Acronis True Image Cloud Review 2018
One of the best backup services out there today, Acronis True Image offers a wealth of features and amazing speeds.
Acronis has been protecting hard drives since 2003, and that experience shines through with its most recently released personal online backup solution, Acronis True Image 2018.
As with any backup solution, we approached our True Image review packing bullets forged from skepticism. What we found was a online backup tool that leaves little to take aim at, and, in fact, left us pleasantly disarmed.
In fact, it’s safe to say that True Image surpasses most other solutions covered in our online backup reviews library as an all-around solution. It does so with smart execution of expected features like backup scheduling and ease of use, while also offering a fair dose of the unexpected.
You’ll find features more traditionally belonging to cloud storage like sync and archiving alongside innovative security features like ransomware detection and blockchain checks to ensure backup fidelity. Unlike many other home backup solutions, Acronis also offers mobile backup, disk imaging and the ability to create boot media.
True Image’s biggest selling point, however, has to be its speed. Users of value-based online backup solutions like Carbonite are likely all to aware of the pains of completing initial data backups. Supported by a global network of servers, instead of looking at backing up 10 to 20GB per day, based on our tests, users of Acronis True Image can expect to backup closer to 80GB — or more.
The catch is that Acronis True Image will also cost you slightly more. However, the prices aren’t so far beyond value-based options as to not make it worth the tradeoff. In fact, if you’ve got three or more computers to backup, in some cases it might end up costing you less.
Stick with us as we run down all the finer points of of using Acronis True Image to discover how it might fit into your online backup needs, and how else it ranks against the best online backup tools available. Or, try it yourself with a 30-day free trial.
- Unlimited backup
- Competitive pricing
- Backup external drives
- Mobile file access
- Doesn’t backup by file type
- No two-factor authentication
- No mobile device backup
- Backup for just one computer
- Exceptionally fast backup
- Global server network
- Desktop & mobile backup
- Private end-to-end encryption
- Disk imaging & cloning
- Hybrid backup
- File archiving
- File syncing
- Ransomware scanning
- Blockchain fidelity checks
- Tool library
- No two-factor authentication
- No Linux support
- No courier service
As a backup tool designed for personal rather than business use, Acronis True Image is intended to protect consumers from hard-drive crashes in a way that’s user friendly and feature-rich, without being priced beyond a typical household budget.
A single subscription can be used to image or backup files on one computer, with options for both cloud backup and backup to local storage, including NAS devices. This means it’s capable of hybrid backup, which is the approach generally recommended by backup experts, including Cloudwards.net.
Supported platforms include Windows and MacOS. If you’re a Linux desktop user, you’ll need to pick another option. Our best online backup for Linux guide is a good place to start.
Mobile apps are available for Android and iOS to access your files. These apps can also be used to backup your mobile data, which is something you can’t do with most other online backup tools.
Operations are run through a desktop client that’s modern and easy to use. We’ll be taking a closer look at the backup and recovery processes later, so for now we’ll just point out some useful features.
In addition to duplicating your hard drive in the cloud, Acronis True Image includes a handy archival tool that can be used to actually free up space on your hard drive. This is once again an unusual but welcome feature in an online backup tool. It’s a feature more commonly associated with our best cloud storage providers, in fact.
Taking another page from cloud storage, True Image also lets you sync files across devices. That means that if you make changes on a file on one synced device, those changes will be reflected in a corresponding file on other synced devices, saving you from having to perform manual file transfers.
Additionally, True Image comes with a set of tools packaged into its client that can be used for other data management tasks.
Among the options are a cloning tool to help you migrate your file system to a new computer, a tool to create bootable media to start non-booting computers, a system cleanup tool and another to permanently destroy old data.
There’s also an option to install third-party tools designed by the Acronis user community, accessible via the user forum.
Two other useful features include Acronis Notary and Active Protection. Notary uses blockchain technology to ensure backup fidelity, while Active Protection scans for possible ransomware attacks.
Acronis has a slew of other features that are expected of a modern backup tool. Private encryption, block-level backup to speed up file copying of altered files, the ability to create backup schedules, an option to limit bandwidth used and configurable file versioning are just a few.
While many value-based backup options like Carbonite and IDrive have data centers located in a single region, the U.S., Acronis Cloud is composed of a global network of servers.
It’s this widespread infrastructure that, along with multi-threaded backup, likely gives True Image such a pronounced advantage when it comes to file copying speed. See our segment on “speed” to find out how pronounced.
Acronis does not provide a courier recovery service like you get with IDrive. However, with the transfer speeds True Image accomplishes, that’s much less of an issue with this service than it is with others.
