, but overall it's a decent cloud service. They are the only provider to offer true system image backups. And geeks will love the service's advanced features because the software is highly customizable to meet the pickiest desires. Unfortunately, Acronis has a pay-to-use support ticket system, and their program takes up a whopping half gigabyte. It remains to be seen how Acronis will adapt to joining the cloud backup spectrum – we would like to see them streamline their software interface even more for beginners.