Last year’s Acronis Global Cyber Summit saw many meaningful, insightful conversations started about how the new cyberthreats and IT needs in today’s digital world require a new standard of cyber protection. For anyone not able to be part of those discussions, the good news is that they continue to take place to help ensure individuals, businesses, and the service providers that serve them have the strategies and solutions that will help them be #CyberFit – ready to face the latest challenges.
To continue one such conversation, SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE invited Acronis’ Vice President and General Manager of the Americas Pat Hurley and Eze Castle’s Vice President of Business Development Jason Nolan to discuss the necessity for cyber protection, how their two companies are working together to protect customers and the future of IT for end-users and service providers.
Acronis recently shared some of the highlights from that discussion, as well as a video of the full exchange. Here’s how they discussed the need for cyber protection, the demand being seen from users, and the opportunities it creates for service providers and vendors. (The excerpts below have been edited for clarity and brevity.)
How are Acronis solutions benefiting your partners?
Pat Hurley: A lot of people know Acronis as a backup company – maybe consumer backup, maybe small-to-medium-size business on-premises backup solutions – but we’ve completely transformed the company over the last few years. Now we talk about cyber protection, a combination of cybersecurity and data protection. We frame that in some tenets that we call SAPAS: safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security.
We take solutions that address these tenets and deliver them to partners like Eze Castle, so they can offer additional services to their customers, increase the ARPU that they’re seeing, increase the margin that they’re collecting, and deliver complete, end-to-end cyber protection.
How does that resonate with Eze Castle customers?
Jason Nolan: For our customers, data protection has always been important. The number one rule is to never lose data and – with the cyberthreats today always changing – they’re not sure what to do. They turn to us as their service provider to guide them and make sure they’re not the next company on the news. It’s nice to be able to combine those services and products with a vendor like Acronis, so that we can provide more value and strengthen relationships, without having to work with 300 vendors.
Many of Eze Castle’s customers are financial institutions. What is it about these services that is specifically valuable for them?
Jason Nolan: With financial service companies, it’s so important to protect their data and their portfolio. They don’t want anyone to have access to that. Plus, they have to meet the requirements of investors, the requirements of financial institutions, and all the relevant guidelines.
Depending on which markets and countries they’re in, they have different data sovereignty rules to adhere to. If they do business in the EU, they have to deal with GDPR. There are a lot of different requirements they need to navigate. We help them understand how to do that and that’s what we’ve done with Acronis. We’ve built in the data protection strategy and now we can look at adding in the cybersecurity components to help give them that comprehensive cyber protection suite.
Pat Hurley: And as you can imagine, it takes a lot of different solutions to pack those pieces together to provide an end-to-end solution for their customers. I think one of the beauties of Acronis is that we allow you to provide multiple services from a single pane of glass. We try to provide that single solution where users can do backup, disaster recovery, secure files – things are all in one platform to minimize the number of solutions they need to be experts on and provide customers the highest level of service.
How is Eze Castle partnering with Acronis on cybersecurity and how does it fit into your services overall?
Jason Nolan: Our partnership with Acronis began with data protection. It was one of the first solutions we found that fit our use cases. As a service provider, we support on-premises legacy equipment, our hosted VMware cloud infrastructure, multi-tenanted infrastructure, Azure, every flavor of cloud service you can imagine – because we want the customer to have the solution that fits their needs best. Acronis was able to provide us a single data protection platform that fits universally across all our different use cases.
So that’s where it started: protecting the data, always having a backup in multiple locations in our data centers worldwide, and now layering on some cybersecurity components in one pane of glass. It allows us to give a better level of service to our customers.
Do these benefits translate to industries outside of financial services?
Pat Hurley: Yeah, at the end of the day, data’s data, right? At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting data, making sure it’s secure, making sure you have an authentic copy.
Acronis is known as a backup company, but backup is going away. You need a more complete solution. Cybercriminals are now going after backups and trying to lock them down because they understand that’s the first place you’re going to go to try and recover from a ransomware attack. Our solutions are based on artificial intelligence. The machine learning capabilities within our solutions actively detect threats to protect customers from zero-day attacks, so your infrastructure can get back up and running.
Cloud service providers take a variety of approaches when it comes to security. What are customers looking for these days?
Jason Nolan: Everyone is looking to migrate – either to start their cloud strategy if they haven’t yet or to increase their cloud presence. We’ve actually had some customers want to leave the hyperscalers already. There are many different use cases and what we’ve been able to do is wrap a layer of security around the different cloud services.
Mobile devices, endpoint protection, network security, phishing, spear phishing, user education – there are so many different things that their employees need to be aware of that they never had to worry about before. It’s almost like 20 years ago when disaster recovery emerged on the market. Cybersecurity now is front-and-center and if you’re not paying attention to it, at some point it’s going to bite you. We’re working with our customers to make sure they never have to deal with that.
Pat Hurley: And I think an important part of this is no longer just the data center – it’s all those edge devices. We live in a very connected world. Data’s transferred across multiple devices every day. There are different points where vulnerabilities can be identified and you can’t rely on an end user to make sure that they’re protecting things properly.
Absolutely. Any final words? Were there things you took away from the Acronis Global Cyber Summit to bring to your customers?
Jason Nolan: One of the important things that came from the audience were the questions: What does it take to switch? How do you select your vendors? I think what’s often overlooked by service providers is the cost of choosing a vendor. If we choose the wrong vendor, there’s a huge cost of operations to switch to another. You’re pulling from a very limited resource pool of people on the operations team, who are usually focused on onboarding new customers, servicing the existing customer base, generating revenue, etc. who now need to focus on non-revenue operations just to make that transition. Picking the partnership with Acronis was really important to us. We made that change and it’s been the best decision we’ve ever made.
Pat Hurley: And we’re nothing without our channel partners. We consider Eze Castle a very strong channel partner. They give us reach into the end-customer community and at the end of the day they’re really the experts. We just bring technology that they can rely upon to provide a secure, complete solution for their customers.
My key takeaway was: if you’re able to interact face-to-face with your partners, you’re able to hear some of the pain points that they deal with on a daily basis. It’s not over email, it’s not on a phone call, you’re not on Zoom or Webex: You’re talking face to face. These guys understand those real-time problems and working toward solutions together at one big event was fantastic. We hope to double attendance for the next event and bring even more partners into the fold.