Garry Carpenter

Damage Limitation for Cyber-Attacks Achieved through Business Continuity offered by Software- Defined Storage:

Garry Carpenter, Senior Solutions Engineer, DataCore Software, discusses how running an always-on UK IT Infrastructure in the wake of Global Cyber Security concerns should not be a perilous journey.

Three months ago in a candid interview with The Guardian newspaper, Ciaran Martin, head of the Government’s National Cyber Security Centre, warned of an imminent cyber-attack on UK infrastructures. Given that the Government itself set up NCSC, (the front window for the GCHQ government surveillance agency), receipt of such a gloomy warning in itself was perhaps not surprising. What took UK organizations off guard was the surety and the timescale apportioned, with Martin detailing the expectation of a Category 1 overwhelming attack, within the next two years, detailing; “It is a matter of when, not if.”

“Cauterize damage” through Business Continuity

This blog does not attempt to examine how to prevent the seemingly imminent massive cyber- attack, nor to offer cyber-resiliency solutions for consideration, but it does point to the obvious need for UK organizations to develop additional layers of resiliency for their IT infrastructure that would allow business and processes to continue in the face of adversity.  Or, to use Martin’s words, to “cauterize the damage” through assured business continuity. The main measure of severity of a cyber-attack is actually the length of time that operations, applications and critical data are unavailable. How extensive the delays are after any attack determines how quickly normality resumes. 

Unlike these relatively new cyber threats, delivering business continuity solutions is not a new concept. Software suppliers like DataCore have been advising over 10,000 customers across 20 years to provide their organizations with a multi-layered protection backbone for continuity, availability, and recovery.  Implementation of this software layer means that operations are constantly available, protecting not just against cyber-attacks but also against equipment failures, environmental changes and inevitable human factors that contribute to downtime.

How do you implement multi layered protection that offers Zero Downtime, Zero Recovery Point Objective with Zero Touch?

On a basic level, it’s really as simple as looking in the mirror. The easiest solution is to implement physically separated, synchronously replicated, mirrored nodes driven by software to provide a level of availability that is unmatched. If one of the nodes is impacted, the other node(s) continue to provide data access to applications, ensuring uptime. An effective software-defined storage solution offers synchronous mirroring without the need for a witness to ensure proper handoffs so the failover is completely automated. All writes are mirrored to each node, before being acknowledged to the application, which entails the RPO is zero.  For full Disaster Recovery, a further geographically removed site (sometimes in another country)—or indeed into the Cloud—replicates asynchronously, for fast resumption of business.

Tracking of all changes to data is essential

Malware, viruses, and ransomware can corrupt your data or prevent you from accessing your data, so you need a mechanism to roll back before the point of the cyber-attack. DataCore’s software defined storage provides you with the ability to time-stamp every change to data, and the ability to go back to any point.  Continuous Data Protection (CDP) keeps track of all writes and changes to data for 2 weeks. So, apps and data can be restored to the immediate point before corruption in just minutes.

Next steps

Download our Business Continuity in the Face of a Disaster or Attack white paper.

Listen to our UK customer experience for Business Continuity – Read how we helped The ExCeL Conference Centre assure Business Continuity over 10 years, regardless what was thrown at them:

“DataCore has addressed our primary requirement of uninterrupted High Availability and Business Continuity for apps for over a decade and we have tested it on occasion throughout that period. In the outages, DataCore has never let us down – when one half of the mirror was powered down, the other half simply took over. DataCore seamlessly kicks in without manual intervention and starts to rebuild without affecting applications. The mirror automatically resynchronizes and paths are restored in the background.”

Let me set up a free live demo – or you can request a fully functional live trial for use back at base.

Join our Achieving Business Continuity in 3 Easy Steps online meeting on 23 May 2018, register here.

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