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Protect your on-premises data with immutable backup: Why and How

Posted by Rowan Gill on March 15th 2023

 

 

When it comes to cyberattacks, businesses increasingly need to consider it as a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ they will be targeted. Most businesses know this and are already taking proactive and positive steps to protect their networks and defend their data with things like firewallsendpoint protection and backups. This is a crucial first line of defence against attack. But for businesses relying on on-premises methods of backup, there’s another threat to consider: the increase in ransomware attacks on backups themselves.

Those businesses that haven’t yet made the move to the cloud need to consider an immutable on-premises backup solution to ensure their data is protected and fully recoverable… in this article we explain the what, why and how can it protect your data.

What is immutable backup?

 

Immutable backup is a form of data backup that ensures any backed-up information can’t be changed, removed, rewritten or altered in any way. This means that, when primary data is lost, stolen or damaged, businesses always have an untampered duplicate of their data that they can recover quickly, ensuring minimal disruption to business.

Why is immutable backup important?

 

Cyberattacks have become increasingly sophisticated over recent years, and attackers are increasingly tenacious to the point they are now targeting business data backups. As a critical component of a business’s ability to recover in the event of a disaster, backups are valuable, and this makes them an attractive proposition for ransomware attackers. If a business is relying on backed-up data that is changeable, or mutable, cybercriminals that gain access can easily encrypt, modify or delete business-critical data – and this gives them leverage for demanding a ransom payout.

Making your on-premises backup immutable means that, even if a cyber attacker is able to gain access, they will be unable to encrypt your data and extort a ransom.

 

How does immutable backup work?

 

Immutable backups work on the WORM principle of data storage. WORM stands for ‘write once, read many’, and it means data can only be written once, but read as many times as needed. This method of storing data prevents any modifications to the data being stored – or backed up – including editing, overwriting, renaming or deleting.

These strict policies can be applied for a set period of time, depending on the needs of the business. Administrators set a retention period for the immutable volumes – this could be a period of weeks, months or even years – and the files are completely locked for that time. After the retention period is up, that backup version may be transferred to an archive, or deleted completely.

It’s important to perform backups regularly – ideally through automation – to ensure there is always an up-to-date copy, replica or snapshot of the environment stored in an immutable volume. This is the surest way to help your business restore operations quickly, and with the minimum amount of data being lost.

Why is on-premises backup particularly vulnerable?

Immutable backups work on the WORM principle of data storage. WORM stands for ‘write once, read many’, and it means data can only be written once, but read as many times as needed. This method of storing data prevents any modifications to the data being stored – or backed up – including editing, overwriting, renaming or deleting.

These strict policies can be applied for a set period of time, depending on the needs of the business. Administrators set a retention period for the immutable volumes – this could be a period of weeks, months or even years – and the files are completely locked for that time. After the retention period is up, that backup version may be transferred to an archive, or deleted completely.

It’s important to perform backups regularly – ideally through automation – to ensure there is always an up-to-date copy, replica or snapshot of the environment stored in an immutable volume. This is the surest way to help your business restore operations quickly, and with the minimum amount of data being lost.

How does immutable backup work for on-premises data storage?

An on-site immutable backup solution can sometimes meet requirements better than a cloud solution, because it speeds up recovery time and allows for recovery even if you have lost your internet connection.

On-premises immutable backups combine storage software with inline de-duplication to enable protection of data, and come as either an all-in-one physical appliance or as software deployed in virtual environments. Integrating immutable backup into on-site infrastructures is often as simple as plugging the hardware into your network, and then telling it how often you want backups to be made.

In many instances, the on-site appliance will be combined with off-site replication and storage for further backup security, ensuring businesses can restore quickly from the on-site backups and recover fully from the off-site storage once the environment has been secured.

On-premises immutable backup further allows for backups to be made from physical appliances and virtual servers, as well as off-site and cloud locations to ensure the entire environment is being stored and protected against accidents and attacks.

What are the benefits of using immutable backup?

As a way of storing a version of critical data that:

  • can’t be tampered with
  • can’t be accidentally deleted or altered
  • can’t be targeted for ransom

An immutable backup is a crucial part of a good cybersecurity strategy. But there are other business benefits that it’s worth considering too:

  • Compliance: For many businesses, regulatory requirements require sensitive information to be protected against attack, theft and encryption – exactly what an immutable backup is designed to do.
  • Meet insurance requirements: Cyber insurance providers have expanded the requirements for policyholders over recent months, and many now require businesses to have an immutable backup in place before they will provide cover. The good news is, with an immutable backup you can often benefit from lower premiums and better policy coverage too.

Defend your backup with BCN’s immutable on-premise solution

Here at BCN, we have teamed up with ExaGrid to offer a unique and scalable next-generation immutable backup solution that helps businesses recover quickly and restore fully in the event of a cyberattack or disaster. Our tiered backup storage uses a scale-out architecture to ensure all your data is protected and immutable, even as it grows, and our disk-cache Landing Zone ensures there’s no unnecessary deduplication of data, so you’re always maximising capacity.

Learn more about our immutable on-premises backup solution here, or get in touch with our team today.

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