Powerful Data Protection with Half-Height LTO-9 Drives


Quantum is announcing the availability of LTO Ultrium format generation 9 half-height drives in its Scalar i3 tape libraries, Standalone Drives, and Superloader 3. This announcement is preceded by the recent ransom block feature announced last month that enhances security in the Scalar Tape Library.

Combining security with the high capacity of LTO-9 technology, customers can now have the latest in security innovation and advanced tape solutions to protect data and cope with the massive growth of unstructured data. Quantum Scalar Tape Libraries create a new and higher standard for addressing customers’ capacity and security needs allowing them to future-proof their archives.

The new LTO-9 delivers 18 TB of native capacity per cartridge and up to 45 TB with a typical compression of 2.5:1 – This is an increase of about 33% compared to LTO-8, and 7x more capacity over LTO-6 extending the value of tape with its low-cost, highly efficient storage. Half-height LTO-9 drives boast a transfer rate of up to 400 MB per second.

With cyberattacks on an upward trend, escalating and evolving with stealthy tactics, organizations need an effective method of defending data against ransomware . Tape is beneficial in many ways, but one of its primary benefits is its offline “air gap” inherent nature to isolate and protect data. This helps meet the security requirements of highly regulated industries where an offline copy is crucial to recover from should online copies be compromised. The costs that can be incurred if a ransomware attack is successful can be astronomical and compared to the cost of a half-height tape drive or tape library, it makes sense to add this form of insurance to your security arsenal to mitigate risk.

Quantum is taking orders for LTO-9 half-height drive technology available on Scalar i3, Standalone Drives, and Superloader 3. Please visit the Scalar i3 or LTO-9 webpage to learn more.

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Ransomware Proof Your Data: New Ransom Block and Logical Tape Blocking Features


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In recent alarming news, we’ve learned that U.S. Federal agencies issued a joint cybersecurity advisory over the ‘BlackMatter’ ransomware group targeting critical infrastructure entities, including two U.S. food and agriculture sector organizations. What’s even more alarming is that many organizations are still not prepared to defend their most valuable asset – their data. For those who don’t know, ‘BlackMatter’ seems to have evolved from ‘DarkSide,’ a ransomware gang that shuttered operations after the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.  

A Multi-Layer Strategy 

The U.S. Government, in the wake of the Colonial and Solar Winds cyberattack, issued an executive order to bolster up U.S cybersecurity defenses to withstand such threats. There is a clear sense of urgency that a multi-layered strategy must be implemented and not just in the government, but this will go deep into the private sector as well. A multi-layered strategy in data protection is a topic I’ve been pushing for quite some time now – definite technologies (cloud, disk, tape) are needed to lay out multi-defenses to combat and defend data against ransomware.  

Introducing Scalar Ransom Block 

For the reasons mentioned above, Quantum has hardened its Scalar Tape Library  and introduced Scalar Ransom Block , an industry-first solution that creates a physical block between data tapes and the robotic tape system. It is a feature that employs a simple and unique concept to create a physical barrier between the data stored on tapes and the network robotic tape system. This feature ensures data stored on tape is completely offline and secure and provides an ultimate level of data security for cyber-resilient archives, after all the endgame is to be cyber resilient.  


Logical Tape Blocking 

In addition, we also introduced Logical Tape Blocking (middle image), a software-based solution that enables administrators to use software commands to prevent tapes from being loaded or unloaded. This allows the risk window to be reduced from when the magazine waits to be filled to when it can be ejected. Both features are part of Quantum’s comprehensive Scalar Security Framework making Scalar Tape systems one of the most secure tape storage systems available in the market. The combination of employing Scalar Ransom Block and Logical Tape blocking as a deterrence to ransomware along with front-end defenses in your network, where software meets hardware and big data meets intelligence, make for a good strategy in creating a cyber-resilient infrastructure. 

Solutions like these bring a high-value proposition and bonus: Data is kept offline and managed automatically, yet available with a ‘push and a click’ versus long-term data that is kept 100% on always connected spinning disks, costing hundreds of thousands more or the hassle of handling tapes introducing human negligence. Quantum has a secure and reliable solution to help you keep your data secure and available when you need it – Quantum Ransom Block is only available in Scalar Tape Libraries.  

