The roar was so deafening it didn’t just shake the walls and cause champagne to splash out of glasses – it was literally able to move people about the room, as if by an occult hand.
Then came the ringing, which would not cease for nearly a whole week later.
Such cacophony was the stock standard Abu Dhabi Grand Prix experience. The tenth edition of the annual Formula One race was filled with the usual sounds, the lingering whiff of burnt rubber and Lacoste Pour Femme, and typical sight of people in jeans and dress shirts taking in the trackside action with people in functional yet fashionable dresses. The corporate boxes were all stuffed to the gills with royalty, celebrities, captains (and captainahs, to use Careem’s parlance) of industry, mega and micro-influencers, and more as per usual, as were the superyachts and various vessels moored in the adjacent Yas Marina.
But as “business as usual” the overall conflagration may have been, things were decidedly different on the race's first day (November 23) in a box near the track’s starting line, as it was there cyber protection firm Acronis announced a bevy of partnerships with organisations that could have wide-ranging implications for businesses both in the Middle East and beyond.
First, Acronis announced the successful rollout of cyber protection for Formula One racing team Williams Racing during the 2018 season. Said Williams Martini Racing CIO Graeme Hackland: “The great benefit of using Acronis is securing the data, our IP. Data is king in our business.”
Next, it was announced that Acronis had inked a global technology partnership with English premier League football club Manchester City. As part of the partnership, Acronis will help the club to enhance and develop its data backup and storage capabilities.
In attendance for the announcement was former Manchester City player Paul Dickov, who spoke about the increasing importance of data not just in professional sports, but all facets of life.
That was also something Acronis founder and CEO Sergue Beloussov spoke of. “The world is becoming digital,” he said, pointing to the rise of smart cities in places such as Dubai as a prime example.
Wearing a dark navy polo shirt, Beloussov said approximately 5.5 billion emails were sent worldwide in the few minutes it takes a Formula One car, on average, to complete a single lap in a race. All that traffic, he said, means plenty of opportunities for hackers and for threats to go undetected. He said: “All evils are caused by insufficient knowledge.”
Hence Acronis becoming the first company to add artificial intelligence-based ransomware protection and blockchain-based data authentication to its products, creating one of the most secure backups on the market. According to Beloussov, this commitment to innovation allows Acronis to deliver solutions that protect all data, applications, and systems at a low and predictable cost.
Although the partnerships announced were with sports clubs, there are also implications for telcos: Acronis counts as customers more than five million consumers and 500,000 businesses worldwide, including 79 of the world’s top 100 most valuable brands – including a number of Middle East telcos.