Tape Storage – a Proactive Layer of Protection Against Ransomware

Published on Dec 17, 2019 in Quantum

This post was originally posted to the Quantum website.

As we close out another year, cyberattacks like ransomware continue to be top of mind for many organizations. We expect it to be top of mind in 2020 and beyond as organizations make investments in the latest technology. With all the energy and spend going towards new technology and cybersecurity efforts, I can’t help but wonder what continues to give these cyber adversaries the upper hand? I’d be naïve to say that profit isn’t a huge motivator because there is a straight line from development to profit. It is a well-known fact that these intrusions are expected to yield more than just profits when they cripple your systems, they seek to yield the grand prize – your company secrets, your data is the currency of choice. An article published by Tech Republic states, “Cybercriminals are searching for higher returns on their investment, and they can reap serious benefits from ransoming organizations over individuals, who might yield, at best, a few personal files that could be used for extortion or identity theft.”

A backup strategy is important to overall protection

Backups are a critical component to your overall protection strategy. Is all your critical information being backed up. Is it being stored offline? Has the backup strategy implemented been tested to ensure it works? The FBI has recommendations for ransomware preventions and responses for CEOs. It is not a surprise to see that the first answer to the question of how to protect your network was Backups.

Tape storage: Your last line of defense

We have learned that ransomware seeks and attacks known vulnerabilities in the
network, where data on servers, storage, and everything else connected to it
will most likely be compromised. For your data to be truly protected, we recommend
an offline or airgap copy in your backup strategy that works in conjunction
with your security software, hard disk drives (HDD), and cloud storage.

Because tape storage is an ‘offline’ storage technology, it provides
effective protection against ransomware and malware. Tape is your last line of
defense—simply because criminals can’t delete or encrypt what they can’t access
over the network. To fully protect your data against ransomware, prevent the
infection in the first place, and then perform regular backups, replicating
data to off-site and offline media such as tape.

Tape offers high-speed restore rates

Not only is tape storage cost-effective, but it offers high-speed restore rates, currently with LTO-8 generation it has an up to 750MBps transfer rate. That makes it ideal for both storing large volumes of data over the long term, as well as protecting your assets. Although replication technologies can provide faster restores, let’s remember they do not protect from ransomware.

Make tape part of your backup and DR strategy

Given the prevalence of ransomware attacks, you need a strategy for
defending your files against these debilitating events. We’ve seen state and
local governments, educational institutions, and private enterprises rendered
helpless in their ability to continue their day-to-day business after an attack.
Start with a proper data protection strategy.

Understanding what part of your data is critical to your operations is the
first step to ensure that a backup copy is readily available on magnetic tape. Keeping
a disconnected offline copy of your data is important to your data recovery
(DR) plan because tape storage provides the best offline option, is
inexpensive, portable—and offline.

When ransomware hits, you want to be proactive, prepared, and in the
position to stand up against ransomware threats. Let’s stop giving them the
upper hand and may this 2020 be uncompromising and ransomware-free.

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