Aug 15 2022

Modernize Your Cyber Resilience with Today’s Tape Innovations

Quantum’s Scalar series with new Active Vault feature provides safe backup for vulnerable data.

One of the newest tools in the fight against ransomware comes from one of the oldest technologies: tape. Having a physical backup of your data, in addition to backups in the cloud or on unconnected servers, can provide an essential level of protection should hackers or malware freeze your information.

It’s part of the 3-2-1 rule of backup: keep three copies of your data, use two different forms of media and keep one copy offsite.

There are many technologies agencies can employ to ensure protection from ransomware, but with ever-evolving threats, it is more important than ever to ensure an air-gapped copy is part of the disaster recovery plan. Linear Tape-Open (LTO) media is one such technology.

Quantum provides a unique feature set within its Scalar tape library line designed to provide optimal air-gapped safe storage of data. The Scalar series provides a number of special tools to keep physical storage devices secure.

DISCOVER: How Quantum can help your organization best protect its data.

Measuring the Difference Between Physical and Digital

As much as the cloud provides the attractive benefit of an online backup, it remains vulnerable to cyberattacks. “With ransomware in particular, anything that’s connected to your network can be attacked,” says Robert Renzoni, technical sales director at Quantum. “And the attackers are becoming more sophisticated, so they can even penetrate the backup applications and get to your online backups.”

LEARN ABOUT: How artificial intelligence can reduce ransomware risks.

Renzoni says taking tape storage into that ecosystem as a protection against digital attacks works because tape doesn’t require a constant network connection.

“You can write to LTO media, and you can take that and lock it in a safe, or you can send it to Iron Mountain,” Renzoni says. “You can do pretty much anything you want with it where no bad guy can get to it, no matter how good they are.”

Agencies Need a Strategy for Protection from Ransomware

Any device connected to a server is vulnerable to an attack. It’s why an air gapped solution is critical. Having a solution that is not only proven, but also continues to innovate can make the difference between an attack that leaves users unable to work and one where they quickly get back on their feet.

Renzoni says having a backup copy on tape media that’s been preserved, protected and can be put back in a machine and brought back online quickly makes tape “a strong insurance policy.”

READ MORE: As agencies back up more data and threats grow, data backups become more vital.

This is where Active Vault comes into play. According to Renzoni, the backup application writes to the tape library and backs up like a traditional backup environment.

“Then we take that tape that’s within the tape library and move it to what we call the Active Vault,” Renzoni says. “So, it’s still contained within the tape library, but it’s in an inactive, ultrasecure offline vault or bin within the library.”

You can do pretty much anything you want with [tape storage] where no bad guy can get to it, no matter how good they are.”

Robert Renzoni Technical Sales Director, Quantum

There’s Tape, and Then There’s Tape

There are many LTO options out there, but they are usually basic, straightforward operations meant to provide a physical storage option without significant interaction with older or newer technologies.

Storage and transport also can be potential pitfalls to using tape as a solution. Tapes might be stored in an environment that degrades them over time. Renzoni has seen people store tapes in cars, and rare is the item that comes out completely unscathed from transit.

“In a typical backup scenario, you’d back up your data to tape and then you’d eject it, and you’d send it to an offsite vault, right? And that works great for recovery purposes, but during that transport period the data is at risk,” he notes.  

EXPLORE: How to ensure agency data is protected during remote work.

Active Vault features an inactive partition within the tape library that allows you to take tape media from the online partition and physically move it into a different slot within the library that is completely air gapped from the active session. 

“We wanted to come up with a way where customers could have that data stay within their data center, so that if they ever needed to restore, it’s immediately available,” Renzoni says.

“They don’t have to worry about calling a security firm for a restore, they don’t have to wait for the truck to come. It’s a more instantaneous restore capability, and it’s preserved in a way that’s air gapped and protected within the data center.”

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