Make sure you check out the press release  to learn more about our recent announcement and stop by our new Scalar Tape Libraries  page where you will find in-depth information related to Scalar Ransom Block, Logical Tape Blocking, and our Scalar Security Framework. 

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Why the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Event Highlights the Need to Review Your Own Data Security


Ransomware is back in the headlines again with the Colonial Pipeline reporting that malware was discovered on its computer systems. The result of that discovery has caused a disruption in the gas supply system in the East Coast of the United States and will likely cause a spiraling effect on related businesses and the general public. This attack – and others like it – was perpetrated by hackers who infiltrate an organization’s IT infrastructure and hold its data hostage until a ransom is paid. The fallout of this sort of attack is incredible, and in this instance, the country’s critical gas supply has been compromised. As a result, the impact to our country’s critical resources will likely impact the cost of fuel for everyone. According to the BBC , Colonial has a pipeline that carries 2.5 million barrels a day, that is about 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, petrol and jet fuel. Colonial was forced to shut down operations in order to protect itself from the spread of the malware, reportedly perpetrated by the DarkSide hacking group, which has been linked to similar attacks. 

This event should come as no surprise; many cyber experts have been watching DarkSide and their ‘modus operandi’.  Cybersecurity professionals have been sounding the alarm on nation-state and financially motivated attacks for well over a decade. The question is: as these attacks continue, is your business prepared? 

As I write this blog, there is no “tried and true” way to stop hackers from exfiltrating data once they’ve managed to gain access to a network. If the network has been infiltrated, your only defense is having several ‘security check points’ or ‘roadblocks’ to slow the attack and give you time to shut down systems, which is how Colonial Pipeline responded. However, stopping the spread ultimately did not mitigate damage. DarkSide locked Colonial out of their systems, made their data inaccessible, and demanded ransom, costing the company lost revenue, loss of public trust, and lost time. In the end, the ransomware gang responsible for the attack stole nearly 100 gigabytes of business-critical data and threatened to leak it onto the internet. The key is to truly secure your data and remove the risk of infiltration altogether. 

Though in the case of Colonial Pipeline, we don’t know exactly how the hackers were able to break into the network, there are some steps you can take to prevent a breach – or at least to reduce the probability of a major shut down and the exfiltration of data: 

  1. Ensure Access to Data Won’t Be Compromised if a Hack Occurs 
  • Look at your backup strategy holistically across your entire environment. 
  • Ensure you can recover; test, test, test your recovery method. 
  • As soon as data fulfills its value in fast disk, tier it off to a cold data solution. 
  • Think differently: Consider a multi-layer approach to protect and recover backups. 
  1. Prevent A Hack Before it Happens 
  • Understand your risk profile; Minimum damage if there are tight controls.
  • What are your entry and exit points? 
  • Reduce the attack footprint/surface. 
  • Harden your systems (shut down the ‘nice’ to haves). 
  • Disable services like RDP (gateways, ports). 
  1. Review Your Cyber-Hygiene 
  • Regular scan for vulnerabilities. 
  • Remediate findings. 
  • Understand the threat landscape and what you might be vulnerable to. 

As you can see, it is important to choose the right security solutions to help secure a modern network infrastructure. If you don’t master your tools, someone else will master theirs. A modern technology solution should provide data “immutability” to protect and recover your assets in the case of a breach and secure your data with a multi-layer technology approach.  

Check out an ebook  to see some of the resources Quantum has prepared to address the concerns around ransomware, including how to create a proactive ransomware strategy with steps on how to secure your data with a multi-layer technology approach.  

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Multi-Tiered Data Recovery Prepares Healthcare Organizations Against Ransomware


I can’t remember the last time I saw sporadic cyber-attacks on health organizations; seems like a very long time ago. Lately they’ve been relentless and merciless on the most vulnerable – health institutions. According to French government, since the beginning of the year, they’ve seen a health facility fall victim to a cyber-attack on a weekly basis. “The hospitals at Dax and Villefranche-sur-Saône were paralyzed by attacks in which hackers blocked the telephone systems, forcing the hospitals to shut off the internet service and other networks to keep the ransomware from spreading. This affected patient records, surgical devices, medication management, appointments, bed and doctor allocation,” reported Healthcare IT News, an authoritative source covering technology in healthcare. The French Government is finally cracking down on e-crime, responding with a one-billion-euro investment in a national cybersecurity strategy.

