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Are your clients still using magnetic tape to back up their confidential business data?  Well, Pat Hurley from Acronis has a message for you. Traditional backup is dead. To protect their data, business owners need a more complete solution.

A recent study by eWeek showed that even though many companies deal with confidential data every day, 51% of small business owners don’t really understand how to protect it.

Pat Hurley is Vice President of Sales, Americas region, for Acronis, a cyber protection company with head offices in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and Singapore. Sherweb sat down with Pat recently to find out more about Acronis and its cyber protection solution.

Note this interview has been condensed for clarity.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start reselling online backup

Who is Acronis?

Pat Hurley: “We’re really the global leader in cyber protection. We back up, recover, secure and protect data for SMBs and enterprises. We provide partners and customers with a very easy, complete, safe solution to protect data regardless of where it resides or how it’s accessed. At the end of the day, you can always create a backup. You can bury it a thousand feet underground. But if you can’t access that, it’s not really useful data.

“We’re focused on protecting data through something we call “cyber protection.” It’s really the combination of the old world of data protection and the new world of cybersecurity.”

Where is Acronis located?

Pat Hurley: “We’re a global company. We have headquarters in Schaffhausen and Singapore. We associate ourselves with those countries because they’re really considered to be neutral countries and that’s important when talking about the world of data and the risks that are out there today.

End-to-end protection

Can you give me the elevator pitch for your backup solution?

Pat Hurley: “Acronis Cyber Cloud is a complete cyber protection solution. It offers an end-to-end protection plan for devices that are on the edge – into the data center where servers and virtual machines reside. It enables a cloud backup as a service solution. We build our solution in a multi-tier, multi-tenant fashion, which means that it’s designed specifically for service providers, but also enables the flexibility of deployment for SMBs and enterprises.

“We allow customers and partners to take control of their deployments by delivering a white-label platform that’s self-service enabled. If you’re the service provider, it gives you the flexibility to provide control of your packaging, your licensing, your go-to-market strategy. If you’re an end customer, it gives you the flexibility to decide whether you want to back up locally, back up to the cloud, not back up certain devices, or even put certain devices in different groupings.”

Traditional backup is dead

As companies grow and produce more documents, there will be an exponential growth of data worldwide that needs to be accessible by many people. How do you foresee the world of backup changing to address that?

Pat Hurley: “We believe that traditional backup is dead. To combat the exponential growth of data and address the increasing threats in the cybersecurity space, you need to have a more complete solution. It has to be end-to-end. It’s not enough just to back up your data. You can create a backup. You can encrypt it. You can store it on Mars. It doesn’t matter. You need to be able to actively protect it and you need to be able to access it so you can make that data useful for you.

“Everything that we design, every feature, is built on 5 pillars: safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity and security. We call it SAPAS. These pillars combine to deliver the power of cyber protection. If a product or feature doesn’t address these five pillars, it’s not going to end up in our roadmap.”

There are technical limitations to cloud backup when it comes to network bandwidth. Do you have solutions to address this?

Pat Hurley: “We offer flexibility in terms of initial seeding and large-scale recovery. Obviously, with the initial seeding, you’re able to take your data, put it on the drive, encrypt it, get it to our datacenter or the datacenter of one of our partners, like Sherweb, and then seed that data. Once that data is seeded, we then allow for incremental backups.

“If you do have a disaster event locally, we can then package that data on a drive and ship it directly back to you for large-scale recovery purposes. Most people today are just grabbing files, folders, maybe some drives from the cloud. Today, for the real large-scale local recoveries, that does require a more complete solution.”

MSPs can’t ignore security

What’s your advice to MSPs who aren’t offering security services?

Pat Hurley: “Well there’s a fantastic opportunity. I speak with a lot of MSPs. From what I’m hearing from them, they will not take on new customers unless the customers agree to implement a backup solution as well as security offerings to make sure they can recover and minimize the impact to their business.

“It’s beyond protecting your customers. It’s really a great way to build up a portfolio of really solid services that allow these partners to then upsell other services. You know, whenever they’re wrapping services around product sales, they’re making the most of their margins and that’s really the highest profit center for any of the service providers that we’re working with.”

A lot of MSPs say that when they bring up the topic of security to their clients, they are told that businesses can’t justify the price of additional security services. How do you respond to that?

