Acronis Cloud has become an increasingly large part of Acronis with the launch of Acronis True Image 2016 and it feels great to finally get access to all the “secret” cloud features that are just taking up space with a standard ATI 2016 license.
Acronis True Image Cloud is surprisingly feature packed and combined with the many features in Acronis True Image 2016 you now have a pretty advanced backup kit on your hands.
Until recently I was extremely reluctant to give in to the movement towards cloud storage when a recent work experience introduced me to the alluring and convenient nature of cloud storage after which I gave in to the temptation and upgraded my Acronis True Image 2016 to Acronis Cloud.
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Table of Contents
Your immediate benefits of Acronis Cloud
- Acronis True Image 2016 included
- File and system backup to the cloud
- Live cloud synchronization
- Backup of mobile devices
- Unlimited cloud storage
- 256 bit encryption
Is online storage the icing on Acronis True Image?
Acronis True Image has been the backbone of my personal and professional backup strategy since version 2009. Even on its own I strongly believe that it is the best price vs. performance backup program for personal and small business use.
With the Acronis Cloud addition you can set up a potentially water proof backup and data management suite. You now have a full arsenal of online backup features as well as the powerful Acronis True Image tools such as:
- System backup/Disk imaging
- File backup
- Disk cloning
Acronis Cloud structure
Considering the extensive cloud presence in Acronis True Image 2017, I was somewhat surprised to see that you are “leaving” Acronis 2016 for so many of the tasks involved and that you now need to work in no less than four different user interfaces if you use all features:
- Your local Acronis True Image installation
- The online dashboard
- The actual Acronis Cloud area
- Mobile device area
The many features and a somewhat dispersed user interface do create a certain learning curve before you fully understand what you can achieve with this extensive backup kit and how the combination of Acronis True Image and Acronis Cloud is structured.
But you quickly get the hang of how things work though and since backup and sync setups are often “set and forget” tasks, it will not hold you back for long. You just have to play around with some test scenarios to get comfortable with the workflow.
You have four main solutions at your disposal.
- Backup to cloud
- Mobile backup/sync
Backup to cloud
This feature is quite different from the standard Acronis True Image backup in the following ways:
- The backup does not create the usual “single file” backup, but is instead more like an online copy of your data which can be accessed directly without recovery or decompression steps.
- No incremental or differential backup schemes.
- Every time you run the backup, deleted and changed files are updated within the same backup and as such works much like a file synchronization program.
If you prefer the traditional “one file” backup which can be encrypted before the upload, a tip is to create your “one file” Acronis True Image backups as usual and place those in an Acronis Cloud sync folder. This way you can keep working with your preferred backup schemes and only get standalone backup files in the backup cloud area.
Either way, the “backup to cloud” feature works like a charm.
The archive feature is the perfect tool for someone who doesn´t own or want to deal with growing local storage issues.
You can use the archive as your digital garage where you can keep things you are not currently using or things that you are just not ready to delete. This is where the unlimited storage space comes in handy.
Archived files are deleted locally after upload and no files are left in the trashcan.
Another great use of this feature is if you are on the road with your laptop and are running out of disk space. You can then simply dump the files in your Acronis Cloud archive area to free up some space on your computer.
You can have the archive feature scan your home folder or other selected area where it creates filters based on size or file type so that you can quickly select what you want to unload online.
Data center selection
In the settings of the archive area you can choose between different data centers around the world. I have not experimented with this, but I suppose you might achieve faster upload and download performance if you chose the one closest to your location.
Keep in mind though, that this setting can´t be changed after you run the archive job the first time. So you should probably choose the one closest to your home or place of work even though you create the archive job elsewhere.
The sync feature is a straight forward file synchronization setup where you simply select a folder to be synchronized live whenever the folder content changes.
You can set up as many jobs as you want and once you have created a sync folder, everything that is added, deleted or changed within the folder will update automatically. It even works when Acronis True Image is turned off.
The main Sync folders as well as the files and folders within, get little icons that tell you when a sync action is in progress and when the file or folder is in sync.
On a Windows platform you also get notifications in the process line. These can be turned off if you think they are too intrusive. I assume this is also the case on Mac computers.
You can download apps for Android and iOS and setup a sync/backup for selected areas of you smart device, such as pictures, movies etc.
Unfortunately this part of the program has a serious flaw! The issue is that, at the time of writing, there is no way for you to delete a mobile backup permanently. Even though you delete the backup job in the device area, the actual backup of the data is not being deleted. Acronis even tells you this when you delete the backup job. (See image below).
After the job deletion you can still access the backup from your smart device and you can also re-establish the backup job which brings back the backup.
I will update this article if and when I find the issue to be resolved.
Update 6/2-2016: Acronis has confirmed that the user is, in fact, unable to delete a mobile backup. So use this feature with caution!
Update 4/9-2016: With the release of Acronis True Image 2017 this is no longer an issue. You are now free to delete a mobile backup. Great!
