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How Ransomware and AI Are Making Tape Backup More Viable

As ransomware gets smarter and the use of AI increases, tape-based backup offers some security and budget relief.

There are at least two driving forces that could result in tape playing a greater role in the enterprise than it does today.

Ransomware Is Getting Smarter

The first of these driving forces is the ever-evolving nature of ransomware. Ransomware has been a huge problem for businesses for quite some time. Organizations have found that by limiting user privileges they can limit the amount of damage that ransomware can inflict, but completely preventing ransomware infections has proven to be a tall order. When a user triggers a ransomware infection, the organization has historically had two options. The first, albeit unattractive, option is to pay the ransom and hope that the data will be decrypted. The other option is to restore a backup.

The problem with this is that ransomware authors have begun to realize that so long as an organization has the option of restoring a backup, they are not going to get paid. This realization has lead ransomware authors to try a new approach.

Rather than immediately encrypting an organization’s files and demanding a ransom, some of the newer ransomware variants are designed to remain dormant for months. The idea behind this approach is that most organizations retain backups only for a limited period of time. If a ransomware infection can remain dormant for several months before being activated, then the organization will be unknowingly backing up infected files during the entire dormancy period. The ransomware author is counting on the idea that by the time the ransomware activates, all of the organization’s backups will have already been infected, thereby eliminating any possibility of restoring a clean backup.

Because disk-based backup solutions have a limited capacity, some organizations have begun using tape as a supplementary tool for retaining backups for longer periods of time.

Rise of AI Means Rise in Storage Costs

The other trend that is driving a resurgence of tape is artificial intelligence. Organizations are increasingly realizing that even their most mundane data can potentially hold hidden value. As such, many organizations are making a concerted effort to keep a much wider variety of data, for much longer periods of time. Even if no business value can be found in the data today, there is always the possibility that the data will render business insight in the future, so it may be in the organization’s best interest to hold on to the data.

Although the public cloud has been hyped as the best source for storing archive data, the nose-bleed fees that some cloud providers charge for data storage, data access and data egress can make storing massive amounts of aging data in the cloud cost-prohibitive. Tape can be a very cost-effective alternative to long term cloud storage. While there are costs associated with tape-based archiving, these costs may prove to be far lower than those associated with keeping data in the cloud.

Contact your BackupWorks Accout Rep today and ask about LTO Tape at 866 801 2944


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