Backup data is a primary target of ransomware, and legacy backup storage systems expose their customer’s last line of defense to the attack. StorONE’s new S1:Backup works with Veeam, Rubrik, HYCU, Commvault, and others to ensure backup data is immutable to ransomware attacks and extends the value to backup infrastructures while lowering the total cost of backup storage ownership.
To learn more about the topic, we conducted an interview with George Crump, CMO of StorONE.
1. Can you tell us more about StorONE?
StorONE is an Enterprise Storage Platform company. We spent our first eight years doing something that no one else has done; we rewrote the foundational elements of storage from the ground up, creating new algorithms that deliver the most efficient storage software solution on the market. Using this platform, a single StorONE instance can support a broad spectrum of data center storage use cases, delivering better performance, data protection, and scalability while using dramatically less hardware, leading to the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry.
Our platform approach enables customers to start their journey with us by solving one of their most pressing tactical challenges, data protection, while also laying the groundwork for a more strategic storage consolidation strategy.
2. Why is backup data a primary target of ransomware?
Backup data is a primary target of ransomware because the bad actors that unleash the malware know that infected organizations will need to resort to their backups and storage to not pay the ransom. If hackers can encrypt the backup data, the organization cannot recover, and they must pay the ransom. Malware attacks on backup data are successful because many organizations store their backup data on SMB or NFS shares, which makes that data readily accessible and alterable to the malware.
3. What are the main issues with legacy backup storage systems when protecting their customers’ backup data?
Most legacy backup storage systems don’t provide any form of immutability to the data they are storing. If they do, it is often limited. Many of these systems can’t store the data in an immutable format efficiently for a long enough time. Malware has become increasingly pernicious over the last five years. There are ransomware variants that will either wait to start their encryption process or encrypt slowly to avoid detection.
Another significant challenge is recovery. If the organization is trying to recover from a ransomware attack, they likely have encrypted data throughout their production storage environment. Simply restoring over the old encrypted data is not viable. The customer must first identify and eradicate the malware which may have replicated itself and also been backed up during the regular backup process.
While most backup applications can “instant recover” to available capacity on the backup storage device, the capability may have limited value on legacy backup storage products. First, the backup storage itself may be infected. Second, trying to run these instantly recovered virtual machines or applications on legacy backup storage devices may yield performance so poor that it is unusable.
4. What is S1:Backup?
S1:Backup reimagines backup storage. Instead of a “cheap and deep digital dumping ground,” it leverages our Enterprise Storage Platform to deliver a production-class feature set at backup storage prices. S1:Backup utilizes a flash front end for fast and frequent data ingest and high-performance recovery. It then automatically tiers the data to high-density hard disk drives for long-term data retention.
5. What are the main features of S1:Backup
- It is part of our Enterprise Storage Platform – Instead of buying a single-purpose solution for backup storage. S1:Backup can also solve archive, file, virtualization, and database storage challenges. S1:Backup is the only backup solution that can address all storage use cases without changing software.
- 100% Ransomware Recovery – Every backup sent to the S1:Backup solution is saved in an immutable format. IT can preserve each space-efficient copy for as long as they need to make sure they surpass any ransomware threats. They can also use the same functionality to meet data compliance requirements. Immutability is available across all protocols. S1:Backup provides the most complete, highest-performing immutable storage on the market.
- Fastest, Safest Recoveries – IT can leverage the backup software application’s Instant Recovery feature or restore natively to the S1:Backup solution, using it as Standby Storage. The solution has no single point of failure (high availability) and can provide a “known-good” recovery environment since all data is available in an immutable state. Only StorONE offers a backup storage solution that can step in for production storage and provide the customer with the necessary performance and features.
- Affordable Long-Term Data Retention – Besides providing lightning-fast backup and recovery, S1:Backup also provides the most affordable data retention while also raising the bar for data retention. All data is stored on cost-effective, high-density hard disk drives. As drive capacities continue to increase the cost per terabyte decreases. S1:Backup customers can add newer higher density drives, mixing them with the current drives without data migration or creating a new volume. The S1 Platform makes using hard disk drives risk-free by delivering the most advanced RAID rebuilds in the industry today. Volumes of 18TB and 20TB drives can return to an entire protected state in less than three hours, instead of the four-plus days of competing systems.
