In this Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation review I will take a close look at the New Generation features that come with the new premium subscription plan to see what you get for the higher price.
Acronis True Image New Generation is an extended version of the standard Acronis True Image 2017. This new release now also addresses the growing threat from ransomware where criminals hijack your data and demand a ransom to give it back to you.
Personally I think that this is a particularly nasty malware trend. I would imagine it to be a devastating expense for home users as well as small business owners, having to buy their precious data back from some stranger at a vulgar price.
It felt really good to add ransomware protection software to my system security. This extra level of protection to my own computer is a real comfort.
Please also check out my ATI 2017 review if you are unfamiliar with the original Acronis True Image backup features.
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Table of Contents
- Standard vs. Premium edition
- What´s new in Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation?
- NEW ► Acronis Active Protection against ransomware
- What is ransomware?
- How Acronis active ransomware protection works
- NEW ► Acronis Notary
- NEW ► Acronis ASign
- NEW ► local mobile backup browsing
- All standard features are included
- What I liked
- What I didn´t like so much
Standard vs. Premium edition
Up until now the Acronis pricing alternatives were all based on the same version of Acronis True Image but with different subscription models.
The new license layout now includes a premium plan which offers access to Acronis True Image New Generation.
Acronis has a very nice comparison chart where you can see the differences between the license plan selections.
What´s new in Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation?
- Acronis Active Ransomware Protection
- Acronis Notary
- Acronis ASign
- Mobile backup browsing
- Mobile backup and Facebook backup “In transit” encryption
- Enhanced security
- Single dashboard cloud sign-in. You no longer have to sign into the different cloud areas individually.
NEW ► Acronis Active Protection against ransomware
Acronis Active Protection will behave very much like your standard internet security software. The feature runs in the background and is permanently active. It monitors system processes and protects your data in real time just like you are used to with your anti-virus software.
This new feature was interesting enough for me to upgrade to the premium subscription even before my standard plan had expired.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a relatively new kind of internet crime which is said to be spreading rapidly. Personally I think this is even more terrifying than a virus infection. A virus infection can be serious enough of course, but most often it will “only” mess with your operating system.
Ransomware on the other hand is a vicious malware that typically slips into your system via sneaky e-mails. Once you get hit, the malicious software encrypts anything it can get hold on, including external drives, local drives, network drives, NAS devices etc.
This is then followed by a “kind offer” for you to buy your data back!
If this happens and you don´t have a recent backup, you are totally at the mercy of unknown criminals. You can´t even know for certain that they will not raise the price once you indicate that you are willing to pay.
How Acronis active ransomware protection works
The active protection monitors your system for suspicious and malicious processes and alerts you when it blocks a system process.
Not all suspicious processes are malicious though. Some programs make edits to different registries in the system which may be similar in nature to malware behavior. In such cases you get the chance to confirm whether the process is trusted or not.
You will occasionally receive alerts from the Ransomware Protection just like you get asked by Windows or your anti-virus/firewall whether a given action is trusted or not. Since my upgrade I have only been alerted this way a couple of times, so the protection is not too intrusive.
However, in the beginning you may need to confirm trusted programs or processes from time to time until the program learns your ways.
Whitelist and blacklist
The system works with a white list and a black list just like when you create traffic rules in you firewall. This way the active protection learns what to accept from you and along the way you will probably rarely notice the program.
You can choose to set this up right away or just let it build over time by confirming or denying the requests. But since most of us use 5-10 programs 90% of the time it may be useful to set this up manually to avoid distractions later.
One malware behavior is attacking the program that is keeping it from accessing your data. Acronis Active Protection will supposedly defend the system against such attacks on Acronis True Image itself, as well as keep anyone from messing with your boot record.
The anti ransomware process does not seem to task the system noticeably. Until now the anti ransomware idle system load has been comparable to that of an internet browser and less than half of my Norton Internet Security installation.
I didn´t notice any difference in system boot time.
NEW ► Acronis Notary
Acronis Notary enables you to create a certificate of authenticity for your backup. This is not an active protection but a means ensure or prove to others that a backup of one or more files has not been altered accidentally or intentionally. This would add an extra level of security to things like:
- Legal documents
- Financial documents
- Personal documents
The Acronis Notary feature uses so-called “Blockchain” technology to create a kind of fingerprint which can be used to verify the authenticity of your files when you recover the backup at a later date no matter how old the backup becomes.