Poor integration in Acronis True Image
The integration of the mobile backup feature is a bit strange. For some reason you can´t access the mobile backup in the cloud area where you have the other backup and sync setups visible.
The only way to access the mobile cloud backup is via the recover button in the device area. This feels unfinished, but once you know how it works the issue is negligible.
Android app functionality
You can setup the app as you prefer in order to save power or cellular data with typical settings such as:
- Always backup
- Backup only when the phone is charging
- Never backup
- Use Wi-Fi and cellular connection
- Wi-Fi only
The backup selection area is somewhat primitive. You only have a few selection options and no way to select specific folders.
The upload and download is quite slow and since the app is extremely power-thirsty the option only to backup when phone is charging is a good choice.
Unfortunately I am unable to test the iOS app, but I assume it works along the same lines.
The dashboard – “Family data protection”
The dashboard tab was a new addition with the Acronis True Image 2016 release. The intention of this area is that you can manage the backups of all devices that are connected to an Acronis account which will probably mean your family in most cases.
The area looks exactly like Acronis True Image except it has fewer tabs in the toolbar. The dashboard lives online and within the dashboard you have 4 tabs:
The devices area presents an overview of your different devices and the status of the individual backup and sync jobs. Here you can manage and also run your backup jobs.
The Archive, sync and backup tabs all take you to the real cloud area so to speak. Using these tabs creates new browser tabs and you quickly find yourself with several open tabs.
A quick tip is to create a browser shortcut that will take you directly to the Acronis cloud area circumventing the dashboard.
From a user point of view I feel that since 3 out of four tabs are only stepping stones to the actual Acronis cloud area, it would make sense to integrate the devices area there as well and eliminate this extra element in the backup workflow which creates a learning curve that is steeper than necessary.
Acronis True Image Cloud area
This is the actual home of your Acronis Cloud data and here you can access files:
- Mobile backup ??
As indicated earlier, I was quite surprised that the mobile backup is not included in this list! I have asked Acronis support whether this is intentional or perhaps a bug and I will update this section when I have a conclusive result.
There is no straight forward shortcut available to reach this area directly from Acronis True Image. You either have to use the “browse my data” shortcut in the Acronis account tab or the recovery buttons in your backup jobs. Alternatively you can go through the dashboard or simply create a favorite in your browser.
However, a convenient shortcut in the default user interface would be quite convenient and probably easy to create for the Acronis programmers.
File sharing is an extremely practical option to share your files with others. You can even share folders without having to compress the files first.
This is a great way to send files that are too big for e-mail. You can even share folders which is practical if you are using Acronis Cloud professionally.
You simply have to mark a file or folder to be shared after which a link is created that you can send to others. This is a fantastic feature to have at your fingertips.
I have often heard bad things about the Acronis Support but I have now used both chat and e-mail support where I have experienced a service similar to, or even faster than with other products.
Both times when I have used the chat support I was greeted almost immediately and even though there seem to be a limit to the depth of technical support on the chat, the almost immediate assistance is something you don´t see every day.
I have created an e-mail ticket which was answered within a couple of work days with an apology for the time it had taken. I myself was slow to react to the answer from the support and another couple of days later they wrote me back asking whether my problem had been solved.
Cloud storage tips for the cautious
Even though the Cloud environment is encrypted you can always decide to add further safety measures if you want feel extra protected. Here are a couple of tips.
- Only upload password protected and compressed files
- Create encrypted backups in a sync folder
- Use backup splitting in Acronis True Image and upload the segments to different online backups.
I really enjoy having access to all features in Acronis True Image Cloud. I especially appreciate the backup and sync features and both features work very convincingly.
Mobile backup was not a part of my considerations when I was deciding whether or not to upgrade my Acronis 2016 to a cloud subscription but I was still open to adopt the feature.
However, the unaceptable inability to delete such a backup from the server immediately eliminated any interest I might have had in the option. This is a major shortcoming in my opinion and has to be an oversight in the program layout. The structure and isolated nature of the mobile backup feature feels rushed in stark contrast to the rest of the tools which work rather well!
I would have liked to see an ad hoc upload feature with a non-designated cloud area similar to the archive, backup and sync section. The option to upload files without using any particular pre-defined feature would be a very welcome program addition in my book.
I believe Acronis Cloud is on par with similar services. The lower price tag and unlimited storage space combined with the integration with a strong backup program makes Acronis Cloud an online storage alternative worthy of your attention.
So, Acronis True Image Cloud is definitely not a gimmick and I am quite happy with my upgrade. I can recommend Acronis Cloud with peace in mind.
- Several backup options
- Unlimited storage space
- Acronis True Image integration
- Cheaper than close rivals
- Upgrade discount if you own an Acronis True Image license
- Practical file sharing feature
- No simple file upload feature. You need to use one of the job types to upload data
- Mobile backup and recovery download could be faster
- Mobile backup not included in the cloud area with the other backup and sync jobs
- Workflow could be more intuitive with less control areas