LiveDrive – Cloud Storage for Business?
With 4 different levels of service, you can pick the one that offers the greatest functionality for your business or your personal needs – and all are reasonably priced.
Read on for more information about what you need to know about LiveDrive before deciding to add it to your arsenal of business tools.
LiveDrive, the Company
What LiveDrive is attempting to do for business customers is summed up briefly in this statement on their website,
Our vision is simple: don’t store files on your PC, store them on your Livedrive instead. – LiveDrive
And in order to do that, they provide a fully customizable service at a good price.
They call themselves the “fastest growing and most loved cloud storage and online backup company on the web today.” According to many customer reviews, however, they seem to fall short of providing everything to everyone.Started in late 2008 by successful (and rich) businessman Andrew Michael, whose previous experience was in web hosting, LiveDrive touts a customer list of over half a million. Investors provide much of the funding for the company’s growth, ensuring financial strength and stability.
The company is based in the UK and has garnered several awards both there and in the US including the Computer Active Best Online Backup Buy It and Web User Gold awards. LiveDrive has partnered with some of the world’s best recognized retail brands, such as PC World, CompuUSA, Currys and Dixon and TigerDirect.
LiveDrive maintains a blog, which mostly centers on tips and tricks for using their products and the occasional contest. They also have a few social media pages, including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. You’ll find the same type of content there, including some pretty cool images related to computers. They don’t have a large number of online followers but still take the time to update their pages on a regular basis.
Business Solutions from LiveDrive
Although you can opt for 4 different kinds of accounts – Backup only ($6.00/month), Briefcase, Pro Suite and Business – we’ll focus this review on the latter two (which start at $37 per month) since LiveDrive is a great option for any type of company. Pricing is available for UK, Japanese and European pricing in addition to US dollars.
LiveDrive offers prospective customers a free trial of the full product so you can try it out before you decide to buy. No credit card is required to create an account and you can use the online backup service for 2 weeks before having to make a decision.
There are 4 major advantages for businesses to use LiveDrive:
- Collaboration – it’s like having access to an online cloud network drive.
- File Sharing – not only can your staff members access the same files, so can vendors and customers, through a custom web portal that can be branded to match your website.
- File Sync – rather than email files back and forth to be edited and changed, LiveDrive’s syncing feature allows all employees to work from anywhere at anytime, with changes updated instantly.
- Cloud Storage – LiveDrive allows you to set up your own FTP server to allow for FTP, SFTP and WebDAV access. The FTP option now has FTPES including TLS and SSL.
Cloud storage accounts include several terabytes of space, up to 10TB. More than 10 users and more than 10TB of space can be added to a Business Standard account for an additional monthly charge. LiveDrive can be used on Windows, Mac or Linux systems. There is a Windows 8 app you can install to access LiveDrive from your apps screen.
All features of your Business account are accessed and managed through your business admin portal.
As you can see, there is both a Backup and a Briefcase area. Backup contains all the files you’ve stored online while Briefcase is the area to put files which you want to sync between users and allow collaboration. Files in the Briefcase are locally cached so they can be accessed even when there is no internet connection available (but you won’t be able to sync or upload the edited files). The Briefcase is the only area where you can share files. That makes Backup the area where you would store private data.
How Easy is it to Use LiveDrive?
Once installed, LiveDrive creates a network drive called “Briefcase”. This is a mirror of your C drive and it makes it easy to drag and drop a folder or file into your online storage space. You can also select from a list of folders on the LiveDrive desktop app. Another easy way to back up your files is simply by right clicking on a file or folder and selecting LiveDrive/Back up with LiveDrive backup or LiveDrive/Copy to LiveDrive briefcase.
Unlike other cloud storage backup services which automatically selects files, you get to decide exactly what data you want to back up and whether or not you want to keep a hard copy on your own computer. The program does, however, exclude certain file types automatically, which include: browser cache and settings, cookies, application data, virtual machine files, metadata and thumbnail data, system settings and temporary files.
Through your online account settings, it’s possible to add and manage users (3 – 10, depending on the type of Business account you choose). Each user can install the application on their computer and/or mobile device (using a special URL optimized for mobile access). You control how much space they get in their personal briefcases and to what files they have access. Files can be placed in a “team folder”, which gives access to all members of your team, or a public folder, where other business partners can view and download them.
Thanks to an integration of several simple editing programs, you can edit both documents and folders through your online account, without having to download the files first.
Managing Your Backups with Desktop App
The desktop app is where you are supposed to be able to manage most things you can also manage through your online business admin portal.The desktop software now installs smoothly, it has a better UI than it used to, and it’s less fragmented (with a central console containing all of the settings). I say “supposed to” because we had a real problem getting it installed and getting it to function properly. It took several reboots and desktop application installations to get it to work properly. When we got it installed, it looked like this:
The desktop software will start backing up your files as soon as it is installed. You can, however, schedule your backups here. LiveDrive will either run continuously in the background or you can designate a specific day and time when you’d like your files to be transferred to online storage. Specifying the time of backup only means that your files will start to be synced, however, and the actual backup might occur during periods of work on your computer.
There are a few more settings over which you have control. One of them is LAN Transfers, which is currently in beta testing. According to LiveDrive, this instructs the Briefcase function to “automatically transfer data between all clients on your Local Network.” In addition, you can:
- Designate the letter of your Briefcase drive.
- Specify how you want to treat files that are stored online only.
- Specify your cache location.
- Designate which files and folders you want stored online only or saved to both your computer and your online storage account.
- Prioritize which files are backed up first.
- Specify how much bandwidth you want your computer to use to upload and download.
- Manage users – although we couldn’t get this function to work at all. Every time we tried, a popup said LiveDrive was successfully installed and ask if we wanted to download the Windows 8 app. Hmm…
24×7 Email Support by Support Force One
Support is provided by email ticket or you can search the online knowledgebase. This is another area where LiveDrive could use some updates. When we encountered a couple problems, we tried using the Knowledgebase to find the answer but couldn’t – and the way information is listed and categorized was confusing. Using the online Knowledgebase is not the best way to get an answer to your questions! Perhaps email is the better bet. Their Support Force One team pledges to answer emails within 24 hours; while our experience was a pleasant one with less than 12 hours.
Incredible Security: 30 File Versions & 256bit Bank-grade Encryptions
A nice feature of any online backup service is the ability to access deleted files or prior versions of them. LiveDrive has a 30/30 feature; up to 30 versions of each file are stored online for 30 days.
When signing into your online account, you can select the SSL box to ensure all activity between your computers and cloud storage space using a secure connection for added security.
With LiveDrive, your files are encrypted using AES 256 encryption and stored across multiple servers. All transfers between your computer and LiveDrive are also encrypted.
More Information on LiveDrive You Need to Know
- Have questions? The company does include a phone number for sales on their website, but unless you are located in the UK, it will probably cost you to give them a call. There is no online chat option.
- Once you sign up for an account, there are no refunds. All you can do is choose to cancel the auto renewal. This sounds fair looking at the 14-day full feature free trial they provide.
- The restore desktop software is now built into the desktop software, you no longer need to install it separately.
Conclusions: Is LiveDrive Recommended as a Business Online Backup?
LiveDrive comes with a lot of great features and it’s offered at a budget-friendly price. What we do like about LiveDrive is:There are a few things that could be done better. These include:
For business owners who want a more user-friendly online backup service without some of the functionality, SugarSync is a top recommendation. Dropbox for Business has also emerged as one of the trending business cloud storage providers.