Running a business can be nerve-wracking, so you don’t need any additional problems if you can help it. Creating a backup for your business devices ensures that hard-drive failures or acts of nature don’t become such big problems. Thanks to various and flexible backup features, very few online backup options can compete with IDrive for Business.
IDrive doesn’t provide unlimited backups, like its close competitor CrashPlan for Small Business does — check out our IDrive vs CrashPlan comparison — but it lets you backup unlimited devices. That not only includes computer backups, but smartphone, external hard drive, NAS and server backups, too.
That, coupled with a number of excellent features, helps make IDrive one of the best online backup for small business options available today.
In this IDrive for Business review, we’ll talk about the details of IDrive for Business so you can see if it’s a good fit for your company backup. We’ll start by going over what features it provides.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Unlimited device backup
- Excellent platform support
- NAS backup
- Server backup
- Low cost
- Manage backup remotely
- Courier backup and recovery
- Indefinite deleted-file retention
- Archives deleted files
- Private encryption
- Strong technical support
- Can’t backup by file type
- Limited continuous backup
Alternatives for IDrive for Business
IDrive is at the top of our best online backup services, but that list focuses on private backup solutions. Here, we’re going to take a look at IDrive for Business, which includes all the features available on private plans with some extra goodies.
Like all the other backup services, IDrive for Business helps you protect your data in the event of a hard drive crash, theft or an act of nature. If such an event occurs, you’ll be safe knowing that your data is stored in the cloud.
There’s no unlimited backup, and if you want this, you can read our best unlimited online backup list for ideas. You can backup unlimited devices, though.
A single IDrive for Business subscription lets you backup unlimited computers. Plus, you can backup as many external hard drives and NAS storage devices as you want (consult our what is NAS guide if you’re unfamiliar with them). In fact, we rank it as one of the best online backup for NAS options available.
You can backup network drives, too. That extends to servers including:
- Windows Server
- Linux server
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Exchange Server
- Microsoft SharePoint Server
- Oracle server
You can also use IDrive to backup to local devices, which adds another layer of protection to your data and lets you restore your backups much faster than if you were doing it via the internet. This approach is called a hybrid backup, which fits nicely with the 3-2-1 backup rule. If you’re interested, read our how to set up hybrid backup for SMBs guide.
IDrive can create a disk image, which lets you create an exact copy of your hard drive. You can use this image to restore your operating system on the computer from which it was created, but you can’t use it to clone your hard drive onto new hardware. If you want that, read our online backup recommendations for the best desk imaging software.
Those who need to protect their mobile devices will be pleased to know that IDrive lets you backup smartphone data for both Android and iOS.
Most other online backup tools let you access your backed-up files via your mobile device, and fewer tools support photo backup. IDrive, though, lets you backup contacts, media and calendar events on both Android and iOS, as well as texts, call logs, music and app data on Android.
IDrive can backup Facebook and Instagram accounts, too, which is helpful if your business involves having social media campaigns.
When it comes to other backup capabilities, IDrive checks all the boxes. That includes continuous backup, advanced scheduling capabilities, block-level file copying and backup notifications. We’ll talk more about those aspects when we cover the basic backup process, below.
IDrive’s file-versioning capability lets you restore from the previous 30 versions of any given file. That helps you protect your business data against both unwanted edits and file corruptions. Plus, IDrive uses Snapshots, which provide a historical view of your files that let you easily perform point-in-time restores.
To further protect against data loss, you can use IDrive’s Bare-Metal Disaster Recovery, or BMR for short. This lets you backup an entire hard drive — including the operating system and application configurations — to an on-site server. Transfers use IDrive’s CTB technology for incremental backups to reduce the time it takes to upload your new and changed files.
If you ever want to copy your BMR backup to your cloud account, you can do so by utilizing cloud replication. IDrive also indefinitely keeps deleted files, so you can only clear them manually from the trash bin or run an automated archive cleanup.
On top of that, IDrive, unlike many other backup services, doesn’t delete data from your backup, even if you delete it from your device. That means it supports true archiving. It’s useful if you need to free up space on your devices.
