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Acronis Cyber Protect adds new capabilities for remote users

SMB IT teams can now empower users to restore endpoints such as laptops with Acronis Cyber Protect 16 and protect against ransomware with new immutable backups.

Acronis hardened its data protection and disaster recovery software to support IT teams managing a distributed workforce.

Acronis Cyber Protect 16, the latest release of the vendor's data protection platform, which is available now, offers a user self-service option for workload recovery, integrated endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities, and a consolidated server management dashboard, among other improvements.

Acronis Cyber Protect targets SMBs and smaller enterprise customers compared with the company's similarly named Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, a backup and DR platform for MSPs.

Backup industry analysts said SMB customers and remote workers aren't often catered to by enterprise-focused software, enabling Acronis to reach a different market compared with more traditional enterprise vendors. Direct competitors include Carbonite and Asigra, which also target SMBs and MSPs, respectively.

These smaller customers might not have all the security features for their stack and are thinking about how to protect a remote workforce, said Krista Macomber, research director at the Futurum Group.

"For enterprise data protection, we [usually] see IT systems as the focus," Macomber said. "Acronis sees some opportunity here [now that] we're all working in a distributed fashion."

All-in-one for SMBs

The new One Click Recovery feature lets IT administrators select the users who can initiate a recovery and start the process if a password is needed, according to Acronis. Users can choose from the latest backup or several other available restore points.

Other new backup features include the addition of immutable storage and support for the latest generation of tapes, LTO-9.

The recovery features require the Advanced subscription to the Acronis Cyber Protect platform, which is priced slightly higher than the Standard version, according to Acronis, and certain features require a cloud deployment of the platform to use. The platform offers backup and protection services for more than 20 different workloads, ranging from Microsoft 365, SAP HANA and Linux KVM.

Complementing this recovery feature is the integration of Acronis' own EDR capabilities, which debuted last year, that enable SMB IT teams to find and detect anomalous user actions to stop ransomware or other nefarious attacks. Acronis Active Protection, the vendor's anti-ransomware capability, joins other Cyber Protect security features with machine learning capabilities to detect and halt potential attacks.

It's easy for the authorized end user to get things back on track without a [doctorate in backups].
Christophe BertrandPractice director, Enterprise Strategy Group

Customers can view all Acronis environments through a single dashboard within the software's console, enabling multiple servers to report on the health of thousands of endpoints at once, according to the vendor.


Employee email accounts and other similar endpoints remain some of the most common vectors for ransomware attacks, said Christophe Bertrand, practice director at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. Enabling remote users to recover and get back to work -- while IT manages the security fallout -- could cut back on some logistical headaches.

"It's easy for the authorized end user to get things back on track without a [doctorate in backups]," Bertrand said.

The immutable backup feature provides two modes to control how backups are deleted within the service. Governance mode enables backups to be deleted by administrators, while compliance mode cannot be disabled once activated and prevents backups from being deleted.

Those modes are a smart addition to the platform, as more industries and countries are setting data compliance laws and retention minimums, Macomber said.

Self-service features are a useful addition for IT teams handling remote workers, but whether they can ensure those users are choosing the correct restore points without further intervention needed remains to be seen, said Steve McDowell, founder and chief analyst at NAND Research.

"There's a real trend in enterprise IT around self-service," McDowell said. "It meets that trend, but are they giving IT the controls to make sure those points are [correct]?"

Tim McCarthy is a journalist from the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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