Business continuity, Storage

Acronis Backup 12.5 Adds Ransomware Protection

Frank Jablonski
Frank Jablonski

Acronis rolled out an updated version of its backup solution today, bringing anti-ransomware protection to its product line. Acronis Backup 12.5 adds heaps of new features, but in the wake of the recent WannaCry attack, it's this ransomware protection that will likely be turning the most heads.

“This is about making backups better,” says Frank Jablonski, VP of global product marketing, Acronis. “It’s all about data protection. How can we actively protect your data from ransomware and other threats.”

The update offers active protection from the malware, and Jablonski asserts that the new feature is easy to implement with just one click, no manual intervention required and automated instant restore capabilities. The technology works by seeking out and identifying any unusual behavior within the system operations and rooting them out. If a file is modified before it's stopped by Acronis Backup, it can be recovered.

“When that WannaCry virus hit, our software stopped it immediately,” says Jablonski. “That’s a day zero identification.”

WannaCry is ransomware that hit the globe on May 12, crippling thousands of Microsoft Windows-based computers. It threatened healthcare systems in the United Kingdom and put security operations centers (SOCs) on alert in numerous countries. While the U.S. was relatively unaffected by the incident, FedEx, Britain’s National Health Service, and the Russian Interior Ministry were hit hard.

The ransomware encrypted data on computers and demanded payments of $300 to $600 to restore access. So far, the perpetrators are unknown.

Acronis 12.5: Additional Features

This latest iteration of the company's solution brings with it a hybrid cloud architecture. "We made a decision back in 2013 that the way the market was going, the way that IT was evolving, was that people were having information in many different places,” says Jablonski.

Jablonski points out that users frequently store their data in multiple locations including on-premise, remote offices, private and public clouds, and mobile devices. “We needed a way for IT to be able to easily protect that information. And so we created our hybrid cloud architecture that allows us to be able to protect all of that information for our customers under one unified centralized management console,” he says.

This resulted in many different layers of protection, including backup, cloud storage, disaster recovery, sync-and-share, monitoring and notary capabilities. The system can be deployed anywhere, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon, public clouds, or any of Acronis’s 14 data centers around the world, adds Jablonski.

This latest version allows for backups of 21 different platforms and boasts an RTO (recovery time objective) of 15 seconds. It also improves regulatory compliance with its Notary function, which takes advantage of blockchain technology. “You can guarantee with Acronis Notary that ransomware hasn't modified that backup,” asserts Jablonski. “It can prove it was the original backup that you saved which can also help with regulatory compliance.”

Partner Program and Competition

The update also boasts benefits for Acronis’s partners. “We’ve packaged it up and made it much easier to sell,” says Jablonski. “We have a lot of materials to help our partners position the product.”

For all the new features, Jablonski points out that the U.S. price has not changed and configurations have been reduced from 21 to 9 licenses. There’s a perpetual option as well as subscription-based models, and a competitive upgrade program to help anyone who wants to switch services to Acronis.

The 15 second RTO is also a strong selling feature, says Jablonski. “We have some data that we’ll be releasing that proves how fast we are in backing up as well as in recovering data,” he says.

Serguei Beloussov

Although still focused on data protection, Acronis has been transitioning away from its position as a traditional backup company. CEO Serguei Beloussov refocused the business on software-defined storage (SDS), betting that providers will need to address the artificial intelligence revolution and the resulting data protection needs. The company’s service provider ecosystem includes 750 companies, and that number is expected to surpass 1,200 companies by year-end.

Acronis Backup 12.5, while promising, faces fierce competition across the IT channel. From R&D to executive moves, companies like Barracuda Networks' MSP Solutions business, Datto, StorageCraft and Veeam, among others, have been getting cozier with partners. Moreover, most backup companies have introduced technology and/or marketing programs to promote ransomware mitigation/recovery services.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.