Defending the Cloud: Wasabi and Opti9 Tag Team Against Cyber Threats

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  May 24, 2023

Cloud storage offers the ability to store, access, and share vast amounts of data across various locations, making it a cornerstone of modern IT strategies.  The use of cloud storage can significantly enhance a company's efficiency, flexibility, and scalability – critical factors that can influence its overall competitiveness and success.

Cost-effectiveness is a significant benefit.  Traditional on-premises storage systems involve significant upfront costs, including the purchase of hardware, software, and the physical space to house them.  There are also ongoing costs for maintenance, upgrades, and energy consumption.  Cloud storage, on the other hand, operates on a subscription-based model that is typically more economical and allows for predictable budgeting.  It eliminates the need for large capital expenditure and reduces the demand on internal IT resources.

The cloud also provides unparalleled scalability and flexibility.  As a business grows or experiences fluctuating demand, it can easily adjust its cloud storage capacity.  This is a significant advantage over traditional storage.  Cloud storage allows for easy access to data from anywhere in the world, a key factor in today’s remote work world where team members need to share information across geographies.  This kind of operational agility can be a game-changer, enabling businesses to respond swiftly to changing market conditions and customer needs.

For many of the same reasons, businesses also rely heavily on cloud backup solutions as part of their BC/DR strategies for many of the same reasons.  While cloud backup has many advantages, it's important to note that it also presents unique challenges such as data privacy concerns, potential issues with data sovereignty and, perhaps most importantly, security.  That’s why it’s critical that businesses have effective security for their cloud storage solutions, especially considering the rate at which cyber attacks on cloud services, including backups, are increasing in both frequency and complexity.

The increased dependence on digital data and the surge in cloud adoption have, naturaly, also increased the risk to cloud backups:

  • Increasing Value of Data – Data is the new currency.  Companies' data includes sensitive information like customer information, intellectual property, financial records, strategic plans, and more.  Cyber criminals target this data for various reasons, including selling it on the dark web, using it for identity theft, or leveraging it for competitive advantage.  As more data is stored in cloud backups, these become increasingly attractive targets.
  • Ransomware Attacks – Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common, where cyber criminals encrypt a company's data, including backups, and demand a ransom to decrypt it.  If the backups are not secure, companies can be left with no choice but to pay the ransom.  The rise in ransomware attacks has made it even more critical for companies to secure their cloud backups.
  • Increased Cloud Adoption – As more companies move their operations to the cloud, there's a corresponding increase in the amount of data stored in cloud backups.  Unfortunately, not all companies fully understand the security implications of cloud storage and may not implement adequate security measures, making these backups vulnerable to attacks.
  • Sophisticated Cyber Threats – Cyber criminals are continually developing new techniques to bypass security measures and gain unauthorized access to data.  This includes targeting cloud backups, which may not always be as securely protected as the primary data.
  • Insider Threats – Not all threats come from outside the organization.  Insider threats, whether malicious or due to negligence, can also lead to data breaches.  This can include employees accidentally deleting or modifying backups, or malicious insiders intentionally tampering with or deleting backups.

The increase in attacks on cloud storage and backup services highlights the importance of implementing robust security measures for cloud storage.  This can include encryption, regularly updating and patching systems, implementing robust access controls, monitoring for suspicious activity, and ensuring that backups are "immutable" or cannot be altered or deleted.  Companies also need to educate employees about the importance of data security and how to avoid common security risks.

In a move that enhances the security capabilities of cloud storage, Opti9 has been chosen by Wasabi Technologies (News - Alert) as a Technical Alliance Partner.  This collaboration enables Wasabi clients to natively integrate comprehensive disaster recovery services and AI-powered ransomware detection into their systems, proactively safeguarding their data from potential cyber threats.

Opti9, a veteran in the field of managed hybrid cloud solutions and security services, brings over two decades of experience to the partnership.  The company has been instrumental in developing an innovative solution for Wasabi clients known as DR-Lite.  This disaster recovery tool enables companies to recover workloads already backed up to Wasabi onto the Opti9 DR infrastructure seamlessly, without necessitating any alterations to their existing setups.

The DR-Lite solution offers rapid recovery in any of Opti9’s global cloud regions.  These regions are strategically positioned adjacent to Wasabi cloud storage, ensuring low-latency and faster data restoration. 

Opti9 has also integrated Wasabi directly into its Observr platform.  Observr, working in tandem with a customer's Veeam backup and replication servers, utilizes artificial intelligence to detect suspicious activity indicative of potential cyber threats from malicious external attackers or internal sources.  The detection covers a broad spectrum, from suspicious changes to retention settings and job definitions, to data deletion and other factors.

Observr's capabilities extend to automatic air-gapping of offsite backup storage, isolating it from potential threats.  In the event of an attack, this air gap ensures that a cyber criminal cannot modify, read, or delete the stored backups.  The upcoming version of Observr will further enhance this air gap capability within Wasabi's ecosystem, providing an additional layer of security by automatically isolating a client's Wasabi environment whenever potential threats are detected.

The increasing focus on backup and replication infrastructure by cyber attackers underscores the importance of such security measures.

“Backup and replication infrastructure has recently become a focus for attackers who know that eliminating an organization’s ability to recover from a ransomware attack increases their likelihood of being paid the ransom,” explained Sagi Brody, CTO of Opti9.  “Attackers are typically present within an environment for 60 days or more before initiating an attack, allowing them to delete and circumvent protection provided by immutability alone.”

 The Observr-Wasabi solution seeks to counteract these threats by providing maximum assurance to customers about their recovery capabilities.  By continuously monitoring Veeam to ensure backup jobs, retention, encryption, and immutability settings are not tampered with, it guarantees that customers can recover their data when needed.  DR-Lite also provides an isolated compute environment that is pre-configured and pre-connected to a customer's Wasabi storage buckets, ready to initiate a failover immediately when required.

Both Observr and DR-Lite are readily available to any customers utilizing Veeam + Wasabi, and can be enabled without any changes to their Veeam or Wasabi environments.  These solutions require no software agents, special VPN, or network configurations, and they offer improved Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) for threat detection and response times.

Despite the increased targeting of cloud storage, it's important to note that cloud backups are a crucial component of a comprehensive data protection strategy.  When properly secured, they can provide an effective way to recover from a data loss incident and maintain business continuity.

The alliance between Opti9 and Wasabi Technologies recognizes both the threat to and value of cloud storage and brings a new level of security and disaster recovery capabilities and AI-powered ransomware detection services to help businesses protect their assets and data.

Edited by Erik Linask
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