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iDrive cloud storage review

A comprehensive and polished cloud storage solution

iDrive
(Image: © iDrive)

Our Verdict

There are some rough edges to iDrive, but you can't really fault the service in terms of the ground it covers and how reliable it is. Whether you're a personal or business customer, it's definitely worth considering if you're looking for the best cloud storage solution for you.

For

  • Works on a whole range of devices
  • End-to-end encryption option
  • Your choice of backup methods

Against

  • Software could use a revamp
  • Not the cheapest option
  • Some options very well hidden

iDrive is a comprehensive, user-friendly cloud backup and cloud storage service which can back up all of your PCs, Macs, mobiles, and tablets via a single account. It offers plans for personal, small business, and enterprise use, and can back up servers as well as personal devices, making it one of the most versatile cloud storage options out there right now.

The pricing strategy here makes iDrive a very reasonable proposition, though the cost does go up if you need the business features – features like user management and so on. At those tiers it's more expensive than the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox, though it does offer a more comprehensive set of features at the same time.

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iDrive features

You certainly can't accuse iDrive of being short on features: there's Snapshots, for example, which lets you store up to 30 different versions of your files, an Express service that lets you put your data on hard drives and actually post them off, and the ability to create full disk images in case you need to rebuild a computer from scratch.

Then there's the stuff that's less obvious on the surface – such as the way iDrive only uploads modified parts of files to reduce bandwidth usage, the way data is kept until you specifically delete it, or the extensive set of activity logs and reports you have access to. Multiple user management, if you need it, is straightforward to configure as well.

All this is on top of the core functionality, which is the ability to back up an unlimited number of devices – computers, mobile phones, servers – to a single account. You can also back up data from mapped drives on a network if necessary. The iDrive web portal, meanwhile, makes it easy to manage all these devices together in one place, even if it is a little on the basic side.

As well as the standard features that everyone will use, there are several aimed at organizations with larger, more complex requirements (including server cloud backups covering Linux, Oracle, Sharepoint, MS SQL, Exchange Server and more). There's bare-metal disaster recovery here (the business-grade solution to ransomware), as well as help with new data standards (via encryption and date stamping for those in the medical, accounting, and legal professions.

iDrive

(Image credit: Future)

iDrive interface

Sign up for iDrive and you can install apps for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, though it's the desktop clients that are the most impressive in terms of polish and features. You can have iDrive backup your entire hard drive (or phone) or just specific files and folders, and run backups manually or on a schedule. Everything is very much "set and forget" – get everything set up the way you like, and then let it work away in the background.

There's also a Dropbox-style sync feature as well, if you want to keep certain folders in sync between all of your devices. All of this is handled very well, with intuitive menus and settings screens that make it clear how to create the configurations you need. You don't need to have an IT degree or to even consult the help documentation to figure out how to do the vast majority of tasks.

The iDrive programs are absolutely packed with settings as well. The Android client can back up everything from your SMS messages to your contacts, while the desktop client has controls for bandwidth throttling, file and folder exclusion, data verification and more. You can even have backups put on pause if the battery level on your laptop or your phone drops below a certain level.

Backing up files to the cloud and then restoring them again was speedy enough, and just about as fast as we could expect given the limitations of our internet connection (particularly on the upload speed). If you have any speed issues with the service, it's unlikely to be iDrive that's the bottleneck.

iDrive

(Image credit: iDrive)

iDrive security

As well as two-factor authentication, iDrive also offers end-to-end encryption for your data – this requires a private key known only to you, so if you forget it then you can't get anything back. It also means you won't be able to share files and folders with other people, as this will break the end-to-end encryption protocols.

You can opt for standard encryption, which isn't quite as secure but will still protect your data against most bad actors. In this case iDrive stores the encryption key, so they can help you restore your data if needed (and can potentially hand over your files if compelled to by law enforcement). You do get to use the file and folder sharing features in this case too.

iDrive pricing

You can try out iDrive free of charge without giving up any credit card details, though you only get 5GB of storage space, and you're pretty limited in terms of the features you have access to. The personal plans give you storage tiers of either 2TB ($69.50 or about £55 a year) or 5TB ($99.50 or about £80 a year), while business plans start at 250GB ($99.50 or about £80 a year) and go all the way up to 12.5TB ($2,999.50 ot about £2,410 a year).

Those prices vary depending on how long you sign up for, and don't take into account the various special offers and deals that iDrive likes to run – if you check the site now you may find that prices are lower. Opting for a business account rather than a personal one gives you extra features such as server backups, multiple user management, and access to priority support.

iDrive

(Image credit: Future)

iDrive verdict

iDrive obviously scores highly for the sheer breadth of services that it offers – from backing up the photos on your smartphone to backing up the files on your company's servers. The software packages and various interfaces aren't the best we've seen, but they're still competent enough, and they get the job done.

If you have a lot of devices whose data needs to be secured at reasonable prices, then IDrive could well be the service for you. It covers a lot of ground and covers it well, with enough security protection and enough extra features to satisfy the majority of users.