- Strengths & Weaknesses
- Alternatives for Acronis Cyber Protect
- Acronis Cyber Protect Special Features
- Acronis Standard Features
- Acronis Cyber Protect Features Overview
In this Acronis Cyber Protect review, we’re going to inspect Acronis’ latest business backup solution to see where it stands compared to the best online backup for small business services. If you’re looking for a home-based backup solution, you need to read our Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office review, instead.
The short of it is that, if you can afford to pay the hefty price attached to Acronis Cyber Protect, you’ll benefit from the cutting-edge software that’s as rich with features as any other backup service that comes to mind. On top of that, it has a modern cloud console, constant support, strong security, fast speed and more, which we’ll talk about below.
If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, read our business online backup reviews for alternatives. Otherwise, keep reading to find out what else we liked and what we didn’t.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Fast backup speeds
- Cloud-based console
- 24/7 live support
- Hybrid backup
- Cloud-to-cloud backup
- Private encryption
- Bare-metal restores
- Mobile backup
- Strong security
- No unlimited backup
- No two-factor authentication
Alternatives for Acronis Cyber Protect
Acronis Cyber Protect can help you recover from data loss on a vast range of operating systems. In fact, Acronis boasts the ability to backup more than 20 platforms, including Linux desktop. That’s a great addition, considering that many services omit Linux support. For more options, read our best online backup for Linux piece.
In this review, we’re going to focus on workstation backup, which is also available for Windows and Mac, but both physical and virtual servers are supported, too. That includes Windows Server, VMware ESXi, Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and more.
On top of that, Acronis Cyber Protect provides tools to backup Android and iOS smartphones. Many business users will find this appealing because of how much data we collect on our mobile devices. If you want a dedicated tool for mobile devices — and one that’s probably cheaper than Acronis — read our best online backup for mobile roundup.
Acronis Cyber Protect supports external devices, too, which means NAS devices and external drives. You need one licence per computer, but Acronis lets you backup multiple external drives if they’re attached during the backup process. Backup from a storage area network — or SAN, for short — is available, too.
You can also use your devices for local backup. This means that, instead of backing up to the cloud, you can tell Acronis to backup to your own servers or NAS devices (more about them in our what is NAS article).
You can do that on top of cloud backup, which means that Acronis supports hybrid backup. In fact, Acronis’ personal version is on our list of the best online backup for NAS.
Hybrid backup is convenient because it adds another layer of protection and speeds up your restore process (it’s faster to restore from a local device than via the internet). You can read more about the benefits of hybrid backup and how to set it up in our hybrid backup for SMBs guide.
Hybrid backup is essential if you want to implement the 3-2-1 backup rule, and we recommend that you do so. Acronis can also backup from cloud to cloud, as well.
Cloud services supported by Acronis include Amazon EC3, Azure, OneDrive Personal, OneDrive for Business and more. If that’s the only feature you want, though, you should consult our best cloud-to-cloud management services roundup for ideas.
Acronis Cyber Protect Special Features
Acronis has more tricks up its sleeve, if this wasn’t enough for the more demanding users out there. Acronis lets you restore to machines with different hardware, which is something that basic online backup services don’t provide. This is known as image-based backup. Read our best disk-imaging software guide for some other backup services that can perform it.
This is similar to bare-metal recovery, which means that you don’t have to install any application or operating system software on the device that you want to restore. That’s nothing new in the backup world, but Acronis lets you initiate remote bare-metal restore and use it with ESXi and Hyper-V hosts.
Another interesting feature is Acronis Instant Restore, which enables you to start your Windows or Linux backup directly from storage as a VMware VM without moving the data anywhere. That’s useful if you need to get your computer running ASAP.
Acronis includes other features such Acronis Active Protection, which helps against ransomware, and Acronis Notary, which helps you ensure your backups integrity.
Acronis Standard Features
Acronis Cyber Protect’s standard features include incremental backup, backup scheduler, versioning, indefinite deleted-file retention, role-based administration and reports. There’s no continuous backup, though. We’re going to talk more about them below in the “ease of use” and “backup and restore” categories.
Acronis Cyber Protect is one of the most feature-rich backup services on the market. In fact, this was just a general overview of its features. You can see the complete list of features here. Note that some features are reserved for the “advanced” version of Acronis Cyber Protect. More about it in the next section.
If you want to further educate yourself about backup features, consult our best online backup services for additional reading.
