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What is data immutability and can it be achieved for backups?

Redstor posted in Business continuity | 9 Mar 2023

Something that is ‘immutable’ will by definition, never change or cannot be changed.

But what exactly does immutability look like in data protection and storage?

The basic principle behind immutable storage is that any data residing there should remain completely static and pristine for its entire existence. This is done by storing it in a form that can theoretically never be tampered with, modified, or removed.

There are several reasons why organizations might demand data immutability to protect their business:

  • Regulatory compliance – to prove to a regulator or an audit team that processes are in place to protect data and ensure it cannot be tampered with or modified.
  • Mitigation against ransomware – To perform malware-free recoveries, backup data must be beyond cyber-criminals’ reach. Sophistic attackers can easily encrypt backups kept on the same system or synced to the cloud.
  • Protection from malicious insiders – to stop a disgruntled employee from deleting backups and primary data, it is important to ensure all copies are off-limits.

Immutable storage can be applied to data stored on most conventional storage media and platforms – including tape, disk and SSDs. However, local hardware can be susceptible to fire, floods and cyber-attacks when disks are online.

No method is foolproof, but it’s the cloud that’s now helping to make immutable storage an easy and flexible way to ensure data permanence.

Clear physical and logical separation between production data and backup data is vital to protect an organisation’s backups from cybersecurity threats and environmental disasters that could cause physical damage to data hosting locations.

Having an offsite backup storage location (offline/air gapped) prevents the spread of ransomware and enables the victims of any attack to take control of an incident and then begin recovering malware-free data from backups.

By complying with the 14 cloud security principles specified by the National Cyber Security Centre, Redstor helps organisations keep those crucial backups tamper-proof. Having tamper-proof copies of data is essential, but just as important is ensuring backups are unadulterated from the outset.

Redstor’s AI-powered technology isolates suspicious files for removal when backups are first performed, making it possible to later perform a malware-free recovery.

Most organisations will have anti-virus software, but Redstor’s machine-learning model acts on fast community feedback for earlier identification of malware, such as zero-day threats, providing an extra layer of protection.

With Redstor, customers can set their own data retention policy in accordance with governance requirements and in line with best practice. For instance Microsoft Office 365 data can be kept for the standard 60 days, seven years or even indefinitely.

Protecting Microsoft Office 365 data outside of Microsoft also enables organisations to fulfil cyber-insurance requirements and overcome the limitations of native Microsoft Office 365 protection such as inadequate protection for deleted user data.

By protecting your data with Redstor, you can best meet the demands of an immutable backup strategy. For more information contact Redstor.