This feature will most likely speak to business users first. But we all come across situations in our personal lives where a certificate of authenticity for a document could be useful.
From the top of my head, this could be things like:
- Lease agreements
- Rental property takeover reports with condition photos or video
- Second hand sales agreements
- Insurance claim situations
- Claims of intellectual property
- Proof of payments
NEW ► Acronis ASign
“ASign” works in connection with the Acronis Notary feature in that it enables you to have a number of people sign off on a file electronically, after which the file is notarized by Acronis Notary. The authenticity of the file can then be verified at a later date.
This feels very much like a corporate business feature, but you can also use this feature in your personal life in situations like the ones mentioned in the previous section.
NEW ► local mobile backup browsing
Local mobile backup was introduced with the release of Acronis True Image 2017 and I have to say that I love this feature. I am not the biggest fan of cloud storage and this extremely convenient way to backup my phone is a heaven-sent.
Backing up your mobile device does not get much simpler. You simply scan the QR code with your device using the free Acronis True Image app. You then select what you want to back up to your computer via Wi-Fi.
You only need to scan the code once and using the app is a breeze.
What´s new about this feature?
So how is this feature news worthy you might ask, and with good reason? The development is that with the New Generation release you can now browse your mobile backup directly on your computer.
With the standard edition you can only access the backup from your mobile device even though all the files are right there on your computer. Only, they reside in a single inaccessible file.
However, to me, the absence of this option always felt like an error or at least a significant shortcoming in ATI 2017. I think it would be a nice touch if Acronis would complete the mobile backup feature in the standard edition by adding this option to the standard edition as well.
Improved Acronis app user experience
I have been testing the mobile backup feature on my IPhone 6s as well as an older generation Android phone. The user experience with both apps is now absolutely flawless.
The only drawback is that when you use a memory card with your android/windows device, the app can´t see the contents of this card. It will only access the main memory of the phone. You can avoid this issue for photos by forcing your camera to use the onboard memory.
However, I suppose this is a mistake or a solution is in the works. At least memory card backup on Android devices is specifically mentioned in the mobile backup feature list on the Acronis website.
Nevertheless, it does not work for me on my Samsung S2 smart phone. I have tested this and I have looked everywhere in Acronis True Image itself, in the app and the cloud backup dashboard. I have not managed to locate such a feature.
In this regard the “one memory” architecture of the IPhone and other phones without memory card support, are a perfect match for the mobile backup feature.
Within Acronis True Image New Generation you have a convenient shortcut to browse your files from within the backup job. However, this shortcut simply takes you to the system explorer and is not an image viewer.
You can also access the files directly in the Acronis Drive area or through other software such as image browsers. I don´t know if all image viewers will work, but my ACDSee viewer works perfectly.
All standard features are included
As mentioned in the beginning, Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation is a beefed up version of the standard ATI 2017. As such you have access to everything that´s included in the standard edition such as:
- Automated backup
- Backup schemes
- Disk image
- Mobile/Facebook backup
- Cloud backup integration
- Clone disk
- Cloud sync.
So is the premium plan with Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation worth the higher price compared to the standard edition?
At twice the price of the standard ATI edition, Acronis True Image New Generation is a different kind of investment than the usual consumer friendly pricing model. However, if your data are important and irreplaceable, the New Generation release is worth considering.
To me personally, the extra money is definitely worth the added sense of security that I get from proactively protecting my data from ransomware. My data represent an astronomical investment of time and money and the new ransomware protection feels like a fine addition to my data security.
What I liked
- Ransomware protection
- Acronis Notary and ASign could prove useful over time
- Excellent and convenient local mobile backup. Browseable from the computer in the New Generation version
- The backup time indicator works much better in this version
- Single online dashboard sign-in. You no longer need to login to all the different cloud areas
- Low impact on system performance
- An all-round solid software experience
What I didn´t like so much
- The price is getting up there
- No support for third party cloud solutions
- The Acronis Cloud integration could be better. It still feels a bit unfocused and the way you end up with a row of browser tabs can be a bit confusing the first couple of times. You quickly get used to this, but a more centralized cloud layout would be interesting.