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Acronis updates Data Cloud with more ransomware protection

Acronis Data Cloud 7.8 adds cloud-centric data protection features to grow the vendor's managed service provider customer base. The vendor also added a physical shipping service.

Acronis' updates to its Data Cloud platform for managed service providers include increased ransomware security and better integration with Microsoft Office 365.

Acronis Data Cloud 7.8 increases the platform's security features, building on its AI-driven technology to dynamically detect malicious behavior and adding blockchain-driven data integrity.

The Acronis updates in Data Cloud 7.8 include improved protection for Microsoft Office 365 deployments. Previous versions of Data Cloud backed up email, but 7.8 now also backs up OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.

With new and deeper integrations with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, users can send backups to the public cloud through Acronis' interface without complex configurations.

Acronis Data Cloud 7.8 has an updated Active Protection feature that uses machine learning to identify ransomware.

The Acronis updates extend to the vendor's disaster recovery services, as well. Acronis Data Cloud 7.8 adds disaster recovery orchestration, allowing customers to set the order in which systems are automatically recovered during a failover scenario.

A new service, called Notary Cloud, uses blockchain to create unique, immutable fingerprints for files. This guarantees authenticity and has uses in compliance and data verification.

The Acronis updates also bring a physical data shipping service to Data Cloud. Customers can seed their initial backup clouds faster by backing up to a physical hard drive and then sending it to an Acronis data center. This is similar to AWS Snowball and Azure Data Box, except "our boxes don't look as cool," said John Zanni, president of Acronis, based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Screenshot of Acronis Data Cloud 7.8 interface
Users can back up Office 365 email messages to the cloud.

Zanni said Acronis customers are looking for greater protection against ransomware.

"Whether you think it or not, we're all a target. And so, to be appropriately protected, you really have to have a multilayered approach," he said.

Whether you think it or not, we're all a target. And so, to be appropriately protected, you really have to have a multilayered approach.
John Zannipresident of Acronis

Zanni said ransomware continues to improve, as criminals and governments use it for cyberattacks. Although Acronis Active Protection can root out ransomware hidden in backup files -- a favorite target for savvy cybercriminals -- a solid backup and recovery method is also important should those defenses fail.

"Unfortunately, bad actors out there realize how easy it is to access that data and manipulate and use it to their advantage, and we need to be protected," Zanni said.

Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC, said the service provider market is an important battlefield for data protection vendors. He said service providers are the key deliverers of cloud-based technology -- the area in which Acronis plays. Goodwin isn't surprised that Acronis updates continue to improve the product targeted at managed service providers (MSPs), because that market can drive wide adoption of its technology.

"[Service providers] are looking for ready, go-to-market data protection solutions as quickly and easily as possible," Goodwin said. "To be successful, data protection software vendors need to develop an ecosystem of [cloud service providers] and MSPs to drive demand for their products."

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