IDrive for Business Review
We would recommend IDrive for Business for pretty much any SMB or even larger enterprises.
By Joseph Gildred – Last Updated: 24 Nov'17
Backing up your business’s devices helps ensure its continued operation doesn’t take a hit due to a hard drive crash or lost computer and, when it comes to broad, flexible support for multiple device platforms, very few online backup options can compete with IDrive Business.
While it doesn’t provide unlimited backup space like close competitor CrashPlan for Small Business does, IDrive does let you backup unlimited devices. That not only includes computer backup, but smartphone, NAS and server backup, too. Along with a host of excellent features, that flexibility puts IDrive near the top of the best online backup for business options available today.
During this IDrive Business review, we’ll break down the service for you so you can make the smart choice for your business. We’ll cover features, cost, user experience, security and support. If you’re already convinced IDrive is the backup solution your business needs, you can make absolute certain by heading to IDrive for Business to sign up for a 30-day free trial.
- Unlimited device backup
- Excellent platform support
- Low cost
- Manage backup remotely
- Courier backup/recovery
- Archives deleted files
- Doesn’t backup by file type
- No two-factor authentication
The IDrive client is one of the most feature-rich you can find, making it a good choice for businesses that require broad, customizable backup capabilities.
As mentioned, a single IDrive subscription can be used to backup unlimited computers, with support for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can also backup as many external hard drives and NAS storage devices as you want. We rank it as one of the best online backup for NAS options available, in fact.
Network drives can be backed up, too. So can servers, with support for:
- Windows Server
- Linux Server
- MS SQL Server
- MS Exchange Server
- MS SharePoint Server
- Oracle Server
IDrive can also perform disk-image backup, which lets you create an exact copy of your hard drive. While this image can be used to restore your operating system on the computer from which it was taken, it can’t be used to clone your hard drive onto new hardware. If that’s a capability you need, check out our online backup recommendations for best image-based and cloning software.
Another appealing IDrive feature is that it can be used to backup smartphone data for both Android and iOS. A handful of other online backup tools let you access files via your mobile device and fewer support photo backup. IDrive, however, lets you backup contacts, media and calendar events on both Android and iOS, and texts, call logs and app data on Android.
IDrive can even be used to backup Facebook and Instagram accounts, which will come in handy if your business relies on social media campaigns.
In terms of additional backup capabilities, IDrive pretty much has it all. That includes advanced scheduling capabilities, continuous backup, block-level backup and backup notifications. We’ll touch on those aspects when we cover the basic backup process, below.
IDrive also provides file-versioning capabilities, retaining the previous ten versions of any given file. This useful for protecting your business data against both unwanted changes and file corruptions. IDrive also retains deleted files indefinitely, only clearing them from the trash bin when you do so manually or run an automated archive cleanup.
A feature that will be of particular interest to business users who can’t afford to wait for long initial backups is IDrive Express. With this service, IDrive will send you a 3TB external drive to load your data onto. Send it back, and IDrive technicians will load your data onto the cloud for you. The service can also be used for file restorations. Better, it won’t cost you anything unless you decide not to send the device back.
Perhaps what separates IDrive the most from the rest of the online backup for business field, however, is that in addition to providing online backup, it also provides some cloud storage capabilities, including file sharing and file syncing. This makes it a capable tool for facilitating work productivity, although if you really want to get serious about cloud-based collaborations with your associates, you should have a look at our best EFSS roundup.
IDrive Business plans are available for several different storage tiers, which can provide a degree of scalability and cost control for your business. With the 1.25TB plan and above you can pay monthly. However, you’ll save substantially by paying for a year or even two years in advance. By paying upfront, IDrive also offers a 25 percent discount on your first 12 or 24 months of service.
|Plan||250GB Plan||500GB Plan||1.25TB Plan||2.5TB Plan||5TB Plan||12.5TB Plan|
$ 74 62yearly
$ 149 62yearly
$ 49 95monthly
$ 79 75monthly
$ 149 95monthly
$ 299 95monthly
First year is discounted
First year is discounted
First year discounted price: $374.62
First year discounted price: $1199.25
First year discounted price: $1124.62
First year discounted price: $2249.62
While it’ll be a perfect fit for many small businesses, the scalability you get with IDrive isn’t quite on par with a pay-as-you-go infrastructure cloud storage tool — like Backblaze B2 — paired with a backup software solution like you can read about in our CloudBerry Backup review.
IDrive also doesn’t have an unlimited plan. The most backup space you can get with a single IDrive Business subscription is 12.5TB.
If you only have a handful of computers but a lot of data to backup, you might save money by going with Backblaze for Business or CrashPlan because both offer unlimited backup for a single computer. However, if you have several devices to protect, including servers and mobile devices, IDrive is probably going to be better value.
It’s also vital to recognize that IDrive provides equal storage allotments for both online backup and sync. That means that when you sign up for a 500GB plan, you’re getting 500GB for backup and 500GB for sync. That increases IDrive’s value tremendously if you intend to use its cloud storage capabilities.
IDrive is far from the easiest online backup tool to use, especially when compared to set-and-forget solutions like Backblaze. However, Backblaze also doesn’t provide nearly as many features as you get with IDrive.
Taking that into account, the service does a nice job crafting the user experience.
Most backup operations are run through a desktop application that takes just a few minutes to download and install. Navigation links along the left side of the client let you jump between backup, restore, scheduling, sync, server backup and settings.
