Ransomware, Backup, and the IT Deplorables

Mike Vizard at IT Business Edge wrote a great article on our Ransomware detection feature.  There was one particular comment that caught my eye, to wit:

Backup and recovery, for as long as anyone can remember, was considered one of those mundane tasks to be left in the hands of the lowest person on the IT totem pole. Thanks to the rise of ransomware, however, data protection has quickly moved up that pole as an IT priority. The challenge now is figuring out the best way to automate a process that spells the difference between yet another ransomware crime statistic versus a well-managed IT organization capable of defending itself.

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The ”lowest person on the IT totem pole” caught my eye – at first glance it reminded me of the United States presidential campaign when one candidate said that half of another candidate’s supporters were a “basket of deplorables.”  After that, many of the candidate’s supporters began calling themselves “deplorables.”  It became a badge of honor.

I think that if you look at the history of backup, the manual nature of it was something to be deplored.  While backup has become more automated, neither recovery nor disaster recovery has kept pace.  Rotational strategies for disaster recovery are manual and thus are prone to error.  Thus while I understand and agree with Mike’s comment regarding “mundane tasks”, I can’t agree with the comment concerning the “lowest person on the IT totem pole.”  I think this is conflating the historical manual procedures with the person executing those manual tasks.

What genuinely excites me in the backup space are advances like our Ransomware detection that uses machine learning to enable more automated detection of anomalies in production and secondary data.  Beyond machine learning, I think that backup can be the foundation for new advances in antifragile systems.  And advances in technologies like copy data management are a sea change in radically higher productivity for all of IT.

I think that Mike is exactly right that these types of technologies have caused backup to move up in terms of IT priority.  And the key to this is automation.  Ransomware detection via machine intelligence is basically the automation of carefully looking for data signatures associated with Ransomware attacks.  And our recovery assurance technologies that enable complete automation and orchestration at the application level are making expensive and cumbersome DR (Disaster Recovery) manual testing a thing of the past.

So here’s to a next generation of “backup deplorables” – who are leading a revolution in IT.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

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