The bigger miss — really the only impactful miss — is that True Image doesn’t yet support two-factor authentication. However, the Acronis development team does supposedly have that in the works.
When purchasing Acronis True Image 2018, you can opt for a lifetime license for $34.99 or a subscription plan. However, the lifetime license doesn’t let you store data in Acronis Cloud, meaning it’s only good for backup to a local or network drive.
On top of that, lifetime licenses don’t automatically upgrade to new versions of Acronis. In light of all that, we’d recommend sticking with a subscription.
There are two different subscription plans: advanced and premium. Each has different price tiers that get you more storage. Each subscription also only applies to one computer, but you get a nice discount if you purchase multiple subscriptions.
|Plan||Advanced 250GB||Advanced 500GB||Premium 1TB||Premium 2TB|
$ 49 99yearly
$ 79 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 69 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 119 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 149 99yearly
$ 159 99yearly
$ 139 9810 months
$ 189 98yearly
$ 199 98yearly
|Storage||250 GB||500 GB||1000 GB||2000 GB|
Cost for 1 PC
Cost for 1 PC
Cost for 1 PC
Cost for 1 PC
With an advanced plan, you have the option of 250GB for $49.99 or 500GB of storage for $69.99. Premium plans start at 1TB for $59.99 and go all the way up to 5TB for $259.95.
The premium plan adds Acronis Notary and Acronis Asign. Both are blockchain features. Notary makes sure your backup maintains integrity, while Asign tracks electronic signatures.
In terms of value relative the competition in the personal online backup market, Acronis is priced a bit higher, but not discouragingly so. In fact, if you’ve got multiple computers to protect in your household, it might even save you money.
For example, as you can read in our Backblaze review, a subscription with that service will cost you $50 for a one-year subscription, half the cost of a 1TB Acronis subscription. You don’t get discounts for multiple computers with Backblaze, so backing up three computers would cost $150 – roughly the same price as three 1TB Acronis subscriptions.
Backing up five computers with Backblaze would cost $250. Five 1TB True Image subscriptions, meanwhile, only costs $159.
Even at the one computer, $99 cost, however, True Image proves a bargain given the many extra features it packs and it’s rather conspicuous speed advantage over Backblaze. In short, it costs twice as much but offers several times the value.
Of course, that’s just our opinion. Before you commit, you can give Acronis True Image a test drive with a 30-day trial to determine if you see things the same way we do.
True Image isn’t as easy to use as Backblaze, but most users shouldn’t have any difficulties getting the client installed and their backup plan running. The client is mostly well designed, aside from the fact that the text is a bit small.
Along the client’s left-side margin, you’ll find several navigation icons tied to various operations. The first is for backup, followed by icons for archiving, sync, tools, active protection, account and settings.
Way down at the bottom are two more icons: one for upgrading your subscription and one for accessing support.
Clicking on any icon link changes the view shown in the client to display information and options relative to that task. For example, if you click on the backup view you’ll see three tabs at the top of the client: backup, activity and restore.
The activity tab provides an audit view of actions and processes, including backup plan creation, completed backups and restores. It’s a convenient way to get a quick look at what’s happening.
The backup tab lets you create your backup plan, while the restore tab is where you’ll go to retrieve files. We’ll discuss both in more detail in the next section.
However, we will point out that Acronis gives you an option to simply backup everything on your computer rather than tagging specific files and folders. While this will take up more backup space, it also makes the process of designing a backup plan much easier, and ensures you don’t accidentally overlook files.
If you go that route, you can choose to add file exclusions, too, for example for system and temp files that you don’t really need.
Acronis has some nice notification options, too, that will keep you informed of what’s happening and alert you if something goes wrong.
The desktop client’s account view is also helpful, giving you a quick look at how much of your backup space is being used. There’s a button that will open the online dashboard, too.
From the online dashboard, you can execute manual backups and recover files. This is useful for remote management of your account if you’re not on your computer.
You can also access your archival and sync space, here, in addition to the desktop client.
Backup scheduling is planned using the backup tab. There, you can select both data to backup and a destination to back them up to.
Click on the source option and you can choose to backup your entire PC or specific disks, partitions, folders and files. Other options include the ability to choose files to notarize, as well as backup mobile devices and social media accounts.
Before we cover file backup, let’s look at those latter options.
The notary feature is something you won’t yet get with most online backup tools, but likely will in a few years. It uses blockchain to maintain data integrity by computing a unique fingerprint for each file. The goal of the notary feature is to add confidence, absolutely ensuring that Acronis is faithfully backing up your files.
