IDrive Review: Online Cloud Backup
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|Solid backup with a lot of configurability; no mobile app access or file sharing|
[Editor's note: IDrive offers a 17% discount for subscribers to its annual plans. Customers must pay for a year's worth of service in order to receive the discount.]
IDrive is a good, no-frills backup solution for Macs and PCs which fulfills expectations, but doesn't go much beyond. Perhaps it's unfair to expect the service to wow us; after all, the purpose of online backup is to keep your data safe and secure in case of a hard drive crash. There's no question that it does the job; by default IDrive keeps you informed of all its actions. And it's pretty smart about them too, optimizing bandwidth usage based on your level of online activity (this is probably why our initial backup of 8GB took over five hours).
IDrive backs up your important data: preferences, photos, documents, music. Those are just the defaults, however. You can have it back up anything, including your applications. In fact, IDrive is full of options. If other programs have left you wanting more control over your backups, IDrive might be a good alternative for you.
The PC version has a couple of options the Mac version doesn't. If you choose, you can use your own personal encryption key for added security. It also adds the option of using the IDrive Explorer, which maps IDrive into your system just as if it were an external hard drive.
Like many other online backup services, you'll have access to your data anywhere you can connect to the web. Sadly the web interface is clunky, and it can take a while to navigate to your file if it's buried down in your file structure. We were also disappointed at the lack of access through dedicated smartphone apps. Though we could access the site through our iPhone's web browser, we could not do anything with the files.
Unfortunately there's also no support for sharing files or public storage areas. One useful aspect of many other backup services is the ability to set permissions for folder access, or send one-time access permissions to a friend or colleague. If this is an important feature for you, you'll want to look elsewhere.
The iDrive Personal Use plan will backup one computer, costs $4.95 per month and gets you 150GB of space which should be enough for most users. If you want to upgrade, the Family Pack plan is priced at $14.95 per month, will backup up to 5 computers and accommodates up to 500GB of storage space. Those who want to backup more than 5 computers should consider the Business plan which varies in price from $9.95-$79.95 per month, depending upon the total amount of backup space you need (this plan covers up to 1,000GB).
In regard to HIPAA compliance: Online backup services cannot legally state that they are officially HIPAA compliant. However, IDrive contains all of the security features to protect data that is transmitted to and from their servers. IDrive follows strict guidelines to meet factors that go into HIPAA compliance. If you want to know what HIPAA is, please visit our FAQ page.
For pure online backup, IDrive is a solid option. This is really the service for those who've found that other online backup clients just aren't configurable enough. You can try out the service with their offer of 5GB of free storage that you can use for as long as you want.
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