Staying safe acquired new dimensions in 2020, not only in terms of personal health and wellbeing, but also in the corporate world
Modern companies can stay in business only if they keep their data, systems and employees protected from challenges such as hacking and data loss. The field is developing so dynamically that new threats appear on a daily basis.
Since 2003, Acronis has been on the frontlines of providing cyber protection and security to companies and individuals. The company, with corporate headquarters in Switzerland and international ones in Singapore, has a global presence with over 30 offices across the world employing more than 1,500 people. In 2020, its portfolio evolved to fit the current challenges to cyber protection. The iconic product Acronis True Image has become a part of a broader frame of cyber protection that works across multiple devices and platforms and offers efficient data protection and cyber security.
This is why we were so excited to talk to computer scientist, innovator and Acronis co-founder Stanislav Protassov at the closing day of this year's Acronis Cyber Global Summit. It took place on 19-21 October and was dedicated to the current challenges towards cyber protection.
Acronis opened an office in Bulgaria 3 years ago. What do you think about the quality of education of Bulgarian professionals?
IT education not only in Bulgaria, but all over the world, tends to focus on what is in demand, like mobile or web application development. I think that mastering the core of software engineering and computer science should be a priority, because they make the base of everything else. In Bulgaria you can find any kind of developers, from system level to front end developers. In this respect Bulgaria is doing quite well and fresh university graduates are quite good. When they start working at Acronis we do not need to retrain them, they just learn on the go. Of course, Bulgarian universities can improve their curriculum, with a focus on education and research, just like Singapore did 30 years ago. This, however, will require time, money, work, and dedication.
Did the Covid-19 pandemic change Acronis hiring strategy?
The IT sector is less affected by the redundancies caused by the pandemic. In our sector – cyber protection, cyber security, and cloud, we are still growing. This is quite impressive, given the circumstances. In Bulgaria specifically our growth is also linked to Acronis's growing popularity among IT professionals as a good workplace. So we continue hiring and we have not changed our goal to employ 1,000 people in our Bulgarian office in the next couple of years. This is ambitious, but my years of experience in business have shown that even in the hardest of times you have to push to achieve your most ambitious goals. This is when you succeed.
What are the main cyber security dangers for companies nowadays?
A company has to be aware that it is more important to pay attention to cyber protection rather than to cyber security only. Cyber protection is a concept that includes not only security, but also data safety. And making your data safe has been a part of Acronis's DNA since its beginning.
This being said, cyber security is becoming quite an issue. First, connectivity between devices is improving and soon everything you wear will be connected to the Internet. And these devices can and will be hacked. Second, the Covid-19 pandemic brought about some new scenarios, including traditional crime moving to cyber crime. According to the Interpol, in the past 20 years the cyber crimes they investigate have risen from zero to 70% of all cases. And third, the pandemic sent millions of people working from home. At Acronis, for example, between 95% and 98% of employees currently work remotely. This has significantly affected traditional corporate security with its in-house networks protected by firewalls, software and hardware solutions, and highly skilled teams of security and system administrators. Today, your employees are outside this safe perimeter and are an attractive target to anyone eager to exploit this. This trend is changing the landscape. Acronis products meet it adequately. We offer security from malware, ransomware, viruses and others, and we keep your data safe with a second copy available at all times. This is why Acronis is so relevant right now.
What does the current Acronis True Image look like?
Over 5.5 million people across the world currently use our original product Acronis True Image. Now it is becoming a part of Acronis Cyber Protect that unites all the important features of backup and cyber security in a single product line.
The customer, be it an individual or a company, can customise the different features to their specific requirements, without overpaying. They can turn features on and off, thus making the most of the flexibility that Acronis Cyber Protect provides to benefit their business and their customers.
What should we as users be aware of in terms of cyber protection?
I like how industry veteran and cybersecurity visionary René Bonvanie, chief marketing director of Palo Alto Networks, opened this year's Acronis Cyber Global Summit. He said that there are two types of companies: companies that have been hacked and ones that have been hacked but are not aware of this. This is quite true. It does not matter how big you are, or how small you are. It is a matter of when you will be hacked. In most cases hacking happens not as a result of a direct attack, but because there is a whole cybercrime industry that searches the Internet in real time, looking for computers it can penetrate and use to get money from the owners, for example.
There are multiple security tools available on the market. According to statistics over 25% of corporations use 20 or more security tools to protect themselves. If you talk to security administrators in big companies, they will tell you that even if they do not use every tool, they test all of them as they try to improve their company's security. Still, even the biggest companies face security problems.
One of those is that when you have 20 tools, orchestrating them and ensuring that there is no backdoor between them becomes an extremely complex task.
This is why it is much better to apply the concept of cyber protection. With it you always have a second copy of your data. Your security tools are aware of this copy and in case of danger can create yet another one. This can literally save your business. According to statistics, more than 25% of companies that have experienced data loss get out of business in the next 12 months. Your data, systems and customer base are extremely important for your company and you need to protect them with the right solutions and products for your business activity if you want to stay relevant and to thrive in the current economy.