Cyberstorage, listed in Gartner’s recently released Hype Cycle for 2021 Innovation Trigger section, is a rare term, but it’s not an entirely new one. The words “cyber” and “storage” have been brought together before, most notably in Acronis’s cyber protection solution for data storage. Acronis uses the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection — safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security — to combine data protection and cybersecurity. This combination is the balance between keeping data useful and available while also securing it. This includes baked-in security software features, like anti-malware.
Racktop Systems is one of the only companies in the world that offers a cyberstorage solution, BrickStor, which provides enterprise customers secure software-defined NAS data storage solutions. It’s the proactive defense of unstructured data, particularly against ransomware. Current back-end system protection is inadequate compared to endpoint protection, which is where most enterprises focus their security efforts. And growing amounts of enterprise unstructured data is at risk for ransomware attacks, especially as ransomware-as-a-service vendors increase their large-scale efforts.
A New Approach to Storage Security
Racktop Systems’ BrickStor is a rare offering: a software-defined storage platform for on-premises, cloud, or virtual deployment. Racktop stores data about all stored files and analyzes that metadata, providing business intelligence and analytics for unstructured items.
BrickStor is a network-attached storage (NAS) solution, but it’s software-based and can be deployed anywhere. This includes SANs, Nutanix environments, hyper-converged environments, and bare-metal servers.
According to Racktop Systems CEO Eric Bednash, data storage is where valuable company assets are stored, and it’s what ransomware companies have been targeting. Put simply, cyberstorage is secured data storage.
“Cyberstorage is the next evolutionary milestone for unstructured data storage,” Bednash tells Enterprise Storage Forum. “The bad guys maliciously encrypt and steal data, and traditional NAS and object systems were not designed to protect against that threat. Reliance on passive protections and data backups are only going to deliver more disappointment and financial loss. The only way to combat today’s data security issues are with a unified smart solution that minimizes attack vectors, detects and stops attacks as they happen, and can recover quickly. Cyberstorage is that solution.”
Backup and recovery solutions aren’t sufficient to protect companies from ransomware attacks, Bednash says. Remediation and recovery are included in BrickStor, but they aren’t the first line of defense. BrickStor minimizes the attack surface and halts the attack as quickly as possible.
“When we detect a ransomware attack, we stop it in seconds,” Bednash says. BrickStor’s ransomware detection and prevention is a real-time process.
Along with its proactive security methods, Racktop also employs other protective tactics. BrickStor uses two keys and AES-256 in its encryption process; it also creates automated reports for compliance with multiple standards, including GDPR, NIST, HIPAA, and SOX.
Why is Cyberstorage Important?
Bednash points out that network cyber products do endpoint protection, but they don’t do it at the enterprise storage level. Many storage solutions also do have baked-in security features and options to integrate with security software, but Racktop is unique in its combination of security and unstructured data storage with a focus on ransomware protection.
“We have to put the security perimeter as close to the data as possible,” Bednash says.
Data storage systems hold that valuable company information, not applications or networks. Many storage solutions focus on access control and encryption features, notes Bednash. But though good preventative protocols, access controls and encryption don’t fully protect data at its root.
“I believe that cyberstorage is the next big transformative event — transformative milestone — for data storage because it has to be,” Bednash says. “Ransomware attacks not only affect business income but also directly touch people’s lives — for example, when a ransomware group is willing to attack hospitals. They affect national infrastructure, too — the Colonial Pipeline attack is just one example.”
Cyberstorage is a fantastic approach to object storage: its focus on unstructured information makes it relevant to the growing number of enterprises that store largely unstructured data. Bednash cites ransomware attacks, rogue administrators, and zero-day attacks as object storage threats; object systems are often blind to highly advanced attacks — they don’t have the appropriate threat intelligence and prevention to repel them. BrickStor protects object data both on premises and in the cloud.
BrickStor is also capable of noticing strange trends in cold data systems. Archived data is incredibly valuable to attackers, and Bednash points out what a massive risk stale data is. BrickStor identifies sudden movement in cold or archive storage systems where there may have been none for years.
Placing Security First
Security is not an afterthought in storage systems. It’s not even an “additional” or “bonus” feature — not anymore. Security is essential. Racktop understands the importance of inherently secure storage systems, and it’s ahead of the curve with BrickStor.
Minimizing attack surfaces and detecting attacks in real time are just two of the ways to protect enterprise data. And all stored data needs protection: object storage, NAS systems, hyperconverged storage, and SANs. BrickStor is a unified method of protecting various stores of data.
For enterprises taking a different approach, Racktop’s method reveals an important takeaway: attackers are coming for more and more data, and storage security must measure up.