6. How does S1:Backup ensure that the backup data is immutable to ransomware attacks?
With S1:Backup every backup, and every recovered volume, is also stored in an immutable state. The organization is assured their backups are protected from attack, but any applications or virtual machines that they recover are equally protected from the attack.
7. How does S1:Backup fill the gap between backup software innovations and storage hardware capabilities?
Backup-server software vendors have innovated in two key areas. The first is the granularity at which the backup data is captured. Block Level Incremental (BLI) backups or Change Block Tracked (CBT) backups transport less data across the network than traditional full/incremental backups. These technologies enable the customer to more frequently backup applications and virtual machines. Instead of receiving one big backup job a night, the backup storage target now receives potentially hundreds of smaller backup jobs per hour.
S1:Backup’s flash tier leverages the Enterprise Storage Platform technology to deliver optimal performance from eight to twelve flash drives. As a result, it can easily keep pace with the high number of backup jobs and allow customers to increase backup frequency, reducing their recovery point objective (RPO) and reducing the chances of data loss during a ransomware attack.
The second innovation is the Instant Recovery features standard in modern backup-server software solutions. This feature instantiates a virtual machine’s or an application’s data on the backup storage target. The result is that target now becomes production storage. Legacy backup storage targets don’t have the performance, availability, or enterprise features to act as production storage. As a result, IT must “restore again” to a production storage system, which may not be available in the case of a ransomware attack or may not be “clean.”
8. What Makes S1:Backup Standout from its Competitors?
First and foremost, S1:Backup is part of the StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform. Typically, when an organization buys a backup storage solution, they add to their storage fragmentation problem by creating yet another silo of storage. S1:Backup is backup storage with a future. After the organization solves its backup and ransomware recovery challenges, it can use the same software and hardware investment to address other use cases like archiving, file (NAS), virtualization, or databases. They can seamlessly add additional flash as more performance is needed or hard disk drives with more capacity. The whole process is non-disruptive and requires zero data migration.
Second, specific to backup, S1:Backup delivers the most complete ransomware recovery in the industry. It provides this capability without requiring the organizations to change their existing backup application or the preferred storage protocol.
Third, it is the only solution that, thanks to StorONE’s advanced storage platform technology, provides recovery performance so fast organizations can use their backup storage target as a standby storage system.
Fourth, it is the most cost-effective backup storage target on the market today. It fully exploits the cost savings of high-density (18TB/20TB) drives without compromising performance or data safety. It provides decades of scalability and data integrity within a single instance.
9. What industries can benefit from S1:Backup
Almost every industry and data center can benefit from S1:Backup. Healthcare, in particular, has been a target of ransomware attacks lately; providing a solution that can deliver a complete ransomware recovery strategy is ideal for these organizations. Also, because of the extreme-mission-critical nature of the healthcare industry, the ability to leverage your backup storage target as standby storage in the event of failure on one of the organization’s production storage systems, is of high value. Finally, healthcare organizations have a wide variety of use cases, leading them to many different storage systems, forcing storage costs to spiral out of control. S1:Backup provides the ability to leverage the StorONE platform and over time consolidate other storage use cases into it, further reducing the total cost of storage ownership.
10. Where can someone find more information about StorONE in general and S1:Backup in particular?
https://www.storone.com, https://www.storone.com/backup, https://www.storone.com/ransomwares-three-attacks-on-backup-and-how-to-neutralize-them/
11. Where do you see StorONE in the coming 5-years
StorONE is experiencing rapid growth, enjoying its best year so far. Our customers will continue to optimize their investment in the StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform in the next five years to consolidate all of their various storage workloads. The return on this investment will dramatically reduce storage acquisition and operating costs while greatly simplifying the storage infrastructure.
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