Virtual1 (en-GB)

DataProtect+ is everything you need to protect your data (find out why)

Today’s world runs on data and protecting that data is now more challenging than ever due to three emerging trends:

Greater complexity: The number of connected devices is expected to reach 200 billion in 2020 and in the near future only 1% of devices will be located in an organisation’s data centre.

Increased security threats: Hackers are using more cloud computing power and artificial intelligence to make attacks more effective. As a result, global damages from ransomware are expected to reach $20 billion by 2021.

Higher costs: the hardware and staff needed to manage and protect data is a budgetary challenge for many of today’s companies. Traditional approaches are no longer enough, particularly to keep up with the ever-advancing threats and integrate seamlessly in an organisation’s cybersecurity posture.

All of these trends, if not managed properly, are business-damaging. In his latest interview, our Head of Cloud, Lee Walker, discusses the resulting drive to more secure systems in an increasingly virtual world, and how DataProtect+ is combatting customer concerns.

Lee, in a nutshell, what is DataProtect+?

DataProtect+ is a holistic suite of data protection services, designed for the service provider community. This offering started out as a simple cloud-based backup platform. However we’ve adapted to the evolving needs of today’s workforce and have expanded DataProtect+ into a general data protection suite that covers backup, disaster and cyber protection.

There are 5 principles the suite is based upon:

  • Safety: ensuring a reliable copy of data is always available for recovery
  • Accessibility: making data is easily available from anywhere
  • Privacy: controlling who has visibility and access to data
  • Authenticity: having undeniable proof that a copy is an exact replica of the original
  • Security: protecting data from the latest cyberthreats and zero-day attacks

How is it set up?

One of the reasons our partners love the DataProtect+ solution is its ease of use. Step one requires installing a single agent on the workload the customer would like to protect. Once this is installed, it’s then a simple case of setting up the levels of protection required in the web facing management interface. This could be a straightforward backup and archive plan, or could include the full suite of protection with a DR plan to protect critical corporate workloads and with failover to the Cloud in the event of a disaster. This is all done in a few clicks, and by turning on the automated end point protection plan to protect the device against viruses, ransomware and crypto jacking, along with automated patch management and predictive hard disk failure.

Where was the demand?

When we launched the product four years ago, it was, as mentioned, a solely backup offering. However, many of our partners have since asked for something more streamlined, more automated and designed from a multi-tenant point of view. This allows them to simply resell the offering or, bring it in-house, with a fully managed service wrap around it.

At the time of development, a lot of the backup, disaster recovery and cyber protection solutions in the market were clunky. So, from developing our data protection product, we layered the disaster recovery and cyber protection services to provide a streamlined offering. Thanks to the Acronis platform, this has opened up a whole new world for us in regards to how we adapt our offerings in future to support our customers.

You added RecoveryCloud and CyberProtect to BackupCloud to form DataProtect+. What’s the demand for all three services?

There isn’t one specific SKU wholly driving uptake for the offering. While one might be a customer’s initial driver, this tends to drive uptake for the other two, once customers recognise the functionality.

We see a lot of action at the SME level that’s driven by Backup. However, once this is set up, it becomes the anchor from which it’s easy to turn on the other services which business users realise are just as critical.

The enterprise side of our service provider community have slightly different challenges. For them, the focus is on endpoint security. We’ve come to realise that these customers have real challenges around patch management and, as such, initially look at CyberProtect. However, once they apply that, they then start to consume Backup, and, in turn, DisasterRecovery.

All of our customers have different drivers and different ideas of what they want when they approach us. However, seeing the ease and affordability of the uptake, they generally tend to recognise the value in all three.

During your time at Virtual1, how has demand for Cloud services changed?

Cloud is an ever-changing landscape and a lot of the demand now is around easy to consume services that are more streamlined and automated. Essentially, if our partners can set something up automatically in the background, that’s the way they’re going to go. So it’s no surprise that there’s now a lot more focus on SaaS and PaaS environments.

