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Acronis CEO steps down, GoDaddy exec steps in

Acronis's previous CEO will lead product development while the new CEO focuses on go-to-market, partner program expansion and increasing company headcount.

Acronis founder and CEO Serguei Beloussov has voluntarily stepped down from the role and has been replaced by Patrick Pulvermueller, former president of GoDaddy's partners business.

Beloussov, who founded Acronis in 2003 and served as the data protection vendor's CEO since 2013, is now Acronis' chief research officer. His new role involves directing the company's technology and research strategy, which includes product and feature development and market research.

Patrick Pulvermueller, CEO of AcronisPatrick Pulvermueller

Pulvermueller, who most recently spent the last four years at GoDaddy and more than 20 years in the hosting and domain industry, will be focused on growing Acronis as CEO. His plan is to strengthen Acronis' partnership program to tap into the service provider market and increase the company's headcount.

Acronis is doing well, but it hasn't yet reached its full potential in terms of both product offering and as a business, Beloussov said. Beloussov felt he was better at bolstering the former and Pulvermueller's expertise and experience made him more suited for tackling the latter.

"Patrick is better equipped than me to turn Acronis into a multibillion-dollar company," Beloussov said.

Acronis reached "unicorn" status in September 2019 after a $147 million funding round and most recently finished a $250 million funding round in May of this year. It is currently valued at over $2.5 billion.

The Acronis technology stack is well built out at this point, and the company is in a comfortable position, said Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC. Beloussov can continue to refine and build out the product even further, but the next big step for the company is to bring in leadership with go-to-market expertise.

What they really need to do now is catch fire in the industry.
Phil GoodwinResearch director, IDC

"What they really need to do now is catch fire in the industry," Goodwin said.

Ransomware has recently hit some high-profile companies in the enterprise IT market, including ExaGrid and Kaseya. There's no question ransomware is a hot topic right now, Goodwin said. As a company that handles data protection and security, the two IT disciplines that handle ransomware attacks and the aftermath, now is the time for Acronis to push hard into the market.

Acronis isn't the only company to combine data protection and cybersecurity. Carbonite, an OpenText company, gained cybersecurity features through its acquisition of Webroot, and Arcserve has security software integration through a partnership with Sophos.

Data protection and cybersecurity form a potent combination against ransomware, and that level of protection needs to eventually extend to SaaS and Kubernetes environments, Goodwin said. The attack on Kaseya affected about 50 of its MSP customers, which in turn affected more than 1,500 MSP clients. The way the attack propagated so widely demonstrated how vulnerable as-a-service can be and how important it is to treat off-premises data as seriously as what's in the data center, Goodwin said.

There haven't been any attacks aimed specifically at Kubernetes workloads that he's aware of yet, Goodwin said, but that might be because the number of production workloads running in containers is still a very small percentage of the overall market. Many of them aren't mission critical now, so they haven't yet earned the attention of cybercriminals, but customers and vendors need to prepare for that eventuality.

"It really hasn't been addressed yet, but going forward, I think it will need to be," Goodwin said of Kubernetes data protection and security.

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