This story resonates all over the world, including the United States. As we see, the unwavering attacks continue to rise leaving many institutions crippled, unable to provide services that truly skirt a life-or-death scenario. With the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, this development presented new yet urgent challenges for the medical community.  

At Quantum, we are working hard to protect our cyber climate, and want to empower the healthcare industry with the knowledge and tools to protect and recover from ransomware and other malware. E-security methods will evolve, but today we need to employ technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), to provide the advanced security analytics needed to stay ahead of the criminals, and of course, mitigating risk takes multiple technologies. Not one single solution can achieve the protection needed for the assault healthcare organizations are experiencing.

Protect Network and Backup Infrastructure

While networks and production data must be protected, so does your backup infrastructure. Recent analysis of criminal tactics indicate that attackers are targeting critical systems but with a focus on backup first. Why? If they can disable your ability to recover, they’ve won the battle. With the ability to recover gone, what can you do? Institutions end up paying ransom, but this doesn’t solve the problem.

Solutions to Recover Data Across Any Point in the Data Lifecycle

Tools like the ability to isolate your backups via immutable storage or leveraging a physical airgap to create a barrier that protects and enables fast recovery are indispensable. As the data protection experts, Quantum has created solutions that can protect and recover your data across any point in your data’s lifecycle. We did this to help you maintain a cost-effective, multi-tiering solution that also provides you the ability to use just about any application you prefer. Let’s take a closer look:

A blended mix of technology that secures and isolates backups in different tiers, all kept in either a non-network addressable location or in an immutable state that simply unreachable by an intruder. Your institutional needs vary and so does your data. So, depending on performance, retention, scale, and risk level needs, we have a solution that focuses on each tier.

  • In the first tier where performance matters, data is backed up to shares where the DXi Backup Appliance system (per your schedule) takes snapshots that cannot be deleted or encrypted making backups (snapshots) immutable, which means backups can be managed to meet SLAs required RTOs and RPOs. This solution supports NAS, OST, VTL protocols.
  • In the large unstructured nearline storage tier, where medical imaging can be stored, retained, and made readily available, we support keyless encryption of data at rest to prevent access via unauthorized applications. The Object Lock feature in ActiveScale makes objects immutable; once set, immutability can’t be modified even by an administrator, making data safe from ransomware attacks. The system may be partitioned into buckets and different protection policies may be applied to align with the security requirements. This a simple and easy to use and architecture that is designed to scale seamlessly at an exabyte level for on-prem hybrid cloud data storage.
  • In a long-term retention tier, there is the simple, yet very effective physical barrier created by Scalar Tape Libraries that secure your data in an “active” vault in the library so that data is isolated, secured and readily available when you need it. This long-term storage tier that is highly recommended by CISA, FBI, and NCSK UK is the most cost-effective method to protect and recover from ransomware.

To learn more about how Quantum solutions can help you achieve solid ransomware protection and recovery, please contact a Quantum authorized reseller or reach out to us at www.quantum.com to help you connect with someone who can help you.

Source: Emmanuel Macron pledges €1bn for cybersecuri t y after hospital ransomware attacks | Healthcare IT News

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This Week at the Q


Welcome to another entry of ‘This Week at the Q’ and our top 5 highlights. It’s been a busy week continuing the product announcements from our expanded portfolio!

1. Continuing on the news from last week’s launch of our new expanded portfolio – covered here in Blocks & Files – this week we announced more details around our next-gen StorNext® 7 high-performance file system and ActiveScaleTM object storage advancements.

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2. This new byline by Matt Dewey on “Managing Complex Object Stores” just published in Disaster Recovery Journal. Object stores have found a home in the cloud and in data centers, becoming the repository for long-lived and high-value data. Read more here to learn about use cases for object storage, its advantages in key markets, as well as some of the challenges it can present and what to consider.