It may seem like a strange step to take at first, but the reality is that sometimes online backup solutions lose files or mix up metadata. It’s a complaint we’ve heard from plenty of disgruntled customers before, at least. While an excellent insurance policy, it’s only available to premium subscribers at this time.
Mobile backup is another feature you’ll not find with many other backup providers, and this one is available to all subscription levels.
Backing up your mobile phone requires downloading an app for your iOS or Android device. You can store data locally, on your computer, or in the Acronis Cloud.
Social media backup, also uncommon, can be used to backup Facebook and Instagram accounts, ensuring that photos, messages, likes and comments are protected. It’s a nice touch, given the frequency with which social media accounts are hacked today (for another service that offers this, check out our IDrive review).
The bread and butter of True Image, however, is protecting files on your computer.
While backing up your entire computer or an entire partition will save you time and ensure you’re not overlooking files, if you’re only working with 250GB of online backup space, you may need to limit what’s getting saved.
For that, you’ll need to backup specific folders and files by tagging them in your file system
Once you’ve tagged everything you want to backup, the next step is to choose a destination. There are three options: Acronis Cloud, an external drive or a custom location, including FTP paths and NAS devices
For brevity’s sake, in this review we’re going to focus on backup to Acronis Cloud.
Once you’ve selected Acronis Cloud as your backup destination, you can start backup immediately by clicking the “backup now” button.
There’s also an option to “encrypt backup” that we’ll discuss in the security section of this review. An “options” button lets you configure your backup schedule, notifications and exclusions.
Once you start running your initial backup, Acronis will calculate how long the process should take based on your Internet connection speed and some other factors, and let you know. You can close the client if you want; Acronis will keep running in the background.
Once your files are in the cloud, you can recover them if needed by clicking on the recovery tab of the desktop client’s backup view.
Tag the files you want to recover. The drop-down window near the top will let you select specific versions. Once that’s done, click “next.”
You can choose to recover files to their original location or click “browse” to choose a new one. This can be a location on your computer or an external one. Click “recover now” to kick off the process.
That’s really all there is to it. You can access files from your browser or mobile device, too, if you’re away from your computer. Overall, the True Image backup and recovery processes do everything we could ask for. Better yet, as we’re about to see, it’s all done very quickly, too.
One of the big issues people tend to encounter with value-based online backup solutions is slow speeds. Initial uploads, if you’ve got a few hundred gigabytes of data to protect, can actually take months in some cases.
Acronis True Image doesn’t seem to have that problem, which is probably the most compelling of several reasons why it’s worth the added cost.
To test upload and download speeds with Acronis, we prepared a 1GB compressed folder made up of several different file types, then tried backing it up and recovering it. Our tests were performed over a WiFi connection with modest speeds of approximately 18 Mbps up and 25 Mbps down.
The tests were performed from Southeast Asia (Bali), using an Acronis Cloud server located in the U.S.
Here are the results:
|Test One:||Test Two:||Average:|
To call these backup speeds a nice surprise would be an understatement. For the sake of comparison, the same upload test with Carbonite took about three hours to complete, as you can read in our Carbonite review. Tests with a faster service, Backblaze, still took over an hour.
Acronis True Image took under 15 minutes. While we didn’t complete a full backup of our test computer to find out, if those speeds held true, we could expect to backup close to 100GB of data a day
Acronis doesn’t hide your data transfer speeds, either. During a download, it keeps you apprised at how many Mbps its copying files at. During uploads, this fluctuated around 10 Mbps.
While that’s below our 18 Mbps upload speed, it’s still a far cry better than the speeds of most other online backup services we’ve played with. The transparency is appreciated, too.
Download speeds were a bit less dramatically different, but still better that what we’ve come to expect. Overall, the results are impressive — more so because we working out of SE Asia (Bali), transferring to and from a U.S.-based data center.
If we’d wanted to, we could switch to Acronis’ Singapore data center, which would likely result in even better times. That’s not an option you get with most other backup services, unless you were to go with a pricey solution like CloudBerry Backup paired with Amazon Web Services (for more on this powerful combo, read our CloudBerry Backup review).
While we didn’t have any issues with Acronis True Image hogging system resources, there’s also an option to decrease the resources the tool uses. These can be access from the advanced settings tab, under “performance and network.”
You can set a hard cap for Mbps or you can switch between “optimal” and “maximum,” with optimal saving resources for other tasks and maximum funneling them all into your backup processes.
We actually ran our tests under “optimal” rather than “maximum” to conserve resources. Had we used maximum, the speeds would have been even better.
