The only thing I'm not real sure about is the integrity of the image.
Though this is a little late, best practice for HDD imaging is to check image integrity by using "integrity verification" after creation. When backing up using Acronis, always select under "Required Steps:" section, "Backup Options", "Additional Settings", tick "Validate backup archive when it is created". This performs a hash function (MD5 I believe) for checksum comparison verification. This will alert you, after creation, if there is any disparity between the object hash and image hash (you can also perform this after image creation under "Operations" then "Validate Backup Archive").
The majority of imaging software has this function. I prefer Acronis (have used it for many years (paid version); had a problem with the Trial software though) but for a freeware variant Macrium Reflect is excellent. Macrium's real-time backup allows for imaging active OS HDD (via MS Volume Shadow Copy), which I've used remotely to backup a system pre- and post malware remediation.
*Edited for missing word
Edited by Matriculated, 28 January 2011 - 08:51 AM.