Pat Hurley: “It’s crazy. It’s irresponsible. At the end of the day, these services just aren’t that expensive. Acronis is just one example. There’s a lot of companies out there that offer affordable opportunities. There’s even some free antivirus, anti-malware stuff available out there. All businesses need some layer of protection. There really shouldn’t be a barrier there relative to spend. What does it mean to you? If you were attacked and you went out of business, what does that mean for you, personally?

Security threats are everywhere

Where do you think the greatest security threats are coming from today?

Pat Hurley: “Hackers are everywhere. But there are some very basic things that individuals can do to protect themselves. A lot of it comes down to common sense. If you get a link or an attachment that looks fishy, it’s probably fishy. Don’t fall victim to that type of stuff. If you’ve got a question and you’re an end customer or end user, ask your service provider. If you’re working for a company, ask your IT department. If you can delay clicking on that link for a few minutes, then you probably will prevent the threat.”

Should MSPs be offering security training?

Pat Hurley: ” Absolutely — 100%. We offer training. We have courses available online. We offer weekly webinars. We also joined forces with partners like Sherweb to deliver trainings to managed service providers. Here at Acronis, we believe very strongly in education and even have a cyber foundation that we’ve created to build schools across the world. And most of those are going to be having some sort of technology education associated with them as well.”

What’s so special about Acronis Cyber Backup?

What do you think gives Acronis Cyber Backup a competitive edge?

Pat Hurley: “We really can provide a complete offering. It’s very easy to use. It allows service providers to be very fast to market, to be up and running, to offer services and make money. We don’t just support one environment. We support mobile. We support multiple operating systems — Windows, Linux, iOS, Android. We’re very flexible.

“We allow our partners to leverage the brand and the recognition that Acronis brings to the industry. But we also allow them to white label — to make it their own, to really be the front-line solution for their customers.”

Which specific pain points does your solution address?

Pat Hurley: “A lot of our service providers come to us with a long list. ‘I’ve got all these different solutions. I’ve got a fairly small team. I’m limited on resources. What can Acronis do for me?’ We really consolidate multiple services which, allows them to be educated on one service and become an expert on that service for their customers. It also allows them to consolidate the cost because supporting multiple platforms is expensive. It’s confusing.”

Which cloud solutions do you back up?

Pat Hurley: “We do a lot with Office 365, Mail Backup, OneDrive. SharePoint will have support from Microsoft teams as well soon. We support the G Suite platform as well.”

What’s coming up?

Can you talk about what’s on the long-and short-term roadmap for Acronis Cyber Backup?

Pat Hurley: “There’s a big launch coming out at the end of this month which will include the launch of Acronis Cyber Protect. This will set Acronis alone in the market as the only provider of complete cyber protection. We will say it over and over again: security, accessibility, privacy, authenticity and safety are the five pillars that we build our solution around. This release will allow for patch management, vulnerability assessment, threat detection on top of the services that you’ve already get today with Acronis Cyber Cloud.”

How can Acronis Cyber Backup be leveraged to protect against today’s threats?

Pat Hurley: “I think Acronis Active Protection is constantly monitoring to ensure encryption procedures are not being activated by ransomware agents. We’ve prevented something like 400,000 ransomware attacks in the past year. Again, backup is just one small piece of a much larger protection plan. You really need an end-to-end solution to protect against modern-day threats.”

What is your favorite feature in Acronis Cyber Backup?

Pat Hurley: “Disaster recovery I think is the differentiator for us and one of my favorite features. I think we should be selling a whole lot more of it. And the way we deliver DR allows it to scale down to smaller businesses. The solution comes with automated features that allow you to take your customer through a step-by-step process to get them back up and running as quickly as possible.”

What are the advantages of working with a partner like Sherweb?

Pat Hurley: “I think that Sherweb really sets a high standard for other partners that we work with in how they build their go-to market strategy. With Acronis, especially with regards to their offerings from Microsoft and the Office 365 Suites, they got a very compelling offering there. Great team of executives. Their sales and technical folks are really sharp. They certainly know the industry well. They understand the technology. These people were a cloud provider before the cloud became more commonplace.”

As you can see, data backup is serious business. Want to know more about how you can protect your clients? Take a look at our security offering.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb