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Top 7 Questions Cyber Insurance Companies Will Ask Applicants Seeking Risk Protection from Ransomware and Top 5 Best Practices to Qualify

Reading Time: 4 minutes

June 22, 2021

By Rich Gadomski, Head of Tape Evangelism

With the recent high-profile cases of ransomware hitting the news cycle like Colonial Pipeline, JBS and others, it appears ransomware is not going away anytime soon and may just be in its infancy. Ransomware is a lucrative business model for cybercriminals with ransom demands that can reach into the millions of dollars as was the case with Colonial ($4.4 M) and JBS ($11.0). Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is making the barriers of entry extremely low, so we can expect to see more bad actors entering the business and more attacks across every industry.

The sense of urgency is ratcheting up as the C-suite is clearly focused on cybersecurity. I was speaking to one customer about deploying offsite/offline backup tapes as an air gap who said “Cybersecurity is the top focus for us in the next six weeks. We need to act fast”. In addition to shoring up cybersecurity plans, or putting key components in place, the notion of acquiring cyber insurance is cropping up and no doubt is also on the C-suite agenda.

So what is Cyber Insurance?

Cyber insurance, also referred to as cyber-liability insurance, seeks to help companies recover and mitigate the damage from cyberattacks such as ransomware, data destruction or theft, extortion demands, denial of service attacks, etc. This class of insurance has been around since the early 1990s and is rapidly evolving and growing in terms of revenue for insurance companies. One report I came across pegged the market for this type of insurance at $3.15 B in 2019 and is expected to rise to over $20 B by 2025. According to another report, about a third of all large U.S. companies carry cyber insurance.

Typical corporate insurance policies for general liability and property damage most likely don’t cover cybercrime, so cyber insurance has become a stand-alone offering specifically suited for cybercrime protection. Depending on the policy, below are just a handful of items that typically may be covered:

  • Incident response costs related to restoring systems to pre-existing conditions
  • Recovery cost of data or software that has been deleted or corrupted
  • The cost of cyber extortion including the negotiation and execution of ransom payments
  • Lost profits due to IT system downtime
  • Financial theft or fraud arising from the cyber attack
  • Physical asset damage
  • Data privacy liability

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3 Big Takeaways from the Fujifilm and IBM 580TB Tape Demonstration

Reading Time: 5 minutes

January 19, 2021

By Rich Gadomski

In mid-December 2020, Fujifilm issued a press release to announce that, together with IBM Research, they had successfully achieved a record areal density of 317 Gbpsi (billion bits per square inch) on next-generation magnetic tape coated with next-generation Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) magnetic particles. This areal density achievement would yield an amazing native storage capacity of 580TB on a standard-sized data cartridge. That’s almost 50 times more capacity than what we have now with an LTO-8 tape based on Barium Ferrite (BaFe) at 12TB native.

Shortly after the news came out, I was on a call with a member of our sales team discussing the announcement and he asked me when the 580TB cartridge would be available and if there was any pricing information available yet? He was also curious about transfer speed performance. I had to admit that those details are still TBD, so he asked me “what are the 3 big takeaways” from the release? So let’s dive into what those takeaways are.

Tape has no fundamental technology roadblocks

To understand the magnitude of tape areal density being able to reach 317 Gbpsi, we have to understand just how small that is in comparison to HDD technology. Current HDD areal density is already at or above 1,000 Gbpsi while achieving 16TB to 20TB per drive on as many as nine disk platters. This level of areal density is approaching what is known as the “superparamagnetic limitation,” where the magnetic particle is so small that it starts to flip back and forth between positive and negative charge. Not ideal for long-term data preservation.

So to address this, HDD manufacturers have employed things like helium-filled drives to allow for closer spacing between disk platters that allow for more space for more platters, and therefore more capacity.  HDD manufacturers are also increasing capacity with new techniques for recording involving heat (HAMR) or microwaves (MAMR) and other techniques. As a result HDD capacities are expected to reach up to 50TB within the next five years or so. The reason tape can potentially reach dramatically higher capacities has to do with the fact that a tape cartridge contains over 1,000 meters of half-inch-wide tape, and, therefore, has far greater surface area than a stack of even eight or nine 3.5-inch disk platters.

But let’s also look at track density in addition to areal density. Think about the diameter of a single strand of human hair which is typically 100 microns wide. If a single data track on HDD is 50 nanometers wide, you are looking at 2,000 data tracks for HDD on the equivalent width of a single strand of human hair! For tape, with a track width of approximately 1,200 nanometers, you are looking at just 84 data tracks. But this is actually a positive for tape technology because it shows that tape has a lot of headroom in both areal density and track density, and that will lead to higher capacities and help to maintain a low TCO for tape.

But let me make it clear that this is not about HDD vs. tape. We are now in the zettabyte age having shipped just over an impressive one zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) of new storage capacity into the global market in 2019 of all media types. According to IDC, that number will balloon to a staggering 7.5 ZB by 2025. We will need a lot of HDDs and a lot of tape (and flash for that matter) to store 7.5 ZB!

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LTO-8 Delivers!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Rich Gadomski

March 19, 2020

As LTO-8 drives and media are increasingly deployed and widely available, the value proposition of LTO-8 is being confirmed by customers and it’s a pretty impressive story.

In the case of a major high-performance computing (HPC) customer who had been using LTO-6 previously for their archive, the jump to LTO-8 has done wonders for their available capacity. With approximately 7,000 slots in their library, fully loaded with LTO-6 media at 2.5TB each yielded a total native storage capacity of 17.5 PB. Migrating to LTO-8 drives and eventually converting those slots to LTO-8 media at 12.0 TB gives them up to a massive 84 PBs, almost a 5X increase. That’s lots of room to scale as needed!

Performance also gets a big boost as LTO-6 drives are rated at 160 MB per second transfer rate compared to LTO-8 drives at 360 MB per second. This means fewer drives are required to meet the same performance objectives. As a result, TCO also gets a major boost as fewer drives, fewer pieces of media and no additional floor space or library frames are required to manage the same amount of data.

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When it Comes to Data Storage Spending, Knowing Your Total Cost of Ownership is Key

Reading Time: < 1 minute
Ever wonder if you are getting the best deal on your data storage? Understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) is critically important to any data storage purchase decision.
Today we introduced our new TCO Calculator, an updated version of our online tool that helps IT professionals assess and compare TCO for automated tape storage, disk-based storage, and cloud-based archive storage. The new TCO Calculator raises the maximum user storage baseline from 10PB to 100PB, integrating the IBM TS4500 enterprise library using LTO-8 drives and media for initial capacities over 10PB. Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive and bulk retrieval service is now also included in cloud storage cost comparisons.
After entering data into the TCO Calculator, users can download a customizable results report which includes an executive summary, key cost assumptions, and TCO by cost category and type (e.g., energy costs, offsite costs, service fees, labor, bandwidth, etc.).
Find out how you can start saving on your data storage costs now. Access the free TCO Calculator here.
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Taking Advantage of LTO-7 “Type M”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rich Gadomski
Vice President of Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc

Sometimes change can lead to confusion, or at least to a lot of questions. Take changes in the tax laws for example. I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say I feel sorry for tax preparers come 2019!

In the realm of tape storage, we too have had some changes to the traditional roll-out of next-generation LTO tape drives and media. But rather than focus on confusing change, let’s focus on the luxury of having options. That’s exactly what we have in the option offered with the introduction of LTO-8 drives that can use standard LTO-8, LTO-7, or… LTO-7 Type M tape cartridges.

For the first time in the history of LTO technology dating back to 2000, users can now write to the previous generation tape cartridge at a higher density than previously allowed. Specifically, LTO gen 8 drive users can choose the option to write 9.0 TB native at 300 MB per second on a new/unused LTO-7 tape that previously maxed out at 6.0 TB native on LTO-7 drives. Assuming 2.5:1 data compression, 22.5 TB can be stored on a LTO-7 Type M cartridge with transfer speeds up to 750 MB per second. That’s a lot of capacity… and really fast!

Beyond extra capacity, LTO-7 Type M is a good option economically speaking, since there is no price difference between standard LTO-7 media already in the market and LTO-7 Type M media. This means LTO-7 Type M is 33% less on a cost per TB basis than LTO-7 and 45% less than LTO-8 media at current internet reseller prices.

Taking advantage of the LTO-7 Type M option is easy. First, make sure your tape library is equipped with LTO-8 drives and is upgraded to initialize LTO-7 Type M media for 9.0 TB capacity. If necessary, contact your library vendor to confirm this detail or to enable it. For your library to distinguish standard LTO-7 from Type M, you need to use “M8” designated barcode labels as opposed to “L7” designated barcode labels. To verify, you will see the characters“M8” printed to the right of the volser number on the barcode label where you would normally see “L7”.

Finally, like a good drug commercial, there are a few disclaimers to be aware of, but in this case the side-effects don’t sound worse than the disease known as: exponential data growth coupled with shrinking budgets. So here we go:

  • LTO-7 Type M can’t be initialized in standalone LTO-8 drives, library system required. But once initialized by the library, the Type M tape can be used in a standalone LTO-8 drive (read/write)
  • Once initialized for 9.0 TB, the Type M cartridge will not be compatible with LTO-7 drives
  • Type M cartidges will not be read/write compatible with LTO-9 drives

It’s always nice to have the luxury of options especially if that means be able to handle a lot more data at a super attractive price!

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