If you have a business that can’t afford to wait long to create an initial backup or restore files, you’ll benefit from IDrive Express. IDrive Express is IDrive’s courier backup-and-recovery service.
With it, IDrive will send you an external drive to load your data onto. After you send it back, IDrive’s technicians will load your data onto the cloud for you, typically within two to five days. You can also use the service to restore files, which will take, again, about two to five days. The courier service is free up to three times per year for business users.
IDrive’s desktop client is rich with features, which makes it a good choice for businesses that require many customizable backup capabilities. We’ll go over it in the “ease of use” section, below.
Besides backup features, IDrive has some cloud storage capabilities, including file sharing and file syncing. That helps it be a capable tool for promoting work productivity. That said, if you want a dedicated cloud productivity service, you should have a look at our best EFSS roundup. There’s also a timeline feature that previews photos backed from your mobile device.
In the next section, we’re going to talk about IDrive’s pricing. However, if you want to learn more about business cloud backup and features, read our business cloud storage library.
IDrive for Business 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|
IDrive Business has a couple of tiers that give you a degree of scalability and cost control for your business. The first six plans require you to pay for a year or two in advance, which gives you a 25 percent discount. You can pay monthly starting with the 1.25TB plan and above.
- : First year is discounted
- : 250 GB
- : First year is discounted
- : 500 GB
- : First year is discounted
- : 1250 GB
- : First year is discounted
- : 2500 GB
- : First year is discounted
- : 5000 GB
- : First year is discounted
- : 12500 GB
The scalability you get with IDrive is great for small businesses, but it can’t quite compare with a cloud-file hosting tool that lets you pay for exactly the amount of storage you use.
One such service is Backblaze B2, which pairs nicely with a backup control center solution such as CloudBerry Backup. You can read more about it in our CloudBerry Backup review and our Backblaze B2 review.
In a similar vein, businesses that need unlimited backup won’t find IDrive attractive because it 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 need to protect several computers that have 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. You can read more about them in our separate Backblaze for Business and CrashPlan reviews.
That said, if you want to protect many devices, including servers and mobile devices, IDrive is probably going to be better value.
It’s also important to note that IDrive provides equal storage quotas for both online backup and sync. This means that when you sign up for, say, a 1.25TB plan, you’re getting 1.25TB for backup and the same amount for sync. If you intend to use IDrive’s cloud sync capabilities, that will increase its value by a large margin.
Ease of Use
With IDrive for Business, you won’t be able to backup files with a single click, like you can with Backblaze. That said, you will have access to more features.
IDrive’s desktop client works on Windows and Mac, but not on Linux. If you want penguin support, you should consider one of the services on our best online backup for Linux roundup.
The client isn’t the most attractive on the market, but it’s clear and easy to use. It requires you to select files and folders for backup, but at least you use a tree structure to do that. Some other backup solutions don’t even have that, so selecting your files becomes a chore. IDrive also automatically selects common folders for backup.
On top of the desktop client, IDrive provides a browser-based dashboard, which is convenient if you’re away from your computer. It’s easy to navigate it using the menu on the left. You can use it to preview your backup and sync spaces, see what you’ve shared with others, what others have shared with you, the photo timeline and the dashboard.
The dashboard lets you create workgroups and users, as well as add users to workgroups. You can add them as regular users or give them administrative permissions. Once you do that, you’ll be able to access your backed up files, as well as those of your co-workers.
On top of that, you can remotely manage all backed up computers, which includes options such as verifying and modifying backups, setting a schedule, and enabling alerts and notifications. You can also lock or propagate any of those settings to any group.
The complete list of options is too extensive to get into here, but suffice it to say that you’re not going to lack any admin controls.
There’s also a new, thin desktop client that is designed to be used alongside the web client. It shows only the bare-bones backup information, but it’s a good choice if you don’t want to use the regular client.