Acronis Cyber Protect Features Overview
|External Drive Backup|
|Mobile Device Backup|
|Block-Level File Copying|
|Courier Recovery Service|
|Mobile App Access|
|Deleted File Retention|
|Set User Roles|
|Set Business Backup Rules|
|Access User Backup|
|Monitor Connected Devices|
|Encryption Protocol||AES 256-bit|
|Hardened Data Centers|
|Proxy Server Settings|
|Live Chat Support|
You can subscribe to either standard or advanced editions of Acronis Cyber Protect. Both require a minimum of a one-year commitment, so it’s probably wise to use the 30-day free trial first to make sure Acronis Cyber Protect is the solution you need to keep your business data protected.
If you’re convinced that it is, you can sign up for two or three years in advance, which gives you a discount. If you plan on using Acronis Cyber Protect for the long-term, you can even buy a perpetual (lifetime) license.
However, perpetual licenses require that you pay additional fees for backup and update the service yourself, which means that you might not get important software updates as soon as they’re available.
You also don’t get access to Acronis Backup Service, which delivers advanced data protection, or Acronis Disaster Recovery, which performs an automatic fail-over of critical business applications to the Acronis Cloud. A perpetual license doesn’t include cloud-to-cloud backups of Office 365 and G Suite, either.
|Backup 12.5 |
|Backup 12.5 |
|Backup 12.5 Windows Server Essentials||Backup 12.5 Office 365||Backup 12.5
In addition to licensing costs, Acronis charges for the use of its cloud infrastructure. The prices for the Acronis Cloud Storage are as follows:
Thanks to these separate prices for the use of cloud storage, Acronis Cyber Protect is far more expensive than value-oriented online backup services. The upside, though, is in its rich set of features, strong support and fast transfer speeds.
However, this isn’t a great solution if you’re a smaller business that doesn’t have much money to spare. IDrive for Business has pricing plans that don’t cost as much and offers free courier backup and recovery service, which helps lessen the impact of transferring a lot of data.
To illustrate, you get 2.5TB of cloud backup (and as much cloud sync space) for $599.62, which is much cheaper than the $1,749 you need to pay for 2TB on Acronis Cloud Storage. On top of that, you have to pay for an accompanying Acronis Backup License. IDrive also has some interesting features of its own, which you can read about in our IDrive for Business review.
Ease of Use
While most online backup services require you to set up backup plans using a desktop client, Acronis takes a different approach. You have to download an Acronis agent in order to run backup, but you manage everything else using a web client. That said, there’s a web client for a specific workstation and an administrator client that manages multiple workstations.
First, we’re going to talk about the one that manages a single workstation. The workstation web client isn’t a one-click solution, like Backblaze for Business, but Backblaze is an exception when it comes to ease of use. Acronis Cyber Protect shouldn’t take long to set up, compared to services such as IDrive for Business or CloudBerry Backup.
If these intrigue you, read our separate IDrive for Business, CloudBerry Backup and MozyPro reviews. That said, if you’re intrigued by Backblaze’s ease of use, read our Backblaze for Business review.
Overall, the client is attractive and easy to use. The menu on the left lets you navigate between the overview, connected devices, backup plans, and backup locations and settings. The menu is clear and holds more options beneath each top-level entry.
You can see the contents of each menu in the right pane. When you interact with the content on the right, menus will appear in a slide-out to the right, which maximizes whitespace and creates a modern feel.
Acronis’ administrator web client is similar to the workstation one, except that its default view is the user manager. Using it, you can create new users, administrators or units (groups of users with an administrator and corresponding devices).
Note that if you need to manage multiple users, you may want to go with Backup 12.5 Advanced, instead of the Standard edition. That’s because the Standard edition doesn’t include some essential features, such as customizable reporting and role-based access to your backup account.
If you’re on the go, you can use Acronis’ mobile application to access your computer backups. On top of that, you can use continuous backup to protect your mobile data, including contacts, photos, videos, calendars and messages. The app is simple, and you won’t have a problem using it.
File Backup & Restoration
After you sign up for service, you need to download an Acronis Cyber Protect agent and install it on the machine you want to backup. To do that, you need to log in to your account on Acronis.com to access Acronis Cyber Protect management console.
Once you log in, you will land on the default “products” page, which shows what you’ve purchased from Acronis. You need to click the “download Acronis Cyber Protect” button near the bottom of the page. Next, click the “open cloud console” button, or alternatively download the client to use in a local network.
After that, you will see a pop-up window, which will help you add a backup device. Alternatively, you can click the “show all options” link. This opens up a menu with supported platforms from the right side of your computer screen, letting you download the appropriate agent for your machine.
After the installation completes, you can start adding devices to your backup plan from the management console, where your device should now appear.
The first thing you need to do is choose what to backup. By default, this is set to “entire machine,” but you can choose to backup specific drives or files and folders. If you want to limit your costs, like most businesses, the best choice is often going to be files and folders.
