IDrive Review: Are Your Devices Protected?

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If your computer died right now, would you have a backup of all the data you need? How about the rest of your family? Are their computers all backed up? Let’s look at why they need to be, and how online backup service IDrive can help you do it.

IDrive: Online Cloud Backup and Storage
Free

With IDrive, you can backup unlimited PCs, Macs, iPhones, Ipads, and Android devices into a single account securely. Files and folders will be synced in real-time across all the devices.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

IDrive Review: The Threats

The data on every computer your family owns is vulnerable to a variety of threats. Here are a few ways any one of your PCs could lose their data:

  • Computer is lost
  • Computer is stolen
  • Ransomware encrypts the data
  • Computer dies (stops working)
  • A computer is destroyed in a natural disaster (lightning, fire, flood, etc.)

Although the prices of computers have dropped over the last 20 years, the value of the data they contain is a different matter. What price would you put on your photos, videos, and documents?

I recently helped a friend with her computer, which was frequently freezing. She uses the PC for important work, so I asked how she’s backing it up. She looked at me like she had never considered it.

Maybe you’ve never considered backing up your PC, or your kids’ computers. I’m here today to help you think about backing up your PCs before it’s too late.

IDrive Key Features

  • IDrive is one of the best cloud storage services out there, with a ton of features for an amazing price.
  • IDrive is a security-first service with private key encryption as an option for those who need it.
  • The mobile app for this online backup service allows you to use it on a wide range of devices.
  • Personal plans start at 79.50 USD/year for one user with 5 TB storage space that can be used on unlimited computers. Business plans start at 99.50 USD/year for unlimited users, computers, and servers with 250 GB storage.

How to Increase Your Security With IDrive

The Need for Backups

One component of information security is integrity; ensuring that data is complete and accurate. If your house was struck by lightning and your PC got fried, would its data still be complete? No. What do you need to do to protect the integrity of your data? Back it up.

Another component of information security is availability; ensuring that data is accessible. If your laptop is stolen, would its data still be available? No. What do you need to do to protect the availability of your data? Back it up, and ensure you can restore the backup. A backup that you can’t restore is worthless.

Of course, a one-time backup can only help so much. When someone suffers a tech disaster, one of my first questions is, “Do you have a backup?” Sometimes people proudly answer, “Yes!” My next question is, “How old is it?” Too often, the answer is months or even years old. How useful is that?

The Problems with External Drive Backup

Often people tell me, “I back up to an external drive.” I find out that the external drive is sitting next to their computer and is often, or always, plugged into the PC. Although this is better than having no backup, there are several problems with this method:

  1. You may forget to back up. If you’re manually backing up to an external drive, you need to remember to run the backup.
  2. Backups may be outdated. Even if you back up weekly, you could lose a lot of data if you have to restore a week-old backup. The problem is worse if you back up less often.
  3. The same disaster that harms your PC could harm your backup drive. If a power surge kills your PC, what will it do to the attached external hard drive? Probably kill it too. If ransomware encrypts your PC, what will happen to the attached external drive? Ransomware often encrypts attached drives too.

The Benefits of Online Backup

For the reasons I just listed, I recommend using an online (cloud) backup that runs continuously. You’ll have cloud storage software that runs in the background of your PC and uploads the new or changed files to a remote server for safe data storage.

This solves the 3 problems with external drive backups that I listed above!

Criteria to Consider in an Online Backup Service

As you consider which cloud backup service to use, here are some questions to ask:

  1. How will my data be secured at rest (in storage)? How will it be secured while traveling (in transit)?
  2. Can the company see my data?
  3. How long has the company existed? How long has it been providing online backups?
  4. How do customers rate and review the company and service?
  5. How much storage do I get? Can I use it on unlimited devices?
  6. Does the backup software run on all the operating systems my family uses?
  7. What happens when I delete a file from my device? Does it stay in the backup? How long?
  8. How many of my family’s devices can I back up?
  9. How many versions of each file are stored?
  10. What’s the cost of having an online backup option?

