Acronis CEO pledges massive data centre expansion in reaction to cloud and MSP-centric world

In a preview to his keynote today at the Acronis Global Cyber Summit, Serguei Beloussov said that traditional backup and traditional resellers are obsolete in a world of cloud and MSPs, and Acronis is expanding its infrastructure and partner enablement to respond to that change.

Serguei Beloussov, founder and CEO of Acronis

Traditional backup products – including Acronis Backup – are obsolete in an increasingly cloud world. The MSP is the future of the channel. And Acronis is reacting to these transitions by announcing plans to massively expand their global network of cloud data centers, following up recently announced facilities in Canada, New Zealand, and Bhutan. These were some of the key themes of an address presented by Serguei “SB” Beloussov, founder and CEO of Acronis on Monday, to a press and analyst conference on the first day of the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2020. They are exceedingly likely to be a preview of the themes of his general keynote to the Summit today.

“Backup is dead, including Acronis Backup,” Beloussov stated. “Acronis Cyber Protect is a better product.” Cyber Protect, which integrates Acronis’ 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, hit general availability in May. Acronis thinks that was well-timed in a world where an estimated two-thirds of employees now work remotely and rely on cloud-based services.

“The word is turning digital,” Beloussov said. “We have seen 100% cyber cloud growth, which is our main focus.” Gartner forecasts that the worldwide market for cloud management and security services will continue growing more than 25% by 2022, and market research firm Technavio projects that the global edge data center market will progress at a CAGR of almost 14% by 2024.

That cloudier world calls for a much expanded cloud data centre presence, and Beloussov laid out some very ambitious goals.

“Today we are in data centres in about 20 countries, with three new countries in the past few weeks, NZ, Canada and Bhutan,” Beloussov said. “By the end of the year, we are looking to be in 35-40 countries. We were planning to have more, but the pandemic made logistics difficult.

“We have announced that our goal is having a data centre presence in over 100 countries by 2022,” Beloussov continued. “It’s important so customers can choose where they want to be, when being in one place is no longer enough, because of local sovereignty and workload laws. People also want to have local disaster recovery. You are challenged if you don’t have a secondary infrastructure.”

Many of these new points of presence will be micro data centres designed to enable the efficient deployment of edge computing, particularly in emerging markets.

This expansion of Acronis’ cloud presence also reflects their view that the MSP business is where the solution provider industry is headed.

“I really believe the MSP is the future,” Beloussov said. “They are designed to provide a better service level at a more competitive cost.”

He also stressed, based on conversations he has had with over 350 partners, that the relationship between the MSP and the vendor is naturally tighter than the relationship between a vendor and traditional resellers.

“MSPs are much closer partners than resellers,” he emphasized.

Accordingly, Beloussov outlined briefly Acronis’ plan to expand services broadly with MSPs. This includes more Partner Manager attention, and a range of premium services and support in areas like education, marketing, sales and development.

“For more responsive support, we intend to grow the number of people by 3x, with the target being a five minute response,” he stated.

These initiatives are being completed by the Acronis #CyberFit Academy, which Acronis also announced on Monday. It reworks the way that the company trains and certifies its channel partners how to position, sell, and deploy Acronis cyber protection solutions.