American tech companies could end up losing tens of billions of dollars in foreign sales stemming from the NSA spying scandal. Then there's the potential revenue hit from Russia, which is pushing to reduce its reliance on some of the same companies amid heightened tensions with the U.S.
But U.S. tech companies' loss could be a gain for Acronis. The company, based in Rheinweg, Switzerland, provides cloud-based data backup and storage for clients including Toyota Motor and Hamburger Hafen. Many of Acronis's employees are in Russia, although the country makes up only 2 percent of the company's sales. Current events may change that.
In recent months, Acronis has been approached by companies co-owned by the Russian government that are seeking cloud-based backup and insisting that the data be stored in Russia. Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked details about U.S. spying programs, showed that location is directly linked to security.
"After Snowden’s disclosure, users are concerned about storing their data on servers located abroad, where secret services may have uncontrollable access to personal information," said Stanislav Protassov, senior vice president of Acronis.
So this week, Acronis announced plans to open data centers in markets including Russia and Germany where the governments are urging companies to store data locally. Protassov said the company is planning to boost its Russian business to as much as 10 percent of its sales.
Acronis's newfound opportunities highlight the flip side to the backlash against the U.S. Of course, American tech companies such as Salesforce.com are also adding data centers in Europe to address governments' security concerns.
But for companies such as Acronis, they may still have the added appeal of not being based in the U.S. And, at least in the eyes of Russia, it certainly doesn't hurt that Acronis was founded by Serguei Beloussov, who was born in that country, and has 90 percent of the company's programmers based in Russia.