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Quantum Tape Storage Uses Air-Gapping to Put Data in a Vault

Ransomware Protection Packages protect backup data from ransomware attacks by placing it in an air-gapped vault.

Quantum Corp. wants you to know that tape is very much alive, and with the right features, tape storage can be an effective way to protect data from ransomware.

The Santa Jose, Calif.-based company's recently announced Ransomware Protection Packages essentially add air-gapping technology, along with military-grade encryption and write once, read many (WORM) technology, to create an offline backup copy of data that remains protected against attacks aimed at backup files and backup file formats.

Ransomware attacks focused on data protection infrastructure are increasing, notes Christophe Bertrand, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. They are insidious because they can remain inoperative and undetected until triggered by some event programmed by hackers. This can cause an infection that can spread from backup files out to other file copies or the cloud.

The best way to protect backup data is by creating an isolated offline copy of that data. That means it can't be accessed by the network, requires special authorization to access and is separated physically—or at least very logically. This creates an air-gapped copy—what Quantum calls Active Vault.

"They have created a set of systems with an internal partition that is itself air-gapped. So, you can take a copy of your critical data and put it in that air-gapped vault," Bertrand said. "If you then experience a ransomware attack and everything, including your backup server, is wiped out, you still have whatever data you decided to put in that air-gapped vault."

Instead of having to manage the tape through an offsite provider, this solution allows organizations to get air-gapping onsite. That's important, Bertrand said, because it speeds up recovery time to a more acceptable point.

"Let's say you do your operational backup to disk or the cloud. That's fine as far as it goes, but if you also create another copy on tape and vault that air-gapped copy, you are creating the ultimate insurance," he added.

With this solution, Quantum is building on its credibility in the tape world and moving past its troubles of the past few years.

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