You can also access and restore your backup using IDrive’s apps for Android and iOS. On top of that, IDrive’s mobile apps let you backup your contacts, photos, videos, SMS and more. That helped it reach the top spot on our best online backup for mobile roundup. Plus, you can use the app to automatically backup photos and videos from your phone.
Once you do, you can preview your photos in the “timeline” feature and also detect faces in them. You can also tag files for offline access. The app is simple and won’t give you any issues.
File Backup & Restoration
For this section, we’ve used Windows to illustrate the backup and restore processes. Depending on which platform you’re working on, the approach might be a little different.
As we mentioned, the desktop client requires you to manually select files and folders for backup. This might be a problem if you’re not organized, but IDrive lightens the load by automatically selecting photos, documents, music, desktop and videos folders for backup.
If you want to select folders, but exclude certain files and subfolders, you need to tweak that choice in the settings menu.
Next, you can immediately start the backup by clicking the “backup now” button, or you can schedule it. You can tell it to run on specific days at a set time or switch to an hourly schedule. If you set an hourly schedule, you can specify the time the backup should stop. You can also enable email and desktop notifications.
Although the scheduler has sufficient options, we’d like to have the ability to set specific hours for backup, as well as weekly and monthly options. Acronis Backup provides all of them, and you can read more about how it handles backup operations in our Acronis Backup review.
In any case, we advise you to turn on continuous data protection from the settings menu. It automatically backs up your changed or added files that are less than 500MB.
Other backup solutions don’t impose such size limitations on continuous backup, so this is a miss for IDrive. Note that continuous backup doesn’t apply to system and temporary files.
Similar to the backup operation, restoring files requires you to select files and folders from your directory structure. After you do, you can choose to restore them to their original or new location.
Making an initial backup of your computer may take a long time. How long depends on various factors: your distance from IDrive’s servers in the U.S., your bandwidth and how well IDrive manages file transfers.
To see how long a backup took, we performed several upload and download tests using a 1GB-compressed folder made up of various file types. We did our tests using a WiFi connection out of Moscow, Russia, with an upload speed of 36.55 MB/s and a download speed of 25.82 MB/s.
|First attempt||Second attempt||Average|
With those speeds, we should expect our upload to finish in three minutes and 55 seconds without any overhead. Our upload time averaged at 42 minutes and 11 seconds. Even accounting for encryption and other processes involved in the transfer, the discrepancy is too big.
We can say the same about the download process, which took on average 42 minutes and 47 seconds, when it should have been closer to five minutes and 32 seconds. Although initial backups usually take long, these kind of results don’t promise that IDrive will use your bandwidth to its full potential.
That said, transfers should run much faster after the initial backup, thanks to the block-level transfer algorithm. If you find that IDrive takes too much out of your bandwidth, you can throttle it or set it to automatically manage the connection to optimize your work experience.
If cloud security is important for private users, it’s all the more so for business owners who tend to deal with sensitive intellectual property and financial records. The good news is that IDrive doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to security features.
IDrive uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your files at-rest on servers. That’s the same algorithm used by financial institutions and the military to protect information. Before reaching a server, though, data is also encrypted in transit using TLS/SSL protocol. You can learn more about them in our SSL vs. TLS comparison.
By default, IDrive will hold on to your encryption password, placing it on a separate server from where it keeps your data. The upside of this is that the company can reset your password if you ever forget it.
The downside is that it opens up the possibility that someone could gain access to that encryption key, be it a rogue employee or a hacker who managed to access the server.
It also means that, if compelled by law, IDrive could be forced to share your data with government surveillance programs, such as PRISM. To avoid that, you can create and hold onto your encryption key yourself if you enable private encryption when you first set up IDrive.
You won’t be able to do that once you start the backup process. If you want to learn more about private encryption, read our article explaining zero-knowledge in the cloud.
Strong encryption won’t help if someone tries to steal or crack your password. That might be fairly easy if you have a weak one. Be sure not to make any of the most common password fails. Instead, you should create a strong password and enable two-factor authentication from the web client.
Two-factor authentication helps protect your credentials by requiring you to enter a one-time token when trying to log in from an unknown device. You usually get such a token via SMS or email.
