Review of Acronis Online Backup






     Overview and History
Acronis were incorporated in 2001. In the beginning they concentrated on drive partitioning software, then widened their product range into the archiving and disaster recovery areas and now cover the whole arena of PC protection. Their main utility: Acronis True Image is intended to archive hard drives, network drives and external drives. In 2010 they released Acronis Backup and Recovery 10 for large business clients.
The Acronis Online backup solution was released in 2010 and can be configured as a standalone utility or as part of the Acronis True Image Suite. This is Acronis' initial foray into the online storage world and is a giant step in securing your data.

Security
Security is good: Data is secured with 256 AES encryption both during transfer and when help in their data centers. You can pick an encryption password which keeps your data even more safe however if you forget your encryption key you will lose all the data you have archived. So keep it safe!

Backup Features
Acronis Online Backup is a no nonsense backup scheduling utility. When you have installed the client program, just choose the data you wish to backup and then either set a schedule for the files to be archived or select the 'Back Up Now' button. The client can back up open / in use files but seems not to use 'block level incremental backups' which means that whole files will be archived rather than just the bits of the files that have been altered. This will mean that backups require more time than some other Online Backup providers.
File versioning is available and an unlimited amount of editiond can be kept for up to 45 days. It is possible to set a specific amount of versions to keep.

Restore Features
Restores can be initiated from either the client software or from the web site. In either case, you have the functionality to choose which edition of a file you would like to retrieve. Once selected, the file is returned to you as a zip (compressed) file that can be saved anywhere you wish.
If you have saved files multiple times in a day, then a scrollbar at the bottom of the client and internet portal interfaces show the times of each successful backup and permits you to click on these times to restore files from that specific backup.

Control and Analysis
If you use Acronis Online Backup via another Acronis Product such as Acronis True Image then Online Backup flawlessly slots in with the parent product and you have access to all the reporting, logging and controls from the parent program. If you use Acronis Online Backup as a standalone product, then there is no reporting or logging.
Processor throttling can be set to Low, Medium or High and web bandwidth can be set to any limit you like. Proxy servers are also supported. Backup notifications can be sent to any number of email addresses and you can configure the client to perform pre- and post jobs, which can be very useful if lets say you want to backup a database locally so it can be included in the online backup.

Interface
The client interface on the standalone version is really simple and allows you to see how much of your storage allowance you have used up on each of up to five computers at a glance. It also displays when the next scheduled backup is due. The web portal interface is almost identical to the client interface lacking only the backup options.

Device Support
Currently only supports Windows client operating systems.

Limitations
No support for MAC, mobile devices or server platforms.
No way to extend past the 250Gb allowance.
No way to add more than 5 PCs to an account.

File Sharing and Collaboration: None.

Synchronization: Synchronization to the web portal but not between PCs.

Web 2.0 Integration: None.

Customer Support
Customer Support options include:
- LiveChat
- Knowledgebase
- Forums
- Email a question from a web form
- Self-help: User Guides, FAQs, Demo, Tutorials and Testimonials
- Phone support can be bought on a per incident basic for $11.84.

Ease of Use
The client is simple to install and very easy to use. The interface makes managing up to 5 computers straightforward and provides an instant snapshot of how much data has been archived for each PC as well as how much you have remaining. The interface is clean and clear with no learning curve required to get up and running.

Cost
- Initial setup is free
- Monthly Cost: $3.95 / mth
- Annual Fee: $39.95 / year
- Initial storage allowance: 250Gb
- Number of PCs allowed: Up to 5 PCs can share the 250Gb allowance.
- Cost of additional storage: n/a
- Cost of extra devices / PCs / users: n/a
- E-billing facility: Yes
- Free Version / Free Trial: There is a 60 day free trial which provides 2Gb of backup space.
- Hidden costs: Phone support can be purchased on a per incident basis for $11.84.

Conclusion
This is Acronis' first effort at an web backup solution and in my opinion they have done rather well. The fact that the product can be standalone or integrated into the existing client software is a brilliant touch and offers flexibility for users. There are a few functionality absent from the standalone version, such as reporting and centralized control of all PCs within one account. But these will probably become available with time.
The only edition of the service gives an ample 250Gb of storage for a very reasonable cost and the client can be configured to use as much or as little resource and bandwidth as you wish. The interface is clear and easy to use and file restoring is quick and reliable.
To sum up Acronis have made a solid, simple and very reliable online backup solution at a great price which is supported by the Acronis name: A global leader in backup technology. A great option from a great name.
If you want even more peace of mind, then buy one of their suite programs, such as Acronis True Image Home and get complete PC protection.






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Posted on 2010-08-03, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.


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