Acronis’ Rise to a Leading Cyber Protection Solution

Enterprise caliber cyber security and resilience products that meet the needs of managed service providers (MSPs) and/or small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) remain in short supply. MSPs and SMEs face challenges comparable to large enterprises when delivering backup, recovery, disaster recovery, and cyber security services, among others.

However, MSPs and SMEs lack the same budgets, staff, and resources that large enterprises possess. They need centrally managed, integrated solutions that deliver these functions.  In response, Acronis has developed its own in-house, integrated Cyber Protect solution to meet them.

Acronis’ Most Recent – and Relevant – History

Many MSPs and SMEs have heard of Acronis. It has been in the data protection business for almost two decades having been spun out of its parent company, Parallels, in 2003. It got its start with its True Image software (now Cyber Protect Home Office) that offers disk mirroring and data protection capabilities.

However, Acronis’ more meaningful, and relevant history, starts in 2013.  At that time, its then-CEO Serg Bell made a strategic decision to organically build a cyber protection solution that spanned software and service. This solution would initially encompass data protection (backup and recovery) and cyber security and then grow to offer disaster recovery (DR).

This strategy represented a significant departure from how other providers approached data protection. Its competitors primarily focused on backup and recovery, gave some attention to DR, and minimal attention to cyber security. Acronis’ strategy got little attention at the time but the wisdom of it began to become more evident by 2014.

Ransomware’s Rise

In 2014 ransomware strains such as CryptoWall, Cryakl, Scatter, Mor, CTB-Locker, TorrentLocker, Fury, Lortok, Aura, and Shade emerged. These various ransomware strains impacted over 100,000 users worldwide providing an early glimpse of what was to come. Yet even then most failed to grasp how pervasive, invasive, and impactful ransomware would become.

Perhaps the relative ease of recovering from ransomware attacks in its early years resulted in organizations underestimating its insidious nature. In 2014 and for a few years thereafter, ransomware tended to immediately attack and encrypt data. While impactful, if one had a viable backup, one could restore data and recover the application.

Ransomware’s Evolution

Ransomware has since evolved to where bad actors leverage it to attack in multiple ways. Ransomware may infiltrate an organization and infect data for an indeterminate amount of time before attacking and encrypting data. When it does attack, bad actors may request ransoms to recover encrypted data, to suppress the release of exfiltrated data, or both. Or bad actors may silently exfiltrate data and never formally attack or demand a ransom.

These multiple attack methodologies highlight the need for an integrated data protection and cybersecurity offering that holistically addresses them. MSPs and SMEs must defend, protect, and recover defend their infrastructure and data from ransomware. They must simultaneously utilize fewer individuals to do so. To meet these competing needs, a solution must ideally:

  • Protect production data and backups
  • Detect and stop data exfiltration
  • Facilitate central deployment and management of these solutions
  • Provide disaster recovery (DR) capabilities on-site and in the cloud

To meet these competing needs MSPs and SMEs normally must bring in multiple different products. However, Acronis’ creation of integrated Cyber Protect solution may negate the need to do so.

Acronis’ In-house Integrated Solution Aligns with Today’s Cyber Reality

This combination of factors – more sophisticated ransomware threats, the need for consolidated cyber security, data protection, and DR, and centralized management – plays directly into Acronis’ integrated Cyber Protection strategy.

While Acronis formally introduced its solution a few years ago, it has branched out to capitalize on this multi-year investment. Acronis now:

  • Integrates with multiple Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software tools. This integration includes supporting RMMs tools available from its competitors to provide centralized cyber security, data protection, and DR management.
  • Offers over 50 data centers worldwide with more planned. MSPs and SMEs may use these Acronis cloud sites to store backups and perform DR off-site. Since these sites span the globe, MSPs and SMEs can also meet specific compliance requirements to which they are subject.
  • Offers follow the sun support. It has support centers around the world so it can provide follow-the-sun technical support for MSPs and SMEs regardless of when they are based.
  • Raised $250M in May 2021 to continue its build-out. Its CEO Patrick Pulvermueller openly acknowledged that building an organic, integrated cyber protection software offering atop a backend worldwide cloud infrastructure costs money. To meet these needs, it raised $250 million in May 2021 based upon a $2.5 billion valuation.

In short, Acronis has created a formidable offering that meets the specific needs of the MSPs and SMEs it primarily seeks to serve. Equally importantly, it continues to adapt its Cyber Protect solution to make it appropriately feature-rich while minimizing complexity in deploying and managing it. These factors, taken together, grant MSPs and SMEs access to a comprehensive, integrated cyber security and data protection solution minus the complexity normally associated with such offerings.

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