IDrive protects its servers in hardened data centers designed to guard against trespassing, natural disasters and virtual attacks.
Measures include fire-suppression systems, temperature-control systems with separate cooling zones, raised floors and racks built to withstand earthquakes. They also have secured access, 24/7 surveillance, motion sensors and breach alarms in place.
Another useful feature is the ability to remotely disconnect sync for the devices on your account. That way, if a laptop is lost or stolen, you can ensure that 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.
Similar to most other cloud services, IDrive collects the personal data that you provide it, which may include your first name, last name, valid credit card information, password and email, and business postal address. That’s nothing to raise your eyebrows about, though.
On top of the previous information, IDrive gathers your “metadata,” which is a fancy name for information that includes your connection information, browser type, IP address and session duration.
The metadata and the personal data you provide is gathered for the purpose of improving and updating the service, identifying your needs, personalizing your experience with the service and providing product announcements.
Once IDrive collects the information, it says that it doesn’t “voluntarily share personally identifiable information with any third party without the user’s express consent or unless compelled by applicable state and federal laws.”
That said, it may share information with third parties with your consent, if you choose to use a third-party service to access IDrive.
Plus, IDrive may use certain trusted third-party companies and individuals to help analyze and improve its use. Such use may include — but isn’t limited to — database management, web analytics, payment processing and improvement of features.
IDrive may disclose information to comply with laws or regulations, prevent fraud or abuse, protect the safety of any person from death or injury, or protect its property rights.
If IDrive is involved in a merger, acquisition or sale, it may transfer your information to the relevant party, but it will notify you in an email about any change of control.
You do have control over the information you supply to IDrive. You have the right to amend, correct or delete any personal information you provided to IDrive from your account. IDrive retains your information for as long as you have an active account or need the service.
If you don’t want to use the service anymore, you can delete your account through account settings or request that IDrive no longer use your information to provide you the service.
Plus, IDrive complies with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks, which handles the collection, use and retention of personal information transferred from the European Union member countries and Switzerland to the United States. Note that IDrive complies with onward transfers from the EU and Switzerland to the U.S.
Interested readers from the EU will be pleased to know that IDrive also complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which helps protect the privacy of users’ online data. It also defines a set of online privacy rights available to citizens of the EU. More about that in our GDPR guide.
IDrive is one of the few online backup services that provides 24/7 support for business and private users. The primary support channel is live chat, and we were able to reach a support representative instantly at 12:45 a.m. on a Monday. It also includes email support, too.
Before sending a request for help via email, you can get in touch with an IDrive support representative via telephone. Telephone support isn’t 24/7, but it operates from 6 a.m. PST to 11:30 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.
IDrive also has a support knowledgebase, with articles for troubleshooting, tutorials and FAQs. It even includes video tutorials. The FAQ section has detailed answers and screenshots that help you follow along.
Overall, IDrive has sufficient support capabilities that make sure even the most demanding businesses resolve their problem in a timely manner.
If you run a business that requires you to backup multiple computers, NAS devices, smartphones, external drives and even servers, there’s no question that IDrive for Business delivers. It’s cheaper than Carbonite’s business backup plan and provides better platform support.
True archiving, courier backup, indefinite deleted-file retention and bare-metal backup are just some of the features IDrive offers. Plus, it runs 24/7 chat support, as well as email and telephone support.
IDrive can’t backup by file type, is slow to transfer files and has continuous backup that’s limited to files of 500MB and less. To be fair, though, backing up by file type isn’t common with services that aren’t unlimited. Because of that, it’s not as easy to backup files with IDrive, but users shouldn’t have any problems.
If you find yourself in the group of users that need unlimited backup or you just need a different solution, consult our business cloud storage reviews for alternative ideas.
Overall, though, it’s clear that IDrive belongs near the top of the list for best online backup for businesses, and we don’t hesitate to give this service our recommendation.
Would you recommend IDrive for Business? We’d like to hear your opinion, even more so if it’s different than ours. Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.