Another trend is that the business world is becoming much more reflective of the consumer. 10 years ago, offices and businesses would have far superior technology to the layman. Now it’s the flip way round. Businesses choose to access a much wider breadth of technologies, designed for the consumer because they want things that are easy to consume and deploy in a few clicks. This means it’s also very simple and predictable from a pricing point of view.

As far as change is concerned, it’s very much about less infrastructure and more platforms and software.

What sectors are you seeing the most demand for DataProtect+ now?

Going back a few years we saw more uptake from verticals such as legal, finance, ecommerce - essentially any organisation where data is critical to success. However, as time has progressed, data has become more prevalent across all industries and thus, protection pricing models have become more disruptive.

Take Backup for example. The price point for this is now absolutely viable for an SME business - you’re talking a few pounds a month to protect all of your data. It’s the same with DR. Managed DR environments were, and still can be, very expensive, as they require enterprise-rate software, very skilled people and lots of planning.

DataProtect+ changes this. We’ve made the pricing disruptive so it’s now accessible across all markets and we’re now engaged with every vertical in some way. Even manual organisations like construction, where you wouldn’t think there’s a huge requirement for data or cyber protection, are consuming our services. Nowadays, business is data, it’s the lifeblood of any organisation.

How do you think data protection services will change in the future?

As time goes on customers will become even more focused on easy to consume services at a software level. One of the things we’re due to launch is FilesCloud, a collaborative working tool that sits within the same environment and based on the data in your storage. We’ll keep adding more layered, consumable services that can be applied to datasets to strengthen access and security. The demand is about giving customers more functionality on an automated basis, on what were previously quite complicated systems to deploy.

What are your customers asking for now in data protection and how does DP+ solve this?

DataProtect+ helps customers with their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. The first step towards tightening up your BC strategy starts with backup. It’s simple uptake, which then transcends to disaster recovery as the next step. It’s very easy to set up and run in the background without customers having to lift a finger, and it’s absolutely critical to their continuity and success.

We are also seeing some real challenges throughout our MSP and service provider communities when it comes to endpoint security and patch management which has become even more complex in light of the pandemic. To help partners solve these issues we launched CyberProtect to provide automated protection plans for customer end points that can be managed remotely

What are the biggest barriers to investing?

Telling customers that it’s vital to invest in something that, to a certain extent, will sit dormant in the background will always be a challenge. This is especially relevant to disaster recovery where, in the traditional environment, customers would pay significant amounts for a platform that sits doing very little until they need it. So initially cost was prohibitive, but this barrier I think we’ve got over with our aggressive price points and our scalable, no-contract model.

The other barrier is the lack of consequential loss for previous customers. Often, we speak to end clients in conjunction with our partners who say “we’ve never had an issue, why do need all this in the background”. But then, once you dig deeper you find there’s been a cyberattack or lots of corrupt data that ends up driving the decision. Other times, as unfortunate as it is, it takes a disaster for people to realise the extent of the loss without these services. There’s definitely an education piece we need to put out there to showcase this.

What features of DataProtect+ gets the best feedback?

Backup is the necessity. Everyone needs to back data up somewhere. However, what’s become more apparent since we launched CyberProtect, is the challenge our service providers have around patch management. So we’re seeing a lot more uptake on that.

In addition, all businesses want to cut costs and the more we talk to partners the more we find out that they’re not running these programmes as streamlined as they could. The CyberProtect offering helps reduce costs as it allows our partners to deliver a high-end, rich managed service, that is secure and fully automated, and requiring a lot less bums on seats.

Why did you partner to create the offering?

Most service providers today are stuck with a patchwork of legacy backup and security solutions, which is both expensive and complicated due to licensing, deployments, testing and training. The result of this is a complex mess of solutions that don’t solve modern security challenges.

A single solution that is easy to manage, delivered at a lower cost, and in conjunction with data-security leaders Acronis, ensures our customers, and their processes and technologies are as “cyber fit” as possible to protect their organisations.

DataProtect+ combines backup, anti-malware, security and management capabilities such as vulnerability assessments, path management, url filtering and more, and is about allowing our customers to eliminate complexity and put security at the heart of their offerings.

Contact your Account Manager or email marketing@virtual1.com to find out more about how DataProtect+ can enhance your business protection service.