Storage must form the core of an enterprise cybersecurity strategy

It’s no wonder that in PwC’s 24th Annual Global CEO Survey, leaders ranked cyberattacks second place amongst the most serious of all possible economic, social, political, business, and environmental threats. Ransomware attacks represented 12% of breaches of critical infrastructure in the last year. By James ‘JT’ Lewis, Director of Channel Sales for EMEA and APJ at Infinidat.

  • 3 weeks ago Posted in

Cyber security experts have estimated that global cybercrime costs will exceed 7.5 trillion Euros this year, according to CyberSecurity Ventures. Enterprises run on data and when it’s hacked or corrupted by cybercriminals, the disruption can topple an operation overnight, with multi-million Euro consequences.

The irony is that if the fallout from a cyberattack happened that quickly, it may be less problematic to recover from. Remedial action should be started immediately and any damage minimised. The actual problem is much more insidious because when cyber attackers target an enterprise, they usually wait for almost 6 months before taking action. This increases their ransom power and without the right data controls, the victim’s only option may be to concede to whatever financial demands are being made. In that timeframe, their primary data, the live data your business operations depend, on could have been exposed to all kinds of criminal activity.

For this reason, enterprise storage has become a main target of cybercriminals for the most damaging and hard-to-detect ransomware and malware attacks. One reason why enterprises still get trapped is because a cybersecurity strategy tends to focus on keeping criminals out in the first place, rather than accepting that attacks will most likely happen and there is an impetus for having a watertight strategy. The wolf will definitely keep knocking and will get inside your house. So, what steps can you take?

Firstly, cybersecurity’s emphasis must widen, to address three areas - detection, resilience and recovery - and plug the vulnerability gap that cybercriminals have been exploiting. Combining resilience (the ability to instil defensive security measures to repel attacks), detection (the ability to know when data is corrupted and whether a known good copy of data is free of ransomware or malware), and recovery (the ability to bounce back and recovery with a known good copy of the data) from cyberattacks, is the key to hardening storage infrastructure.

Converging cyber resilience, detection, and recovery on an integrated enterprise storage platform is an advancement over former siloed approaches that rely on disparate tools and technologies. It makes the cyber capabilities more air-tight and ensures a rapid recovery of data within minutes to thwart cybercriminals, nullifying ransom demands and minimising downtime or damage to the business.

There are some key features of enterprise storage that need to be in place to ensure cyber resilience against today’s cybercriminals, all of whom are highly skilled technology experts. These include ensuring the immutable nature of the data, recovered from a copy you can trust. Air-gapping to separate the management and data planes to protect the data. A secure

forensic environment, to analyse the data thoroughly and ensure the fastest recovery speeds possible is critical.

Immutable snapshots allow the end user to roll back the clock and recover guaranteed, uncorrupted copies of their data, before the execution of any malware or ransomware code introduced by an attacker. Immutable snapshots ensure data integrity because they prevent data copies from being altered or deleted by anyone. Even internal systems administrators are locked out of immutable snapshots manipulation. The enterprise can be confident that any disruption or damage caused by the intrusion is minimal.

Logical air gapping adds a further layer of security, by creating a safe distance between the storage management layer and the immutable snapshots. There are three types of air gapping. Local air gapping keeps the data on premises, remote air gapping makes use of a remotely hosted system and hybrid air gapping combines the two.

Fenced forensic environments help speed up the recovery process by providing a secure area to perform a post-attack forensic analysis of the immutable snapshots. The purpose here is to carefully curate data candidates and find a known good copy. The last thing an enterprise wants after an attack is to restore data infiltrated with malware or ransomware.

Once these core elements are present within your storage infrastructure, the whole restoration can progress like clockwork. It’s why our focus as an organisation is dedicated to educating IT leaders about the need for a convergent, tripartite approach. One that combining cyber resilience, detection, and recovery on a single storage platform. Reliance solely on backups and preventing attacks is no longer enough to secure storage systems.

By Ian Wood, Senior SE Director at Commvault.
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