Acronis brings Cyber Protect integrated backup and security offering to GA

Acronis expects most MSPs to move from Backup to Cyber Protect, and is offering a promo through the end of July to encourage this.

Acronis has announced the availability of Acronis Cyber Protect, a new cyber protection solution which integrates their backup and disaster recovery tools with next-gen anti-malware, cybersecurity, and endpoint management tools like vulnerability assessment, URL filtering, and patch management into a single service.

This platform has been in development for a while. It really began three years ago, when Acronis added ransomware protection to Acronis Backup, and then started to work on more security capabilities. They also began to promote the concept of cyber protection – converging cyber security and data protection – to analysts. Last October, at their inaugural customer event in Miami, CEO Serguei Beloussov announced the solution in a soft launch. They made it available two months ago to selected partners, and it’s now in General Availability.

Other vendors are also integrating data protection and security into a single solution, but Acronis’ vision is broader, said Gaidar Magdanurov, Acronis’ Chief Cyber Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

“Our vision is bigger,” he stated. “We aren’t just adding AV. It’s vulnerability management, patch management, and remote management, all through one single agent, as well as backup and recovery. We call this concept cyber protection. Others are looking to this direction too, but they have multiple tools.”

Magdanurov said that multiple tools simply aren’t effective for MSPs.

“The best MSPs support thousands of workloads per tech., while the average is about 500,” he said. “Once you have multiple tools, you have a problem keeping these numbers because the techs have to make sure things are compatible and have to update on different schedules. We replace multiple solutions with one.”

Acronis takes the position that in a converged backup and endpoint protection solution, there are advantage to coming at it from the primary backup perspective.

“Integrating backup into the endpoint security proves helps against newer viruses or others which may not be discovered that easily because we scan the cold data, and can find them there,” Magdanurov noted. “Our message to MSPs is very simple. For the backup, we have a much better backup than other integrated offerings. For endpoint security, it’s basically the same, but it has the advantage of being integrated with our data protection.”

The AV signatures component of Acronis Cyber Protect is licensed from an undisclosed OEM, but all the other endpoint security was developed in-house by Acronis.

“While the signatures are from the OEM, the actual engine for AV we built ourselves,” Magdanurov said. “We built all the other endpoint features like vulnerability assessment and patch management as well.”

Magdanurov promised that Acronis will continue to build new components for the solution.

“We plan to add additional capabilities every month,” he said.

While the vast majority of Acronis’ approximately 7000 MSPs already offer some type of endpoint protection, Magdanurov said that the reaction to Acronis Cyber Protect has been enthusiastic.

“I have spoken with many MSPs who are very positive about this solution, even if they have worked with an endpoint vendor for some time,” he said. “They look at it from a cost and productivity perspective. They want to support more customers with fewer technicians while still having happy customers. This will let them do that, so that they can make more money.”

Acronis will watch and see what the adoption rate on Cyber Protect is like before making a decision what to do with Backup.

“We expect that most partners will move to Cyber Protect and we may just discontinue Backup, but it’s hard to say at this point,” Magdanurov indicated. “We have to see if that will happen. Some service providers are very price conscious. Some may have multi-year commitments with their security vendors. Some also have some concerns if they are doing something very special, like using an EDR solution, which are quite expensive, for larger customers. We integrate with any kind of security solution so they can just disable any Acronis feature if there’s something else they want to use for a specific purpose. There are also some MSPs who support specialized environments like UNIX distributions, but those are mainly in the corporate data centre, which is usually well protected anyway. It’s when you go outside it that it’s the Wild West and you need cyber protection, especially now with so many people working from home.”

Magdanurov noted that Acronis’ addition in April of specific protection for Zoom, WebEx and Microsoft Teams is of great value for MSPs in talking to end customers in today’s environment, as well as a remote wipe capability using voice-enabled, touchless control.

“Conversations with MSPs have indicated that these help with customers, and that this, plus the ability to disable a piece of Acronis if the customer wants something else that is specific, will help to sell Cyber Protect,” he said.

In the short term, as a pandemic-related promotion, Acronis will be selling Acronis Cyber Protect to existing MSPs at the same price as Backup, through July 31 2020, to allow them to support non-paying customers during the pandemic. After that, there is an increase, but Magdanurov said that it will still save MSPs about 30% over the cost of buying the endpoint security from another provider.

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