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By Eric Herzog, Marketing Director at Infinidat
Cybersecurity is a priority topic throughout the company, from the IT department to the chief executive officer (CEO). Ransomware, malware attacks, and corporate data theft can cost businesses millions, lead to government compliance breaches, cause lasting reputational damage, and negatively affect operations if businesses aren’t properly prepared for recovery. Data is the critical target of malware attacks, and malicious actors will seek to exploit any vulnerabilities. Integrating primary storage into a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and building cyber resilience into the storage architecture is an important step in thwarting such attacks.
The cost of ransomware
A ransomware attack or other data breach can have devastating consequences for businesses, and the costs can skyrocket as they include downtime, lost opportunities, the number of hours needed to resolve the issue and network repair costs. There is also often the cost of the ransom to consider, as unprepared organizations have few options other than pay or lose their data.
According to the Sophos State of Ransomware 2021, the average ransom paid by midsize businesses was $170,404, yet only 8% of businesses that paid the ransom actually recovered their data. The report also states that the average cost to resolve a ransomware attack was $1.85 million. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that ransomware costs will reach $265 billion by 2031.
A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy
Cyber threats are one of the biggest risks facing businesses today, and business leaders are starting to take notice. Cyber resilience has become a priority and a necessary part of an overall cybersecurity strategy to help combat cyberattacks across the storage farm and data infrastructure. However, having cyber-resilient secondary storage is no longer enough. In today’s threat landscape, it’s equally important to architect backend storage for cyber resilience. Cyber-resilient storage includes a number of different elements to implement.
Immutable snapshots are point-in-time copies of manually scheduled or created data, and cannot be erased, deleted, or otherwise modified. They are commonly used in backup storage, but incorporating this “write once, read many” concept into the primary storage array can be a game changer. These immutable snapshots cannot be modified by anyone, not even administrators. So even if administrator credentials are stolen or malicious actors gain access by other means, the snapshot will remain unchanged.
Logical air spacing
Air spacing creates a separation between the management/control plane and the data plane, so data remains separated, which can limit the spread of cyberattacks on your storage environment. A logical remote airspace effectively places a separate copy of the data on another storage platform. This can be replicated to a second storage unit in the same data center, or remotely to a different site or different data center. Combined with immutable snapshots, this is a powerful combination to deliver enhanced storage cybersecurity
Fenced forensic environment
Having immutable backups and snapshots is essential, but no business should simply believe that these copies of data are clean and uninfected. Malware and ransomware attacks can infiltrate organizations and sit dormant for months, making snapshots likely to have been infected. It is therefore essential to have a sterile, fenced and forensic environment for testing, validation and recovery. Using a private VLAN connection, this environment can be used to regularly test snapshots and create a catalog of “well-known” copies from which you can recover in the event of a cyber incident.
Almost instant recovery
If you know where your last known good copies are and you come under attack, you can take advantage of near-instant recovery, ranging from 1-3 minutes on primary storage and up to 15 minutes on secondary storage. This is delivered using an intelligent architecture that intelligently manages snapshots and metadata trees, giving businesses superior recovery performance at scale and enabling rapid recovery even down to petabytes without depending on the size of the dataset.
Cyber threats, especially ransomware and attacks designed to steal data, are a trend that will only continue. Businesses need to be prepared, and superior data protection and cyber resilience are essential for the entire IT infrastructure. If companies don’t include storage in their cybersecurity strategy, they expose themselves to ransomware and other malware. To effectively protect against this growing threat, it has become essential to integrate cyber-resilient enterprise storage into primary and secondary storage.