In addition to using the desktop client, you can also use a browser-based dashboard to manage your account. Dashboard options include the ability to create work groups and invite users to backup their computers into your online backup account.
Once set up, you’ll able to access your backup files and those of your associates, manage backup processes remotely, generate reports for things like backup status and device status and create settings policies for your user groups.
IDrive backs up based on file location, meaning you’ll have to tag the folders or specific files you want to protect. This can take some time if you’re not particularly organized with regard to your file system. If you are, it shouldn’t be an issue and IDrive automatically marks some folders that are commonly backed up.
If you’d like to tag folders but want to exclude certain subfolders or specific files within, you can do that from settings.
Once you’ve got everything marked for backup, you can tell IDrive to start backing up immediately. The initial backup can take weeks depending on how many files you have to protect. That’s normal for any online backup, and this is where IDrive Express is a huge advantage.
By default, backup runs continuously, meaning that file are backed up as they’re created or changed. You can set how close to near real-time continuous backup runs from the desktop client settings pane.
IDrive also runs scheduled backups, which you can manage from the scheduler pane. In fact, IDrive has some of the most customizable schedule settings of any online backup we’ve tested. You can tell IDrive what time to run backup, what time to stop and even on what days backup should run.
As far as getting your files back from the cloud, you can do so directly from the desktop client by selecting folders and files from your directory structure. You can also choose to restore files to their original or a new location.
Remote access to your files are available by logging into your IDrive account via a web browser or from your mobile device.
We performed a handful of speed tests with IDrive to get a better sense of its performance compared to the competition. These tests involved uploading and downloading a 1GB test file. Our upload and download speeds at the time of the testing were 10 Mbps and 50 Mbps, respectively. The table below contains the results.
|Test One:||Test Two:||Average:|
Those times are a bit above what we would calculate for those Internet speeds, but not much. The discrepancy is likely due to encryption and other processes being run within the IDrive file transfer algorithms.
Overall, we were pleased with IDrive’s speed. Once files are uploaded, subsequent changes to those files will get transferred more quickly, too, thanks to IDrive’s use of block-level file copying in its file transfer algorithms. This means that only the parts of the files that change, rather than the entire file, get uploaded when a change occurs.
IDrive also lets you throttle upload and download speeds in case you find the backup process hogging system resources and interfering with other tasks. However, in our testing, we didn’t notice any such issues.
Business owners tend to deal with sensitive intellectual property and financial records. As such, strong cloud security becomes especially important and the good news is that IDrive gets almost everything right.
The company protects its servers in hardened data centers designed to protect against natural disasters, trespassing and virtual attacks. Measures include raised floors, HVAC climate control systems, cooling zones, fire-suppression systems and racks built to withstand earthquakes. Secured access, 24/7 surveillance, motion sensors and breach alarms are also in place.
On the servers themselves, your data is encrypted using 256-bit AES, which is the same encryption protocol used by financial institutions and the military to protect information. Data is also encrypted in transit using TLS/SSL.
By default, IDrive maintains your encryption password, securing it on a separate server from where your data is kept. The advantage of doing so is that the company can reset your password if you ever lose it. The disadvantage is that it opens up the possibility, however small, that someone could gain access to that encryption key. It also means that, if required to do so, IDrive could be forced to share your data with government surveillance programs like PRISM.
IDrive Private Encryption
If you’d feel more secure creating and holding onto your encryption key yourself, you can enable private encryption when you first set IDrive up. Once you start backing up, you won’t be able to make a change.
One big security miss on IDrive’s part is not including two-factor authentication, which is a means of protecting users against password theft by requiring a special security code delivered via mobile device or Google Authenticator when logging in from an unfamiliar machine. Given that IDrive also doesn’t let you set mandatory password requirements, that means there’s really very little protection against your associates using weak passwords.
IDrive does let you remotely disconnect sync for the devices on your account. That way, if a laptop is lost or stolen, you can make sure whoever has that device won’t be able to access any synced content. However, that won’t do anything for the other files on your computer.
IDrive provides 24/7 support for all users, whether business or consumer. The primary support channel used is live chat. In all of our tests, we were able to reach a support representative almost instantly, even at 2 a.m. on a Saturday.
IDrive is one of the few home online backup services to offer 24/7 support. Better yet, that includes not only email, but live chat support, too.
We fired up the live chat client at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night for fun (we like to party), and received instant connection with a support representative who quickly answered all of our questions.
IDrive also provides email support around the clock. Telephone support is another option, but only from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.
The company also maintains a support knowledgebase, with articles for troubleshooting, tutorials and FAQs. It even includes video tutorials.
Overall, IDrive provides plenty of access to support, which is key for businesses that can’t afford to wait until Monday morning to get a problem solved. The company also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. That said, we have heard some complaints from customers about it being very difficult to cancel an IDrive account.
If you’re looking to backup multiple computers, smartphones, external drives, NAS devices and even servers, there’s no question that IDrive is one of the best deals going right now. It provides better platform support and costs less than Carbonite’s business backup plan.
On top of all that, it’s one of the most feature-rich services in the online backup market, today, aside from the fact that it doesn’t offer two-factor authentication.
Where it will fall short for some users is that it isn’t quite as easy to use as unlimited backup services like CrashPlan and Backblaze. Creating backup plans can take some time and it’s easy to overlook files.
Overall, though, there’s no question IDrive belongs near the top of list for best online backup for businesses, and we have no real qualms about giving this service a strong recommendation.
Agree or disagree? We’re always open to differing opinions, so feel free to add your thoughts to the comments below.