IBM Q3 Storage Announcements: Cyber Resilience at the Forefront

IBM’s recent storage announcements extend the company’s cyber resilience portfolio in three key areas: (1) IBM Storage (IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Virtualize and IBM Spectrum Fusion), (2) IBM Spectrum Protect, and (3) workload-specific additions to IBM Spectrum Sentinel and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services. As well as addressing specific customer feedback, these new features improve data protection in the event of hardware failures, user issues and other random threats – in addition to helping prevent ransomware and targeted threats. And by automating backups and recovery, IT leaders can recover from these threats more quickly, reducing the costs associated with unplanned downtime.


Going forward, IBM Storage plans to group its storage announcements based on five strategic themes rather than product features – with each theme focusing on a specific customer need/focus area. These include:

  • Optimizing IT spend while communicating the value of IT decisions to the rest of the business
  • Safeguarding and protecting applications and data
  • Modernizing and accelerating workloads
  • Accelerating business and cloud agility
  • Sustainability and Green IT

IBM Q3 storage announcements are focused on protecting applications and data, and the stakes are high. In fact, IBM reports that the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million, and in healthcare businesses, that number rises to $10M. IBM reports that businesses experience an average of 25 or more days of downtime related to cyberattacks. Further, in the event an attack, 56% of businesses have paid a ransom to recover data access, and even after paying a ransom, these businesses recover less than 50% of their data.

To effectively address these issues, IBM’s portfolio of cyber resilience solutions mirrors the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce) Cybersecurity Framework. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework ‟helps businesses of all sizes better understand, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risk and protect their networks and data.”  IBM has a solution or solutions for each facet of the framework, rather than focusing exclusively on one or two aspects of cyber resilience.

Identify – The IBM Cyber Resilience Assessment enables IT professionals to identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s current data protection strategy and provides a roadmap of recommendations to bridge any security gaps.

Protect – IBM Safeguarded Copy (now available on IBM FlashSystem) provides back-up copies in the event of corruption or destruction of primary data and IBM Spectrum Protect provides data protection for physical file servers, applications and virtual environments.

Detect – IBM QRadar and Guardium encrypts and monitors and stores compliance and security data, while IBM’s broad range of security software analyzes and detects security threats.

Respond/Recover – IBM offers several solutions that provide rapid response and recovery through “air-gapping.” IBM Safeguarded Copy offers logical air gapping which entails a physical connection but logical isolation from the network, while IBM Spectrum Archive and Tape provides physical air-gapping. IBM Spectrum Sentinel and IBM CyberVault provide operational air-gapping, where unsecured networks have both a physical and logical separation from the production environment, further reducing the attack surface.


IBM September 2022 Announcements – A Closer Look

Cyber Resilience for IBM Storage

  • IBM Spectrum Scale – Supports Safeguarded Copy immutable snapshots – point-in-time copies of production data with policy-based control preventing the modification or deletion of sensitive point-in-time copies due to random errors and events as well as malicious ransomware attacks.
  • IBM Spectrum Virtualize – Adds synchronous policy-based replication for automating cyber resilience
  • IBM Spectrum Fusion – Improves disaster recovery capabilities with support for metro synchronous replication and support for AWS ROSA (Red Hat OpenShift on AWS) in a “Bring Your Own License” approach

Cyber Resilience for IBM Spectrum Protect

  • IBM Spectrum Protect – Enables IBM Spectrum Protect Server backup repository as a direct target for Spectrum Protect Plus workloads, eliminating the need for vSnap (initial support is for VMware only) and a common unified data repository for IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (customer requested feature)
  • IBM Spectrum Protect Plus – Protects SAP HANA databases including SLA management and instant access
  • IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management – Creates and orchestrates Safeguarded Copies enabling quick restore from immutable snapshots

Workload-specific cyber resilience

  • IBM Spectrum Sentinel – Performs ransomware anomaly analysis using machine learning to detect signs of possible corruption in immutable Safeguarded Copy snapshots and automates recovery orchestration for SAP HANA (existing support for Epic Healthcare Systems)
  • IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Salesforce – Enables clients to easily backup and restore private/public cloud-based Salesforce workloads with end-to-end granularity to recover one file or mass restore to be used for disaster recovery (existing support for Microsoft 365)

Summary observations

With this announcement, IBM improves an already broad and deep range of cyber resilience solutions by adding new capabilities, but also, more importantly, extending existing capabilities by adding new applications/workloads and tighter, more synergistic integration across the IBM storage platform. These new features/enhancements enable a proactive, data-driven approach to improve cyber resilience and speed data recovery – which ultimately drive down the costs associated with both random and targeted attacks.