3 min

How Software-Defined Storage Drives Valuable Business Outcomes and Data Security

With ransomware threats looming, organizations are including smart storage in their security strategies.

As digital transformation efforts have accelerated in recent years, data has become more important than ever. It’s a valuable resource that can deliver powerful insights, drive better decision-making and lead to greater efficiency and productivity. The downside of this massive shift is that data has become a prime target for cybercriminals. 

Organizations that use their data to achieve valuable business outcomes face the problem of losing those benefits when data becomes unavailable. This has made ransomware the top cybersecurity concern for many organizations, and the threat is only getting more serious. A recent report from Forbes stated that 80 percent of organizations were hit by ransomware attacks in 2021. Another survey found that 84 percent of IT and security professionals consider ransomware a significant business threat. 

Defending against ransomware has become a key security challenge for organizations across industries, and it requires a multilayered approach. Software-defined storage technology is emerging as an important part of this approach.

Data That Cannot Be Altered

One of the key capabilities that advanced storage solutions enable for data protection is the creation of immutable snapshots. This has become a go-to tool because it creates a copy of data that cannot be altered by ransomware. In the event of an attack that locks an organization’s primary data storage, the organization can roll back to uncorrupted copies of its data. Immutable storage ensures that you always have a clean copy.

Organizations also deploy “write once, read many” storage to battle the effects of ransomware. WORM storage prevents data from being erased, corrupted or altered while enabling users who have authorized access to the data to read it. Coupling this security measure with multifactor authentication provides organizations with a high level of confidence that their data is safe.

Keeping Data Away from Cybercriminals

Another approach to protecting stored data is to create what security professionals call an air gap, which establishes a physical separation between cyberattackers and the data they are trying to access. If cybercriminals have no way to access data, they cannot encrypt it with ransomware, steal it or otherwise compromise its security. 

The simplest way to achieve this is to disconnect data from a network. Intelligent storage technology enables this approach by automating the storage in backup copies of data in a cloud environment that can be disconnected from network access. IT teams can also establish a virtual air gap by combining the encryption and hashing of data with role-based access controls, which can prevent data from being stolen or modified.

Weaving Security Measures into an Overall Strategy

Organizations can use software-defined storage as part of a multilayered data protection plan that incorporates immutable snapshots, WORM storage, air gaps and other security measures. Organizations that need to manage these measures can rely on SDS to automate processes and ensure that they are done correctly and according to a set schedule. 

By automating storage operations, SDS helps data centers improve workflows and processes such as scheduling, monitoring, maintenance and application delivery. It also removes the problem of human error from the equation, further improving an organization’s overall security posture.

Story by Steve Bally, a technology specialist with over 25 years of data center experience. His primary areas of expertise are computing, storage, virtualization and data management. Bally is as a data center specialist for CDW, with a focus on hybrid data center solutions. His prior presales engineering roles include Dell EMC, Commvault and Datalink. Before that, he spent 10 years at Radisys as a senior systems engineer. Bally is a Navy veteran who retired after a successful 20-year career.

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Steve Bally

CDW Expert
Steve Bally is a data center specialist for CDW with 25+ years of data center experience. He specializes in computing, storage, virtualization and data management. With prior roles at Dell EMC, Commvault, and Datalink, Bally brings extensive resales engineering expertise. Additionally, he spent a decade at Radisys as a senior systems engineer and is a retired Navy veteran.