Plamen Toshev, Managing Director of Acronis Bulgaria, on how to keep a company afloat in challenging times
This spring, in a matter of days, companies of all sizes throughout the world discovered that they need to quickly change the way their organise their business processes. In a bid to protect collective health, thousands of employees switched to work from home. In this new environment, doing your job as efficiently as in office while protecting sensitive company data is a priority and a challenge to untold number of businesses, that already struggle to stay alive in a dire economic crisis.
Acronis, an international leader in cyber security and hybrid cloud storage, which was founded in Singapore in 2003 and incorporated in Switzerland in 2008, has the solution. We talk about it with Plamen Toshev, Managing Director of Acronis Bulgaria. Mr Toshev has more than 12 years of experience in the software industry, and a proven track record of successful projects and extensive management skills. A graduate of Sofia's Technical University, he was the owner and managing director of T-Soft when Acronis acquired the Bulgarian company in 2018. As a managing director of Acronis Bulgaria, Mr. Toshev is focused on expanding company presence and its R&D centre in Bulgaria and is directly responsible for the development of some of the major products of Acronis.
Many of us now have to work from home. What are the risks for companies that have not prepared for such change in time?
Home office is a serious challenge for IT departments in big companies and for small and mid-size businesses, which as a general rule lack such departments. Recreating the infrastructure that you have at the office at home is hard. Often, the home router is not secure enough to deal with potential attacks and/or the Internet connection quality is not good enough. The hardware used at home – desktops, laptops, tablets, are seldom up to the latest security standards. Unlike when working at the office, while you are at home you cannot call the company's IT or security team to take care of a breach or to install firewall and antivirus programmes. The danger is exacerbated by the increased presence of smart technologies in our homes, from TV sets to printers, which are vulnerable to security breaches and can expose to outsiders sensitive personal and corporate data (finance, future projects etc) shared using the same network.
While organising their work from home, companies should also allow their employees to have a fast, real-time access to important documents. Many people work from their phones and tablets or their Internet connection might get interrupted. They need to be able to work both online and offline. That is why the commonly adopted tools for remote work are public applications for synchronisation and sharing of data and files. However, most companies cannot rely on a public cloud solution to store company secrets and should be well prepared against breaches.
What solutions does Acronis offer for these problems?
As a cyber security company, Acronis offers cyber solutions for protection of highly vulnerable working environment from ransomware attacks and other types of malware. We also offer both on premise and cloud solutions for safe and secure exchange and synchronisation of data and files. Both are much needed today. They protect users while allowing them to do their job.
How Acronis guarantees users' security?
Our solution for sharing and synchronisation of data uses different methods for data encryption. With mobile devices we are extra cautious. We go a step beyond standard encryption on iOS and Android, applying military-grade encryption. This is why state organisations, including military ones, in Western Europe and the USA use our solutions. Still it is important to note that those solutions can be used by any type and size of businesses.
Why did Acronis provide free access to service providers to its Acronis Cyber Files Cloud until the end of July?
Service providers are one of our main partners as, with offering Acronis products, they are the connection between us and many end customers. Many companies, service providers included, are overstressed by the current economic situation. We decided to help them by providing free access to solutions they can offer to their new clients. Every service provider now can have free access to Acronis Cyber Files Cloud for safe and effective file and data sharing. The only thing they need to do is to ask for access code.
How easy it is for a small or mid-size company to implement Acronis solutions?
It only needs to contact its service provider and to ask for them. Activating our services through our web portal is one click away. The client will receive an email and two minutes later they will be able to use our service.
Acronis applies flexible approach to its clients. Our products can be used on premise, where the whole solution is installed on and uses the company's own storage. This is preferred mostly by large companies and banks that do not or cannot share data on a cloud. The small and mid-size businesses benefit best from our cloud service that uses our own servers to store data. There is also a hybrid solution that uses the servers of the providers for local and quick-access storage. In this case Acronis supports only the management portal.
What should we, as users, be aware of in 2020 in regard of cyber security?
Currently we are all preoccupied with our physical health and survival. But we should not underestimate our cyber security. Cyber criminals see the current situation as a golden opportunity. They are aware that most users are now so distressed and distracted by news and fears, that they will be less vigilant to fishing and other cyber attacks. The risk of cyber crimes is only going to rise and we need to be prepared for it. Acronis is a partner that can help companies and individuals to be more secure, providing them with precious breathing space to concentrate on following the government's health regulations and requirements, and to how to make their businesses survive the crisis.
Can you speculate a bit on how the IT industry will look like after the crisis?
Any crisis is an opportunity and the IT business is bound to benefit the most from this one. Yes, economic decline will cause decline in the number of clients, projects and sales, as people will prioritise goods and services needed for their physical survival and health. But the crisis will also drive people, companies and institutions to think how can work be more effective from home and not from the office. Bulgaria and the region still lag in this respect, particularly when e-government is concerned. Now we have opportunity to change this. Companies as well will have to learn to trust their employees with more home office or flexible work schedules.
Many businesses will successfully adapt to the new realities with the help of products and services by companies such as Acronis. Distant, safe, secure and effective work will improve the effectiveness of the economy and the businesses, allowing us not to fall victim of the situation, but to control it and to use it to thrive.