LiveDrive Business Review: Business Online Cloud Backup
|Sign up for LiveDrive Business|
|Large amount of storage and unlimited computer backup good for businesses with a lot of files, but mediocre interface and features not worth the high price|
LiveDrive for business is the most expensive business online backup service we review. However, unlike most services that have unlimited computer backup with a storage cap, LiveDrive's Business Express plan has a deep storage allowance of 2 TB (2,048 GB) for an unlimited number of machines. It also gives the account administrator full access to every user's backup, which is rarely seen in other services. While these qualities may be worth the hefty price tag for some users, all of LiveDrive's other features can be found in much cheaper services. Not to mention the mediocre, and sometimes shoddy, interface that drops them down in our rankings.
Administrator Access and User Setup
After registering for the free trial, which does not require any credit card information, you will be taken to the Admin Portal. Here the account administrators can add, edit and remove users and Team Folders, manage the public sharing page's branding (only with the Business Standard plan), see usage reports, and manage billings and upgrades for the account. Admins can view all users' backups as well, giving them a little more control than with other business backup services. Adding a user is easy and the administrator can choose whether backup and/or the briefcase is enabled for that user, and if they have access to particular Team Folders. You can also set storage allotments for each user, limiting how many files they can backup or sync in the briefcase. We liked the simple interface of the admin portal.
One complaint is that even though the service allows backup for unlimited computers, it only allows 3 user profiles, including the admin, in the Business Express plan. There is no option to add a single user at an additional cost; instead, people that need more user profiles must upgrade to the Business Standard plan. Thus, if you have a large office with a lot of computers and only want to pay for the Business Express plan, only 3 different people can have access to the account. A way around this would be to give shared emails and passwords to employees.
LiveDrive's software installation required us to restart the PC and forced us to power down our Mac after everything had frozen. Other than that, LiveDrive has a very straightforward, yet mediocre, desktop interface for both the Mac and PC.
You can access LiveDrive's controls through the icon in your PC's bottom menu bar. Here you can schedule backups, manage backups and select specific file types you do not want automatically backed up. To instantly backup individual folders (single files are not allowed), just right-click on that folder, select LiveDrive and hit "backup with LiveDrive Backup." Little green squares will show up on the folders that are backed up by LiveDrive.
For Mac, make sure that you are running on version 10.6 or higher. The easiest way to use your LiveDrive is through the icon in your navigation bar by the clock. Here you can manage your backups, check backup status, edit settings and select individual folders for backup. Overall, the interface is quite simple. To select individual folders for backup, just click on the folder so that it's highlighted, click the LiveDrive icon in the navigation bar, and select "backup this folder". Unfortunately, you cannot backup individual files, just directories. Little blue checks will show up on the folders that are backed up by LiveDrive.
Unlike LiveDrive's personal backup plan, the business plan includes the Briefcase. The LiveDrive briefcase appears as another hard drive on your desktop, acting as if it's an external or USB drive. When putting files in the briefcase, they are synced across all of the users' computers that have LiveDrive installed. Any file that you add to the briefcase on one computer, will be updated and synced on all other computers. Note that all of the files in the briefcase are only accessible by that user and the business account's administrators. This feature is very useful for employees who work on different machines and constantly need their files to be updated and accessible.
Web Portal and Restore
Earlier we discussed how administrators have a lot of control over the business account through the admin portal; however, regular users of the account also have access to a personal web portal of their own. Though it may look a bit cluttered if you have a lot of files backed up, here you can view and download individual files and folders, access your briefcase and view team folders easily. There is also an extensive support knowledge base that users can log into with their email and password.
To restore a large number of files back to your PC simultaneously, you must download the LiveDrive Restore feature. To do so, go to the "account settings" tab in the web portal and click "software download." Using the restore function couldn't be easier. After selecting which folders and files you want, click the "restore" button. A set of options will pop up. Here you can choose the destination folder, conflicting file options, and general error options. You can view your restore report once it's done.
A perk of having LiveDrive for Mac is that the restore feature is built into the software, no need to download it separately like the PC version. To restore, just go into the icon in the navigation bar and click "restore from backup." Here you can view deleted folders, past versions of files and do a mass restore if needed.
Web Sharing and Team Folders
Your business' LiveDrive page has the url "http://yourbusinessname.livedrive.com". This is where others are sent when you display your shared files publicly. Unfortunately, Business Express does not allow administrators to brand their public share pages — only Business Standard customers have the ability to add a logo, specific page color, font and welcome message to their public page. If you choose to share files privately, the person you are sharing with will be sent a username and password that they can use to access the file.
The Team Folder feature is one of LiveDrive's better qualities. It is simple for the administrator to set storage allotments and grant specific access to each user, i.e., whether they have 'read only' or 'read and write' capabilities. Team Folders are a great way for employees to collaborate on different files together. It is similar to the briefcase, where everything is constantly updated and synced for all users. You can add files to a Team Folder either through the web portal or by selecting things inside your Briefcase.
We were pleased with LiveDrive's extensive knowledge base and FAQ questions; however, the customer support took about 2 days to answer our questions. For the price we expected a much quicker support response time, especially because services like SugarSync offer phone support to their business customers.
One of the reasons LiveDrive is ranked lower than others on our business online backup list is because of its high price. For the Business Express option, which offers 2 TB, does not include public share page branding and only includes 3 users, it is $41.66/month with the annual plan of $499.95/year and $49.95/month if you want to pay month-to-month. The 14-day free trial is applicable to these two prices, while the other slightly discounted annual plans do not offer the trial. If you are looking for more storage space and user allowances, to the tune of 10 TB of storage and 10 users, the Business Standard plan costs $133.33/month with the annual plan of $1599.95/year and $159.95/month if you want to pay month-to-month. The same free trial rules apply to this plan as well.
In regard to HIPAA compliance: Online backup services cannot legally state that they are officially HIPAA compliant. LiveDrive is headquartered in the UK, where instead of HIPAA they have the Data Protection Act. LiveDrive contains all of the security features to protect data that is transmitted to and from their servers. LiveDrive follows strict guidelines to meet factors that comply with the Data Protection Act. If you want to know what HIPAA is, please visit our FAQ page.
While LiveDrive offers an unbeatable amount of storage for unlimited computers, the price tag and slightly unintuitive interface may turn off many business online backup seekers who simply do not need that much file storage. Though the syncing, web sharing and team folder features of the service are useful, there are many other business online backup services that boast these options at a cheaper cost. Full administrative control may be a redeeming quality for some users, but most may find that it simply is not worth it.
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