Acronis expands data management aspirations

  • Acronis Access now offers SMBs data protection at better price point
  • Mobile-centric focus only part of its vision for eventual solutions portfolio

THE launch of Acronis Access 7, a mobile content management (MCM) and file sync and share solution, late last year is in many ways a natural reaction to the changing nature of the data management market.
 
“Acronis is innovating and delivering new cloud and secure file access and share solutions – and we’re working closely with partners to develop their businesses,” said Jan-Jaap Jager, executive vice president of Asia Pacific/ Japan and Emerging Markets at Acronis.
 
“With these new solutions, Acronis has solid products, strategy and plans, and is much more than a backup provider,” he added.
 
Acronis expands data management aspirationsAccording to the company’s chief executive officer Serguei Beloussov (pic), the space is indeed undergoing rapid change.
 
“But what has really changed recently is that there is more awareness of the need for control and privacy when it comes to data,” he said.
 
Beloussov said that more companies are aware of the need to invest in a cloud architecture and not necessarily a global cloud provider because they “quite often lose control and privacy” in such cases.
 
He also noted an increasing shift to local cloud providers, which usually offer more control, made possible by the commoditisation of cloud technology and services.
 
This shift is also driven in part by the growing compliance requirements by governments around the world regarding how data is used, managed, and protected.
 
Designed for mobile use and BYOD (bring your own device) environments, Acronis Access 7 allows users to access and edit company documents from multiple devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
 
In its 2014 Magic Quadrant report on the Enterprise File Synchronisation and Sharing (EFSS) market, Gartner said that Acronis Access “is a viable option for organisations that are prioritising mobile devices to raise employees’ productivity, but have concerns about security and control.”
 
“Acronis Access is a good choice for companies that are looking for a backup/ recovery solution, as well as core capabilities for file sync and sharing, or already have investments in Acronis,” the report added.
 
The Gartner report noted that major roadblocks exist in regulated industries, where the cloud provider model isn’t trusted, the provider may be located in another country or under different legislation, or the model may require specific certifications.
 
“Another issue is the cost of services, such as Enterprise Mobility Management for mobility deployments, which drives adoption of EFSS as extensions in other products, rather than adopting EFSS destination products.
 
“The cost of EFSS can be high, especially for public cloud offerings that include cloud storage in the bundle,” Gartner further noted, adding however that prices were also dropping thanks to cuts by major cloud vendors.
 
Gartner also predicted that by 2017, part of the EFSS market will be absorbed into adjacent markets such as collaboration and content management.
 
In addition, less than 10% of today’s EFSS destination vendors will offer standalone products, and the rest will have been absorbed into adjacent markets such as collaboration, enterprise content management (ECM), mobility and storage.
 
Enabling access
 
A key differentiator with the latest iteration of the Acronis Access solution is its intended aim of serving the small medium business (SMB) segment at a comparably affordable price point, the result of feedback from its customer base, the company said.
 
In many cases, customers couldn’t afford complex mobile device management (MDM) capabilities, but were looking for ways to better secure and manage corporate data across devices.
 
Jager said that the SMB-level solution offers granular policy control with pre-set policies, unlimited file storage in addition to choice of where data is stored, be it on-premises or off-premises.
 
The solution also marks an expanded focus for the Acronis Access product line which was previously focused on large-scale enterprise deployments in the financial and education sectors, he said.
 
“Via partner feedback, we found out that many SMBs want a ‘controllable version’ of Dropbox, which will offer the needed flexibility of access for their workforce while allowing better management of how company data is used,” he added.
 
For large corporations, the Access Advanced solution provides Active Directory integration for user management; granular management capabilities for security policies and content control and compliance; audit log for visibility on content access; edition and share; certified encryption to meet stringent regulatory standards; and enhanced authentication to improve security.
 
Acronis Access 7 has a per user cost of US$59.80 for 25 users, US$49.90 for 50 users, and US$39.95 for 100 users, while Access Advanced 7 has a fixed per user cost of US$187.
 
The prices are for one-time perpetual licence fees with an additional 20% annual maintenance fee per user. Organisations can upgrade to the advanced edition at any time.
 
The 2015 pipeline

Acronis expands data management aspirations

Meanwhile, Beloussov said that the company has a few key areas of focus for 2015, with the availability of Access 7 and its mobile-centric capabilities forming only part of the vision for its eventual solutions portfolio.
 
“Access 7 is a very exciting product and we believe we will have a lot of success with this. Acronis is focused on technology innovation to keep data private, so expect more announcements from us in this area in the coming months,” he added.
 
Another focus is the on-going plan to make all products available as cloud-based solutions to offer choice to customers.
 
Key industry verticals that will take precedence this year for the company include education and science, government, communications, manufacturing, automotive, and finance.
 
“These are verticals where data loss and loss of capacity is very expensive. For example, when a server is down for a bank, transactions can’t be made.
 
“Even in the chemical industry, every piece of equipment is managed by computers, and every component needs to be operational at all times,” Beloussov said.
 
Equally important for the company is strengthening its relationship with all its partners, as well as its reseller and distributor networks.
 
“We’re very focused on partners and we need to improve – we are improving on execution and support for our network.
 
“And we always welcome new distributors and resellers to come talk to us and to tell us how to make them more profitable and grow,” Beloussov said.
 
Finally, the company remains committed to its consumer-facing line of data backup and protection solutions, despite its challenges.
 
“Data protection is in many ways more important for individuals and we’re putting a lot of focus on family, consumer and small office home office products, as I feel it is our duty to protect data.
 
“It is not a market that is necessarily liked by consumers and definitely not investors, but it is a very important market and we want to offer a very good, even the best, solution to users,” Beloussov said.
 
Related Stories:
 
Acronis builds cloud momentum, expands choice of data centre locations
 
Complexity and data growth key challenges for SMBs: Acronis
 
Acronis sees an Asian future for its backup solutions
 
Big cloud players’ price-slashing threatens smaller players: IDC
 
 
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