That’s also how most other online backup services work, with a few exceptions, such as Backblaze for Business, which provides unlimited backup, but without all of the excellent features you get with Acronis Cyber Protect.
If you choose files and folders (or disks and volumes), the next step will be to select what you want to backup. You can do so by browsing your directory structure and selecting exactly what you want to protect. The browser is slow, and we would prefer to get a nice tree structure, which would allow users to quickly select what they want to backup.
Next, you need to choose a destination for the backup. If you’ve purchased backup space in the Acronis cloud, you can choose it. Otherwise, you need to choose a local folder.
In this phase, you can also set a schedule or disable it so you can manually run backup. The scheduler is flexible, so it lets you run backups hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.
Acronis Cyber Protect Scheduling
You can set both start times and cut-off times for backup to run. Other options include starting a backup when the system starts or shuts down, when a user logs on to the system and more.
Note that backup isn’t continuous, which means it doesn’t protect files selected in your backup set as soon as they’re added or changed. That’s one of the most useful features of cloud backup, because it means you won’t have to worry about forgetting to add any files to your backup plan.
It’s a major lack for Acronis. The closest you can come to it is to choose an hourly schedule and set it up to run every 10 minutes throughout the day.
After scheduling, you can define how long Acronis should retain previous file states; in short, a versioning policy. You can define a rule for each backup set or define a single one for all backup sets. When you define a rule, you can choose to keep backups indefinitely, by number of backup or by age. Acronis’ team did a great job providing the means to create a flexible policy.
The last step involves you turning on encryption, which we can’t recommend enough. We’ll talk more about encryption in the security section, though. After that, click “run now,” and you’re all set.
Once you create your plan, there are some advanced settings you can tweak by clicking on the gear icon and going to “backup options.” These include the ability to set file-type exclusions, alerts, pre and post commands, error handling and even the level of file compression.
Restoring with Acronis Cyber Protect
That’s a very basic guide on how to backup a Windows workstation. The process is somewhat different for backing up different platforms, but the features are the same.
To start the restore process, you need to click the “restore” button associated with the device that holds the backup you want to restore. Once you do that, you can choose which backup you want to restore.
Next, navigate to and select the files and folders you want to restore. You can choose to recover them to either their original location or a new one. Regardless of what you choose, you have the option to overwrite existing files in that location, overwrite if they’re older or keep both versions.
Like the backup process, the restore process has some advanced options that you can make use of. They include backup validation, performance modifying, and file exclusions and file security.
There are too many options to talk about, but overall, the backup and recovery experience Acronis provides is great. The only real miss is the lack of continuous backup, but you can largely reduce that by tweaking the hourly schedule.
Otherwise, Acronis has a great combination of ease of use and features, which makes it a good fit for both larger business with specific needs and smaller businesses that want to quickly get up-and-running.
We mentioned earlier that Acronis is far more expensive than some other business backup solutions, but that speed is one of the advantages you get with such an investment. That’s indeed the case, and we tested this by running several backups and restores, which tested Acronis’ transfer speeds.
In our tests, we backed up a 1GB compressed folder to the cloud and then restored it. We ran our tests from Moscow, Russia, via a WiFi network with an upload speed of 42.73 Mb/s and a download speed of 46.17 Mb/s. You can see our results in the table below:
|First attempt:||Second attempt:||Average;|
With our speeds, we should expect to upload a 1GB folder in three minutes and 21 seconds, and we should download it in three minutes and six seconds. As you can see from the table, Acronis’s average speeds don’t take much longer than what we’d expect. It’s interesting to note that it took longer to download than to upload our folder.
If you turn encryption on, your transfer will take longer. Even then, though, Acronis is among the fastest services because many online backup services take more than an hour (sometimes much longer) to upload a single gigabyte of data. Acronis reaches faster speeds, in big part thanks to its global network of servers.
Subsequent uploads should run even faster because they’re always incremental, which means that Acronis uses a block-level file copying algorithm. That enables Acronis to transfer only the parts of the files that changed, rather than entire files.
If you need to increase your transfer speeds, you can reduce the encryption level or tweak the compression settings. Lower compression runs faster, but it means your backup will take up more space.
There’s no courier recovery service, like you get with IDrive, but there’s a “physical data shipping feature,” which lets you send a hard drive with your initial backup to Acronis. It’ll cost you $99 per year. Still, IDrive’s business users can use the service for free three times a year. Overall, though, we don’t have any concerns about the backup and restore processes.
Acronis doesn’t encrypt your data by default. However, you can turn on encryption when creating your backup plan. You can only alter your security settings before finalizing your backup plan. If you decide to change it later, you will have to create a whole new backup plan.
