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Fool-proof data recovery: Why immutable storage should be part of your cybersecurity and business continuity strategy.

Having a reliable data backup is vital for any business, but what happens if a security breach impacts the backup itself? After all, that’s increasingly where cyber criminals are focusing their attacks… 

Immutable storage is emerging as an important component of modern data protection. It refers to storage where data cannot be deleted, corrupted, or changed in any way once written. By harnessing write-once, read-many (WORM) technology to retain data in a permanent, unchangeable state, it offers significant advantages for security and business continuity – not to mention the fact that it takes up less memory than conventional storage methods. 

By preventing data from being altered, immutable storage effectively neutralises many cyber threats. According to a Sophos report, ransomware affected 66% of businesses in 2023, but its ability to encrypt or delete files is stopped cold when trying to touch immutable data. Similarly, insider threats are thwarted, as bad actors cannot manipulate the stored business records, and data exfiltration or destruction is rendered impossible. Storing backups, logs, regulated data and other critical assets in immutable storage can also strongly augment defences against malware, unauthorised access, and malicious actions. 

The non-erasable nature of immutable storage makes it equally resilient when it comes to unintentional data loss. In fact, accidental deletion or corruption is avoided completely. Data remains intact if there are infrastructure failures, improperly executed operations, or other disruptions – thereby building an impressive layer of organisational resilience. 

Several approaches exist to incorporate immutable storage into the technology environment. Object storage is purpose-built for immutability, storing data in unchangeable objects. WORM technology prevents alteration of data on certain media types like specialised optical discs and magnetic tape cartridges. Some network attached storage and storage area network products have immutable storage capabilities built in, while emerging blockchain storage and next-gen cloud backup solutions offer additional options for immutable data retention. And if the commitment seems a little too… permanent, some storage providers allow you to set immutability for a specific time, after which you’ll be able to alter the files as you please. 

As part of a cybersecurity strategy, key use cases for immutable storage include: 

  • Storing regular backups of core databases, transaction systems, file shares and other business critical information. This protects against malware, insider threats and ransomware. 
  • Archiving logs from systems, security tools, and applications to ensure records are trustworthy and unmodifiable. 
  • Retaining regulated data like financial transactions and medical imaging in compliance with legal requirements. 
  • Protecting intellectual property, contracts, sensitive correspondence and other PID documents from alternation or destruction. 

For business continuity planning, immutable storage preserves critical records and data required to resume operations in case of disruptions. Use cases include: 

  • Storing regular cloud backups of on-premises infrastructure and data, including server images, databases, and file shares. This facilitates recovery from outages or disasters. 
  • Archiving data from internet of things sensors, industrial control systems, and edge devices that supply needed analytics. This data survives any localised failures. 
  • Retaining design files, product information, procurement data and supply chain records to enable manufacturing processes to be restarted. 
  • Protecting employee, customer, scientific and other digital records needed for business reconstitution. 

By incorporating immutable storage into cybersecurity and business continuity programs, organisations gain assurance that their foundational information assets are safeguarded from both internal and external threats. This builds digital resilience at a fundamental level, reducing risk and minimising potential business disruption.  

With cyberthreats and business interruption events becoming ever more prevalent, immutable storage is an important mechanism to protect the vital data that drives continued operations. Vendors including Arcserve and Veeam offer exceptional immutable storage solutions that eliminate many vectors for data loss or corruption, greatly strengthening overall cyber defences. Speak with a member of the IT Corporation team to discuss how immutability can strengthen your data security and continuity strategy today.