Ramil Yusupov

Backup and restore

Ramil Yusupov, Senior Program Manager at Acronis explores the increasingly complex world of data and the inherent dangers that businesses need to navigate

 Please can you tell me a bit more about the company?
Acronis originally started back in 2003 as a pure backup vendor, and is now a leading provider in the cyber protection space, where simple backup is just a small piece of the puzzle. Our vision is that just backing up data is not enough in the modern world, and data must be protected in many different ways. We have identified 5 vectors of cyber protection: Safety, Accessibility, Privacy, Authenticity, Security or SAPAS. Safety: ensure that a reliable copy of your data is always available; Accessibility: make your data easily available from anywhere at any time; Privacy: control who has visibility and access to your data; Authenticity: have undeniable proof a copy is an exact replica of the original; and Security: protect your data, apps, and systems against malicious threats. Normally each vector is a challenge, which requires separate and multiple solutions from different vendors, whereas Acronis combines solutions to all these challenges in a single product, agent and user interface.

What are the current issues in regards to data handling?
The current issues with data handling include:

  1. Exponential growth of the data, which must be managed. Acronis provides a scale-out software-defined storage solution with Acronis Cyber Infrastructure, allowing users to add commodity servers into a single storage cluster with required levels of redundancy, and thus covering both scaling and data safety concerns.
  2. Growth of data types which require separate handling. For example, regular files/folders on a file system, which require different handling than corporate e-mail data in an Exchange server or SQL server database. Add to this list the growth of SaaS solutions such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspaces, whose data also needs protection. Acronis addresses this challenge by adding protection for the most-known types of data used in modern IT infrastructures.

Secure transmission and storage of data with fast access on demand presents huge challenges, both technologically and operationally. Doubling the volume of customers in a year is not unusual, with total the amount growing into hundreds of petabytes. Such vast amounts of data present serious business problems as well.

How can partners look to optimise their data flows?
The most common challenge for partners is a lack of IT resources with proper team expertise, which puts ease of use and management as one of the most important criteria when selecting data management vendors. Acronis is aiming to fulfil these criteria to the highest level possible, by providing a solution, which unifies the data management approach on all SAPAS vectors. This includes a full life-cycle management of the solution, from discovery, evaluation, order processing, and initial setup to management, monitoring and reporting. When all these parts are covered by a single vendor, it drastically reduces the IT management burden and thus makes it cheaper for the partner.

What security issues should organisations be aware of in regards to handling their data?
Security threats vary, from human errors and services misconfiguration, to ransomware and other types of DDoS attacks on business IT infrastructure. The ransomware threats are the ones to be specifically outlined, as these threats target the data within the businesses core, and losing this data would very likely mean loss of entire businesses. Ransomware protection is very important, and there are multiple vendors claiming that they provide full ransomware protection. Partners should carefully evaluate these solutions, as some of them only deal with the consequences of ransomware attacks, e.g. by restoring data from backup. However, more often we see the malicious actors aiming at the backups themselves, so one must acknowledge that protecting the original data is as important as protecting the backups of this data and the backup infrastructure.

Other security challenge examples are insider threats or data stealing threats, for example, where a malicious actor or current/former employee steals a laptop containing important corporate data. One response to such a threat is changing company policy, handling devices where corporate data can be located and remotely wiping/locking these devices in case the threat has been detected.
Where are there current gaps in the market in regard to data handling?
The main gap in the market is the lack of a unified solution, with partners having to purchase separate solutions for backup, antimalware/antivirus protection, monitoring, reporting and order processing, which means excessive management overheads.

Acronis has also developed a Cyber Infrastructure solution, which allows for storage of customer data and for operation of the full Cyber Protect product stack in the cloud at significantly lower costs than a traditional cloud solution does. The solution also includes a complete virtualisation solution for running virtual machines and application containers. Together with the software defined storage, it provides the foundation for Cyber Protect services at total cost of ownership several times lower than any alternative implemented in a traditional cloud infrastructure.

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