Backing up. You see, I may already have lost 50 per cent of you with just those words. No matter, as the remaining 50 per cent you can rest safe in the knowledge that you're the smart ones. When it comes to the smartest of the back up companies however you'd be hard pushed to beat Acronis...
The US company has been in the disk imaging and back-up sector for almost 10 years, but with the launch of 'Acronis True Image Home 2010' we may be seeing its most significant product to date. In short this is because Acronis is integrating online back-up and local back-up into the same consumer product - a first not only for the company, but also the industry.
Consequently, what users will receive with TIH 2010 is the usual high quality disk imaging (taking a complete copy of your drive which can be restored at any time), incremental back-up (saving time by taking just the files that have changed since the last back-up) and roll back protection that has given Acronis a strong reputation. 'Try & Decide' is also an excellent new feature which enables software from untrusted sites, emails with suspicious attachments and so forth to be opened without damaging the computer. In effect, think of it as a safe sandbox from where you can then apply or discard the changes you made.
Beyond this users now have the option to back up files and folders over the Internet to a secure location. These files will be stored in multiple date categorised versions and can be either restored to a PC as a whole or accessed one by one - even from a remote computer. What this means is should your PC suffer a virus, see the hard drive fail or generally clap out on you then you've double protection. The first is your Acronis disk image from which you can restore your entire OS and all its programmes, settings and files. The second is the Acronis online backup from which you will always have the absolute latest versions of your files should you have not made a local backup for some time.
Flies in the ointment? Potentially price. On the surface of things Acronis is extremely good value at £39.95 since it comes with five full user licences, but on the downside the online back-up software is only available on a limited trial. When this expires the cost is £3.95 per month for 25GB of online storage space. That's not a huge amount for those with lots of photos and the cost does total £47.40 per year.
That said, Acronis disk imaging in its own right has long been seen as amongst the very best in its sector and now it has a complementary online back-up system. If you can afford the expense it may well save you a lot more financial and emotional heartbreak down the road.