Acronis True Image backup tackles cyber protection

Acronis True Image 2019 takes on security issues, including still-prevalent ransomware attacks. The consumer and SMB software also adds backup cleanup and a recovery 'Survival Kit.'

Acronis launched an update to its True Image product this week that includes an all-in-one recovery tool and a focus on what the vendor is calling "cyber protection."

The Acronis True Image backup software features updates to its defense against the evolving threat of ransomware, plus enhanced security elements.

Acronis targets consumers, home offices and SMBs with its True Image product. The latest version, Acronis True Image 2019, enables full image backups to local and cloud storage, and can clone an active system disk.

A 'Survival Kit' and improved defense

A lot of users feel data is less secure now because it's stored in so many different places, said Gaidar Magdanurov, chief marketing officer at Acronis.

New to Acronis True Image backup, the "Survival Kit" contains everything a user needs to restore a system, according to the vendor. With an external hard drive, users build the kit in a few clicks, copying a system partition or the entire system, and Acronis True Image identifies the boot media that's needed and adds it.

A Backup Cleanup utility frees up space, as users manually select unnecessary versions of backups and delete unneeded files.

Having someone watch your back in a comprehensive way is helpful.
Ray Boggsanalyst, IDC

Acronis has upgraded its defense against ransomware. The Acronis Active Protection technology now protects data on network shares and NAS, in addition to previous protection of data, files and systems on local computers.

The vendor has also upgraded the user experience of its Acronis Notary and ASign features, requiring fewer clicks, Magdanurov said. Acronis Notary provides proof a file hasn't changed since it was backed up. ASign allows multiple people to electronically sign digital documents, recording signatures with certification through blockchain.

Acronis True Image backup does a good job of putting together all the different puzzle pieces, including ease of use, safety, privacy and accessibility, said Ray Boggs, analyst at IDC. In addition, Acronis includes many elements that a personal user needs, such as backup, storage and ransomware protection.

"Having someone watch your back in a comprehensive way is helpful," Boggs said. "They seem to be pretty smart in taking the holistic view."

Acronis claims it offers the only personal backup with AI-based ransomware protection. Active Protection can detect a malicious process that starts to modify files, block it and message the user about blocking it or allowing it to run. In the past year, Acronis received more than 200,000 reports about events that required blocking a process and recovering files, according to the vendor.

Data protection vendors are regularly adding automation, Boggs said, and the ability to identify behavioral patterns is important.

"It's increasingly becoming table stakes," he said.

The fine print

Acronis claims 5.5 million active users of its True Image software. About 70% of that total is consumers, with the rest SMBs and home offices.

Magdanurov said Acronis sees Carbonite, Backblaze and IDrive competing for deals in the market.

Code42 announced last year that it will shut down its consumer cloud backup product on Oct. 22, 2018, to focus on data protection for the enterprise, small business and education sectors. The vendor is referring CrashPlan for Home customers to Carbonite and trying to convert small businesses using its Home product to CrashPlan for Small Business.

The cost of Acronis True Image backup is staying the same this year, Magdanurov said.

There are three editions of True Image 2019. Standard is a perpetual license for storing data on local drives only, with pricing starting at $49.99 for one computer. Advanced is a one-year subscription that includes 250 GB of Acronis Cloud Storage and access to all cloud-based features, with pricing starting at $49.99 per year for one computer. Premium is a one-year subscription that includes Acronis Notary and ASign, and 1 TB of Acronis Cloud Storage, with pricing starting at $99.99 per year for one computer.

All versions include Acronis Active Protection and cover an unlimited number of mobile devices. Subscription customers can purchase additional cloud storage.

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