Acronis Cyber Protect 23 Advanced review: An attractive alternative

Acronis delivers a one-stop shop for cloud-managed hybrid backup and endpoint malware protection

The Acronis dashboard
(Image: © Future)

IT Pro Verdict


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    Poor installation options

Businesses seeking a complete data protection and security strategy for their workstations, servers, virtualization hosts, and apps will love Acronis' Cyber Protect. It's all managed from one cloud portal and a single host agent takes care of backups, malware protection, web content filtering, patch management, remote desktop services, and vulnerability assessments.

Cyber Protect 23 Advanced takes everything from the Standard version and adds deduplication, backup malware scans, security posture reports, and group management.

Acronis offers an on-premises option but the cloud-hosted version on review has extra appeal as it includes mobile backup and is ideal for extending protection to remote workers.

Cyber Protect is a subscription service, with Advanced yearly workstation licenses costing £95 each and including 50GB of cloud storage. A server license costs £649 and gives you 250GB, while VMware and Hyper-V hosts with unlimited VMs are £729 each and also enable 250GB, and you can add more cloud storage to your account as needed.

Acronis has hybrid backups covered as its protection plans can use local and cloud storage as primary and secondary destinations; we had no problems using a share on a Synology DS1823xs+ NAS appliance. Immutable storage provides ransomware protection by retaining deleted backups for the period you've set, and the new compliance mode stops all settings from ever being changed.

Acronis Cyber Protect 23 Advanced review: Setup

The Advanced version of the cloud portal dashboard can be customized by adding or removing widgets and dragging them to your preferred position. There are lots to choose from, with options for protected system overviews, vulnerable systems, alerts, detected malware, patch status, and blocked URL categories.

Platform support is extensive and includes Windows, macOS, and Linux systems, all popular business apps, and the main virtualization hosts. Agent deployment is a tedious affair, though, as they must be downloaded from the portal and manually installed on each system, after which they generate a unique registration code and then appear on the portal's devices page.

It gets easier from here: you assign protection plans to agent groups that combine backup requirements, encryption passwords, schedules, and all security settings. Real-time malware scanning can be enabled as can URL filtering, vulnerability assessments, patch remediation tasks plus controls for blocking access to USB devices.

Hyper-V systems get their own agent, while VMware hosts require an agent VM installed and registered with your cloud account. It's easy enough to do and we created host-level protection plans so all our Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines would be backed up with newly created ones automatically added as well. 

VM recovery services are superb: you can recover entire VMs back to their original location, as a new VM on the same host or to another location. The Run as VM option is great for testing and validation, and we used a local backup to create a temporary running copy of a Windows Server 2022 VM on a VMware ESXi host in only 92 seconds.

Workstation file and folder recovery are equally undemanding as you select a system, browse its backups, choose what and where to restore data, or even mount it as a VM.

Threat protection works well, too: the test malware samples introduced to our Windows workstations were all blocked and removed with alerts quickly appearing in the dashboard.

SMBs worried about the complexity of separate backup and security products will find Acronis' Cyber Protect an attractive alternative. Agent installation options need improvement but it's easy to use and its flexible subscription plans keep costs under control.

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.