Private Encryption Key

Allow me to expand on question 2, “Can the company see my data?

When you install backup software on your device, most software will create an encryption key for you. The creator of the backup software will store that key with your account. Because the key can decrypt your data (make it readable), this gives the company the ability to access your data! 

You may think, “I trust the company, so what’s the problem?” Maybe you trust the company itself, but do you trust every one of its employees? And what if the company is hacked? Or what if a government (one in your country or a foreign one) wants to see your data? For these reasons, it’s best to create your encryption key and store it yourself.

When you create a private encryption key, your data is encrypted with that key. So if you’re the only one with the key, you’re the only one who can access your data! 

That means employees at the backup company can’t, hackers can’t, and governments can’t. (Note that encryption can be broken by those with enough resources and time. But that shouldn’t stop us from protecting our data.)

IDrive encryption options

You can learn more in my post Set a Private Encryption Key for Online Backups.

IDrive is a cloud backup service that lets you create your own encryption key. Because of this, as well as the combination of other features and its cost, I like IDrive as a cloud backup provider.

Let’s take a closer look at IDrive’s features.

IDrive: Online Cloud Backup and Storage
Free

With IDrive, you can backup unlimited PCs, Macs, iPhones, Ipads, and Android devices into a single account securely. Files and folders will be synced in real-time across all the devices.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

IDrive For Mobile Devices

IDrive is available on all mobile devices, whether you are using an Android phone or an iOs mobile device. With this online backup service, you can always have your important files with you. It also allows you to backup files from all of your PCs, Macs, and mobile devices with a single subscription.

Another great extra feature about IDrive is you can back up your iPhone or iPad device and restore it on your Android mobile device or vice versa. You can also access the backups that you have made on your computer.

With IDrive, you can share synced files from your computer or mobile device and access them collaboratively with friends or business associates. This makes file sharing easy and safe for everyone with the help of the IDrive desktop app or mobile app.

More About IDrive’s Features

For several of these features, I use the name IDrive uses.

Private key encryption: One of my favorite IDrive features. As I explained above, IDrive lets you create your own encryption key so that IDrive itself, and other parties, can’t access your data. Not all online backup providers let you do this.

Continuous Data Protection: IDrive automatically recognizes the modified parts of files and backs them up. This ensures that if you suffer an incident and need to restore, your backup will be very current!

IDrive Continuous Data Protection

Multiple Device Backup: IDrive can back up unlimited PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices into a single account. It’s a great solution for your entire family!

IDrive review Dashboard showing computers
IDrive Dashboard showing computers

Back up external hard drives and network drives: Unlike many cloud backup services, IDrive lets you back up external hard drives and network drives (including NAS devices) that are connected to the computer running IDrive.

Snapshots and Versioning: IDrive keeps up to 30 previous versions of all files backed up to your account. That way, if files are encrypted by ransomware or damaged in some other way, you can restore previous, clean versions.

True Archiving: No files are deleted from your IDrive account until you manually delete them or run Archive Cleanup (which syncs your backup of a device with what’s currently on the device). That way, if you delete something you need from your device and don’t realize it until weeks or months later, you can still find it in your archive. Not all providers offer this.

Web-based data retrievals: Download your backed up data from a web browser on any device.

IDrive Express™: If you need to restore a lot of data (many gigabytes or terabytes), downloading can take a while, even on a high-speed Internet connection. Plus, it’ll use a lot of your bandwidth. So, IDrive gives you the option of having a physical drive shipped to you in under a week. This isn’t common among backup services.

Sync: Sync files between multiple devices that you’ve linked to your account.

I think you see why I’m a fan of IDrive. If you’re interested in IDrive for your family’s devices, you can use this link to get 25% off your first year!

IDrive Remote Backup

In Case of Failed Backup

One thing that annoys me about IDrive is that I occasionally get a failed backup alert. It’s almost always because a file that’s included in the backup set was deleted from my computer. I wish the software was intelligent enough to see this is a false alarm, and not bother me about it. But, at least it’s easy to fix.