Acronis True Image 2018 includes several security measures to protect your backup data, although in many cases it’s up to you to take advantage of them.
For example, you’ll have the option of encrypting the files sent to Acronis Cloud when creating your backup plan by clicking the text that reads “encrypt backup” below the backup destination input.
The text is a bit easy to miss and if you don’t do it when you first set your backup destination, you won’t be able to do so later. You’ll have to delete and recreate your backup, instead.
When adding encryption, you’ll be asked to enter a password.
Only you will know this password, which is used to generate the encryption key. That means that only you can decrypt your files, but be sure and write your password down or save it somewhere safe, like LastPass or another password manager. If you forget it, you’ll also lose access to your backup.
Files get encrypted before leaving your machine and remain encrypted in Acronis Cloud. They won’t be decrypted until recovered by you. This method of private, end-to-end encryption is sometimes known as zero-knowledge encryption, and is the best way to secure your data.
The encryption protocol used is AES-256, commonly used financial institutions, governments and many other cloud services. We cover encryption and other aspects of data protection measures in our cloud security article if you’d like to learn more. In nutshell, it’s uncrackable for any practical purposes as a brute-force hack would take billions of years to complete.
Acronis also takes the usual step of protecting your data transfer using TLS/SSL to secure the channel. This will help rebuff man-in-the-middle attacks and similar hacks.
True to form, Acronis also takes a few unusual steps to protect your data. The best of these is called Acronis Active Protection, which actively monitors for possible ransomware attacks, a type of malware. This feature doesn’t cost any extra and it’s available on any level of subscription and for perpetual licenses.
You can check for any activity flagged as suspicious from the dedicated Acronis Active Protection view in the True Image desktop agent.
While more commonly targeted at businesses, ransomware can be anybody’s problem if proper measures aren’t taken. It works by corrupting files, after which those behind the attack charge a sum of money for clean copies.
In the event that a piece of ransomware does sneak by Active Protect, or if your files become otherwise corrupted, True Image’s versioning capability should also let you roll back to uncorrupted copies once you’ve removed the malware.
Acronis Cloud is composed of servers protected in multiple secure data centers around the world. Each center is surrounded by high fences, patrolled by security personnel 24×7 and monitored with video surveillance. Biometric scanners and key cards further ensure no unauthorized access.
No matter which region you choose to host your data in, copies of your files will be stored on multiple servers for redundancy. The approach is similar to RAID architecture. Finally, data centers are protected against other disasters with fire detection and suppression systems and backup power generators.
Overall, there’s little room for improvement that we could find with regard to the Acronis approach to security — save one miss, which we mentioned earlier: no two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication is a means of protection against password hacks. While encryption keys are hard to crack, weak passwords aren’t. If you do decide to go with Acronis True Image as your backup service, we’d recommend taking appropriate steps to ensure you’ve created a strong password.
Acronis maintains a dedicated support portal for True Image, as it does all of its products. Support articles are nicely organized under headers like “hot topics,” “backup” and “cloning.”
There’s a search option to assist you in finding help, although it scours the entire Acronis site rather than limiting it to True Image articles, which makes it somewhat less useful than it could be.
If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for in the support site, you can either post a question to the user forum or contact Acronis support.
Live support is offered 24×7 via chat. We had no troubles initiating chat, and the support technician we chatted with appeared to know his stuff. If you’d prefer to use email, you can also fill out a support form for that. There’s an option to attach screenshots and log files to speed things along.
Phone support is also an option, if you prefer that method of support.
The user forum, Acronis Community, appears to be actively used. That’s a nice change of pace, as most often forums for online backup don’t see much activity, if they exist at all.
Acronis True Image 2018 provides enterprise-quality backup for the home consumer. It’s modern take on online backup is both user friendly and powerful, which will appeal to both technophobes and power users alike.
Unless you’ve got three or more computers to backup, you’ll likely end up spending more on True Image than you will many other personal online backup solutions. However, with all the extras this tool packs and the infrastructure behind it, it’s easy to make the argument that it provides more value than those solutions, regardless of what subscription you go with.
The significant speed advantage of True Image over competing services detailed in our best online backup guide is the linchpin of that argument. The fact that it’s accompanied by a host of uncommon features like mobile backup, file archiving, sync, blockchain checks and ransomware monitoring don’t hurt, either.
Overall, we’re impressed. While Linux support and two-factor authentication would be welcome additions, there’s no question that Acronis deserves some serious props for what it’s accomplished with True Image and we’re happy to recommend it as an excellent backup choice.
Care to weigh in? Let us know your thoughts on True Image 2018 in the comments below, and thanks for reading.