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June 27, 2018

The Need for Air-Gapped Backups

One should never underestimate the importance of backing up your data.

Although there appears to be no impact to day-to-day transactional systems when backups are missing or incomplete, this critical operational function often lives on the periphery of your IT production environment. However the consequences of a misaligned backup strategy could suddenly be catastrophic for your business.

Backing up your data is not a task, but a continuous process.

First and foremost, you need to ensure you are backing up all your data which means constantly monitoring your environment to establish all data, no matter where it is stored, forms part of your backup scope. Furthermore, you also need to confirm your backup recovery and restore points align to your business objectives and most importantly that you can restore your data when you need to.

Backups are not infallible

Even though backups exist to form the failsafe policy of your overall IT strategy, they are not infallible. Like other IT systems they need management, maintenance and protection. The ability to successfully restore your backups is crucial as they are the last line of defence against a data loss incident. You need to put measures in place to ensure you can confidently and successfully restore your data when the need arises.

Because backups form part of your larger IT environment they are connected in some way to your IT production infrastructure. Backups need connectivity to your network to execute successfully. However, if we take a hard look at the security of this architecture, the connectivity backups need is a vulnerability which could be exploited, resulting in your backed-up data being compromised.

If your backups are accessible remotely, they are vulnerable to several threats from both external and internal sources. Hackers or even disgruntled former employees could gain access to your data and compromise its integrity or destroy it. Ransomware which can spread via the network is also a real risk, especially when backup infrastructure is directly connected and accessible via your production infrastructure.

Air-Gapping protects your backups by storing them offline

To truly protect your data, you need to have a solution in place where backups are secured by being offline but still accessible when you need them, and air-gapped backups provide this solution.

But what are air-gapped backups exactly and how can they help protect your data? To answer this question, we first need to define an air-gap.

An air-gap isolates one device from another to protect it, essentially severing any connectivity which may exist between the two devices. An air-gapped backup is therefore a backup which is stored on a device which is isolated and protected.

Air-gapped backups are not a new technology. In fact, backup tapes, which for many years were the industry standard backup storage medium, can be defined as an air-gapped backup solution as your data is stored on a storage device which is isolated and not directly accessible.

Cloud-based backups have transformed the data protection solution industry by providing organisations with the ability to backup their data offsite with relative ease and at an affordable price point. However, even though cloud backup solutions tick many security boxes, they are still remotely accessible and as such vulnerable.

A solution is therefore needed which allows you to take advantage of the security and business benefits cloud backups have to offer while giving you the ability to protect your data with some form of air-gap solution.

Honeycomb VTL – Air-Gapped backups in the cloud

Honeycomb Virtual Tape Library (VTL) from Probax is a long-term storage solution which can provide the air-gap you need for your cloud backups. It provides a virtual tape library which is directly attached to your primary cloud storage which means there is no extra data to transfer.

While Honeycomb VTL is directly connected it provides the air-gap you need to fully protect your backups. Each time your cloud backups are copied to Honeycomb VTL, the data is stored in an isolated container which is not directly accessible or connected to your primary cloud storage, effectively providing you an air-gapped backup solution in the cloud.

With Probax Honeycomb VTL you can enjoy the benefits cloud-based backups have to offer while ensuring your data is totally protected with a true air-gapped data protection solution.

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