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Is Online Object Storage Really Immune to Ransomware? Achieving True Object Storage Immutability with Tape

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April 13, 2021

By Chris Kehoe, Head of Infrastructure Engineering, FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

Object storage has many benefits. Near infinite capacity combined with good metadata capabilities and low cost have propelled it beyond its initial use cases of archiving and backup. More recently, it is being deployed as an aid to compute processing at the edge, in analytics, machine learning, disaster recovery, and regulatory compliance. However, one recent paper perhaps got a little over-enthusiastic in claiming that disk-based object storage provided an adequate safeguard against the threat of ransomware.

The basic idea proposed is that ransomware protection is achieved by having multiple copies of object data protecting against that kind of intrusion. If the object store suffers ransomware incursion, the backup is there for recovery purposes. The flaw in this logic, however, is that any technology that is online cannot be considered to be immune to ransomware. Unless it is the work of an insider, any attempt at hacking must enter via online resources. Any digital file or asset that is online – whether it stored in a NAS filer, a SAN array, or on object storage – is open to attack.

Keeping multiple copies of object storage is certainly a wise strategy and does offer a certain level of protection. But if those objects are online on disk, a persistent connection exists that can be compromised. Even in cases where spin-down disk is deployed, there still remains an automated electronic connection. As soon as a data request is made, therefore, the data is online and potentially exposed to the nefarious actions of cybercriminals.

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The Active Archive Is Integral to Your Data Storage Game Plan 

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Organizations are quickly learning the value of analyzing vast amounts of previously untapped archival data. Industry studies suggest that only about 20% of all digital data is ever accessed or used again after it is stored, underscoring the archival challenge. The need to effectively store, search for and retrieve enormous volumes of archival content is fueling new advancements in archive solutions.

This Active Archive Alliance report describes the state of the archive market and the role that the active archive plays. View the full report here.

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