IDrive Business review
It’s the cloud backup host with the most and exceptionally good value to boot
Small businesses on a tight budget will love IDrive Business, which offers plenty of backup features at very pocket-friendly prices. Costs are based purely on how much cloud storage you need, starting at just 41 for 250GB for the first year.
That very affordable subscription includes support for unlimited Windows, OS X and Linux systems. And it's app-friendly too: along with facilities for backing up Hyper-V and VMware hosts, you get options for securing Exchange, SQL, Oracle and SharePoint servers - along with their system states - as standard.
Setup involves a little more work than some other backup services. There's no push installation, so on each system that's to be protected you'll have to log into the IDrive web portal, download the client software and connect it by hand. The process isn't complicated, though, and once it's done you can remotely manage all systems via the new web portal dashboard. Settings such as default backup content, alerts, bandwidth throttles and schedules can be modified for connected clients as needed.
You can also set up accounts to delegate backup and restore tasks to other users. When you create a new account, a verification code is emailed to the user; on first connecting and providing this code, they'll be prompted to set a password, to reduce the risk of unauthorised access.
Configuring file backups is easy enough. A set of common files and documents is preselected for you; these can be customised from the local or remote consoles, with a handy Explorer menu option for quickly adding a file or folder to your backup set. Tasks can be scheduled to run at regular hourly and daily intervals; by default, IDrive starts with a full backup followed by incrementals. If you have a lot of data that needs safeguarding in a hurry, you can use the IDrive Express service, which lets you perform an initial backup to a removable drive, which is then couriered back to IDrive to seed your cloud account. IDrive Express can also be used for quick restores; your subscription allows you to use the service up to three uses per year at no additional charge.
We had no problems backing up our Windows 10 desktops, nor any of our servers. Although Server 2016 isn't officially supported, we were able to back up its data and system state. For Exchange, we were able to secure the entire message database, and restoring it was made easy thanks to IDrive's handy online video tutorials. You can also run separate brick-level backups -- although these aren't as good as message-level backups, since you can only use them to restore an entire mailbox. This simply needs access to a backed-up PST file, which can be accessed from the local IDrive copy or the cloud repository.
IDrive Business also supports image-based backups, continuous data protection for real-time file backup, Dropbox-like file syncing and free apps for iOS, Android and Windows mobiles. We used the iOS app on an iPad to secure our videos and photos and browse the cloud repository for quick restores. AES-256 encryption is applied to keep your backups secure, and you can let it handle the key for you or create your own and save it locally.
There's also support for hybrid backup architectures; by setting up separate jobs we were able to back up data to a mapped NAS share on our local network. Owners of Synology, Qnap or Netgear NAS appliances can also use the relevant iDrive app to secure data directly to the cloud.
In all, IDrive Business offers a superb range of cloud backup features, with excellent platform support, at a very tempting price. Indeed, it's what we've been using to protect our lab systems for over two years, and it's never let us down yet.
This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 271
Fantastic value, super features and extensive platform support makes this a top cloud backup choice for SMBs
Windows 7/Server 2008 upwards
Mac OS X 10.8 upwards
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