  1. Click the IDrive icon in your menu bar (if on a Mac) or system tray (if on Windows) and click View Log.
  2. Find the most recent log entry that has Status of Failure. Click it.
  3. Click the Details tab.
  4. In the Details pane, scroll to the bottom and slowly scroll back up, looking for Error Info. That will tell you the cause of the backup failure. It often says Reason: File / Folder does not exist. Note the file or folder that doesn’t exist.
  5. Click the IDrive icon in your menu bar (if on a Mac) or system tray (if on Windows) and click Start IDrive.
  6. Backup should be selected. At the bottom of the window, click Change.
  7. Find the file or folder that IDrive complained about, and deselect/uncheck it. Click Save.
  8. Click Backup Now and ensure the backup succeeds.
IDrive Activity log Details Error Info

Additional Security for Online Backup

In addition to using your encryption key, you should take other steps to protect your online backups. A few other steps to take, if your backup provider offers them:

  1. Set a strong password on your account (20+ characters, with a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters).
  2. Enable two-factor authentication.
  3. Set good security questions and answers.
  4. Set up alerts for failed backups.
IDrive Two-step Verification

Frequently Asked Questions About IDrive

Does IDrive have a mobile app?

Yes, IDrive has a mobile app that you can use to securely store your photos, videos, documents, and more. The IDrive app will give you the peace of mind that all of your data are safe and protected against online threats.

How safe is IDrive?

IDrive uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your information during the transfer. It cannot be viewed by anyone because it’s encrypted in clear text, making the process secure and confidential.

Can I use IDrive as cloud storage?

IDrive cloud storage is the perfect way to store all your important files – whether they be finance sheets, documents, or media. With IDrive cloud storage, you can store all your files in one place and have them with you on the go using the IDrive app for Android or iOs.

IDrive Review – Final Thoughts

We hope that our IDrive review here was able to help you understand the importance of cloud backup services. IDrive is not the only provider of cloud backup services, but they are one of the best in the business today.

What You Should Do

  1. Make a list of all your family’s devices that you need to back up.
  2. Evaluate online backup services, using the criteria listed above. I highly recommend IDrive (this link gives 25% off!).
  3. Sign up for the backup service.
  4. Configure the settings of your account, including security (see steps above).
  5. Install and configure the backup software on any devices that need it. Set it to backup all files you need backed up.
  6. Ensure that the first backup succeeds.
  7. Monitor for failed backups.
IDrive: Online Cloud Backup and Storage
Free

With IDrive, you can backup unlimited PCs, Macs, iPhones, Ipads, and Android devices into a single account securely. Files and folders will be synced in real-time across all the devices.

We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

2 thoughts on “IDrive Review: Are Your Devices Protected?”

  1. Interesting review, but my experience with these guys has been pretty awful.

    I paid for their service two months ago. Since then it’s managed to upload approx 10,000 of my 90,000+ files. I’ve spent numerous hours reading their FAQ, watching videos, tweaking my computer parameters, etc and it’s been massively frustrating and mostly a waste of time.

    They offer iDrive Express service, where you load your data onto a hard drive, but the postage charge for this – if you’re in Europe, as I am – is $40+ ONE WAY, so we’re looking at 80 bucks postage alone, and, based on the rubbish service I’ve received so far, it didn’t seem wise to throw more money away.

    I’ve chatted with customer service many times and at the end they’ll assure me, “No, everything’s fine now, it’ll all sync no problem”. I go to bed and when I check the next morning nothing’s changed. When the sync eventually starts working, it operates at speeds so slow that it’ll take about 6 more weeks, operating 24/7, for less than 400gb to upload.

    Avoid this awful service.

    Reply
    • Liam, I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Your ISP upload speed is a key ingredient in how well any of these cloud-based backup services work. Use http://www.speedtest.net and check your upload speeds and ensure that you are getting speeds close to what your ISP advertises. If not, call your ISP and see if they can increase your upload speed. Uploading 90,000+ files will take a while for sure.

      Reply

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