3. We enjoyed connecting with the high-performance computing community this week at the virtual SC20 event. If we missed you, you can still check out this video interview we did with InsideHPC, “At Virtual SC20: Quantum Corp. Takes on High Performance Storage of Unstructured Data.”


4. Check out this new blog post, “Cyber Insurance Market is Evolving Due to Ransomware Demands.” You can learn how the cyber security insurance market is evolving amidst an increase in ransomware demands and payments. Insurance companies are starting to move the risk over to subscribers, requiring stricter controls. Read more here.

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5. One of the reasons I love working at Quantum is the culture and the people I get to work with every day, and it is most definitely an honor to work with Liz King! Get to know Quantum’s CRO a little more in this new Authority Magazine article, ”Women of the C-Suite: Liz King of Quantum.”

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Leave a comment if there are topics you’d like to see added to our weekly top 5 happenings!


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Thinking of Paying Ransomware Hackers? You May Face Sanctions.


If ransomware wasn’t already causing IT professionals loss of sleep at night, a new advisory recently issued, just might. The U.S. Dept of Treasury has issued an advisory that focuses on the sanction risks associated with the ransomware payments related to malicious cyber activities. This means that not only do IT professionals need to ensure their network is secure, but if their organization solely relies on cyber insurance to get back to business quickly, they’ll need to be sure their company and their insurer or financial institution negotiating on their behalf are not funding terrorists organizations. The question is, how do companies and negotiators know who they’re dealing with? They don’t really know. Companies and their negotiators are still at risk of being held responsible regardless if the parties knew or had reason to know.

Making payments emboldens cyber criminals and perpetuates this vicious cycle of attacks and payments. Did you know there is a ransomware-as-a-service (RAS) offering and a help desk somewhere in the dark web? When your company pays the ransom, it is  funding these malicious operations. To protect your network, you pay top dollars to equip your data center with the latest in data protection. Next, you insure with the best cyber insurance policies available. All of this is good, but relying on cyber insurance to get back to business after a cyber event has become a national security issue. Enterprise organizations, whether private sector or government, need to step up their business continuity plans or they may risk violating OFAC regulations according to the U.S. Treasury Department. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (I’ve  blogged about this before), organizations need to turn the page on this chapter. Start by:

  1. Being pro-active in your data protection strategy – protecting your network comes in layers.
  2. Securing with an offline “air-gapped” copy (supplemental insurance).
  3. Organizations need to “unlearn” relying on cyber insurance to get back to business quickly.

Implementing point one and two from above will largely reduce your chances of having to pay ransomware, because you will be prepared with time-tested strategies that will help you get back to business quickly. For example, a solid backup strategy will include keeping a copy of your data disk (hot data), tape (offline) and offsite like the cloud (offsite). Put very simply, follow the backup rule of 3-2-1-1 , which means: 3 copies of your data, 2 different media types, one offsite, and one offline. The third point is behavioral, and it starts at the top by re-setting policies to get back online.

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The volume of ransom payments will continue to increase rapidly unless victim behavior changes. All reports point to more aggressive cyber spying and targeted attacks with insidious methods that bypass behavioral algorithms used by cyber software companies. If criminals have the funds, they will find a way to penetrate your network and disable your online backups. Quantum has designed a solution to protect organizations against ransomware that enables faster recovery. This offers a true air-gapped ransomware protection with an offline, in-library vault for onsite backups. The benefits are:

  • Archive, on-site, long-term vaulting, replaces external shelf storage
  • Backup, short-term vault prior to sending offsite
  • Removes the need of manual handling tapes
  • Recover from an off-line copy in minutes when your online copy is compromised

Let’s remember, a virus cannot bypass a physical barrier formed between your data and the network. It is and will continue to be the most cost-effective form of ransomware protection. As you evaluate ransomware data protection strategies, think about the losses associated with a successful attack to your organization: revenue, clients, reputation, and more. Increase your awareness. You could possibly be sponsoring foreign cyber-terrorism. A small investment can reap a great return.

Article cited: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/ofac_ransomware_advisory_10012020_1.pdf )

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