The encryption protocol is the Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, for short. As its name says, it’s the standard in use today. You can choose between three levels available: 128-, 192- and 256-bit. In addition to picking a level of encryption, you’ll also be asked to set a password.
Note that Acronis can’t recover your password if you lose it. If that happens, it means that you’d lose access to your backup. Consider reading our best password managers for small business guide to avoid that issue.
Acronis’ encryption works from end to end and is private. That means it encrypts your files before they leave your computer and doesn’t decrypt them until you recover them. That’s the end-to-end part of it, and the private part means that your encryption password isn’t stored anywhere in Acronis, so nobody but you will ever be able to decrypt your files.
That approach, sometimes also called zero-knowledge encryption, is the best method to ensure maximum protection for your data. During transfer of that data, Acronis uses HTTPS, which embeds the SSL protocol to protect files from being tampered. You can learn more about SSL in our SSL vs. TSL comparison.
When your files reach Acronis’ data centers, they are copied to multiple servers for redundancy in case of a server failure. The data centers themselves are designed to withstand disasters, with fire suppression measures, power backup and temperature monitoring.
Acronis Cyber Protect and Ransomware
As we mentioned, Acronis Cyber Protect also provides protection against ransomware with Acronis Active Protection. It monitors your files and the way they’re being altered, looking for evidence of ransomware infection.
Data centers are also secured against infiltration with 24/7 patrols, high fences, video surveillance, biometric scanners and access cards.
Encryption doesn’t help if someone tries to crack your password, which might be easy to do if you have perpetrated some of the worst password fails. However, two-factor authentication helps protect your credentials by requiring you to enter a token sent by SMS when logging in from an unfamiliar device.
Unfortunately, Acronis doesn’t provide it. Because you can’t rely on two-factor authentication, make sure that you know how to set up a strong password.
Acronis is also HIPAA compliant, so there shouldn’t be any issues for companies that work with patient-health data. For more information about security features, read our cloud security primer and our description of encryption guide.
There shouldn’t be much reason to worry, though, because Acronis adheres to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. You can learn more about it in our GDPR guide.
The most important section details what data Acronis collects. It includes the business data you provide — such as business name, business address, email address and business phone number — and any other information that you supply to Acronis.
Acronis Data Collection
On top of that, Acronis collects the credit card information you use when purchasing a subscription and the information you provide when contacting support. That also includes the information Acronis receives from vendors and resellers. It also collects the metadata about how you use the service, including your IP address, browser type, time zone and more.
Acronis may provide your data to other parties, such as:
- Vendors that help Acronis operate by providing customer service, marketing or testing its security measures. Acronis says it’ll ensure that any vendor it shares your personal data with agrees to guard it
- Resellers and other third parties that promote and resell Acronis’s products
- Corporations, when involved in a merger, sale, restructuring, acquisition or other process
- Law enforcement agencies, when required to do so by law or other lawful disclosures
- This includes the case of if Acronis believes you have prohibited data used for illegal purposes in your account
Acronis may also combine information collected through its services and remove personally identifying information from the aggregate data. It shares that data with third parties and doesn’t limit their use of it.
As a user, you have the right to know what kind of data Acronis has about you, the right to correct or delete it, and the right to opt out of marketing emails. If you live in the EU or certain other countries, you also have the right to lodge a complaint with data authorities.
Plus, California residents can request certain information regarding Acronis’ disclosure of personal data to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.
The policy doesn’t have clauses that make us frown, and the service provides you with private encryption, so your business information should be safe.
Acronis has a knowledgbase for Backup 12.5, where you can find articles on basic procedures, how-tos, references, troubleshooting and FAQs. Articles are sorted by category, but you can use its search feature to find relevant content faster.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you can contact support via the “support” option in your user menu.
Live access to support includes 24/7 telephone and chat, which is another benefit you won’t get from most value-based online backup tools. IDrive for Business comes close with 24/7 chat, but there’s no 24/7 telephone support. We initiated chat support at 1:43 a.m. and started chatting with a support technician in less than a minute.
If you’re not in a hurry, you can send an email request. We did that around the same time as our chat session and received a response in about three hours. That’s a fast response, considering that some services take much longer and that we sent it during the night.
Last, Acronis provides access to a helpful user community, which frequently gets responses from community experts.
In the end, you get what you pay for, and there’s no product that illustrates that more than Acronis Cyber Protect. If you can swallow the high price, you will enjoy powerful features, strong security, 24/7 support, capable user management and more. That said, you won’t have unlimited backup or two-factor authentication.
If you don’t mind those drawbacks, Acronis Cyber Protect might just be the right service for you. Be sure to use its 30-days free trial to test it out. What do you think about Acronis Cyber Protect? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.