IBM’s latest storage announcement introduces IBM FlashSystem Cyber Vault, designed to help businesses prevent, identify and recover from ransomware and cyber attacks. In addition, new FlashSystem and FlashCore module hardware, based on IBM Spectrum Virtualize solutions, will increase performance and capacity, speeding application and data delivery, as well as recovery times following a cyber attack. As ransomware and cyber attacks become more sophisticated, the targets of those attacks are becoming increasingly vulnerable. The prolonged COVID pandemic has dramatically increased the number of remote workers who are, in most cases, less secure than their in-office co-workers. Beyond that, many businesses are adopting a work from home model as a permanent practice. As technology becomes more complex and data and application sharing more commonplace, the risk of an attack accelerates. INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock noted in late 2020 that “Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at an alarming pace, exploiting the fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable social and economic situation created by COVID-19.” While researching ransomware attacks, this resource came to our attention (https://bit.ly/3L9DvnY), a blog published in July 2021 by Varonis, a leader in data security and analytics. They report several trends related to ransomware that are noteworthy: • Rise in IT Outsourcing services as ransomware targets (one platform, many clients) • Attention is shifting to more vulnerable industries: healthcare, education, government • Ransomware is evolving so focus has shifted to prevention and rapid recovery • Spread to mobile devices • Emergence of RaaS (Ransomware -as-a-service) IBM is addressing these trends with a refresh of storage solutions that aim to improve data resiliency, enhance data and application delivery (to authorized users) and help businesses recover from cyberattacks more quickly. IBM February 2022 storage announcements – A closer look IBM FlashSystem Cyber Vault IBM FlashSystem Cyber Vault is focused on all phases of cyberattack recovery and is designed to reduce recovery time. The solution actively monitors data in real-time and using validated restore points in an automated way, businesses can more quickly recover a clean copy of data, reducing recovery time from days to hours. This solution complements IBM’s other attack protection solutions: • IBM Cyber-resilience assessment tool – identifies possible points of attack by looking at the attack surface and providing suggestions on how to reduce exposure. • IBM Safeguarded Copy – attack defense virtual airgap mechanism that creates point-in-time copies of data that cannot be changed by error or ransomware attacks. • IBM QRadar and Guardium – attack prevention detecting threats using real-time monitoring and analytics. IBM FlashSystem Cyber Vault automatically scans copies created by Safeguarded Copy to look for corrupted data in order to identify a cyberattack after it has started and/or to isolate copies of data unaffected by the attack, speeding data recovery in the event of an attack. This means that businesses can be up and running more quickly, with minimal impact to company reputation and the bottom line. IBM FlashSystem Using a single architecture with a consistent management platform, IBM FlashSystems provide a hybrid cloud self-service storage platform from edge to core. This scalable performance and capacity can serve a range of critical workloads across the business. • IBM FlashSystem 9500 offers a major refresh of the IBM FlashSystem 9500 with two times greater performance, capacity and connectivity with up to 50% more cache (3TB) and supports a maximum of 4.5PB effective capacity per control enclosure. • IBM FlashSystem 7300 provides a 25% performance improvement over the 7200 controller. • IBM FlashCore Module third generation technology high capacity and increased throughput with onboard ARM processor. • IBM's Spectrum Virtualize and Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud provide a common environment and operations with cloud-like consumption models from the data center to the public cloud. Used with IBM San Volume Controller, over 500 IBM and non-IBM systems can be managed transparently. • IBM Storage Expert Care offers Basic, Advanced or Premium level support on the IBM FlashSystem 7300 or 9500 at time of sale. Summary observations IBM first introduced Cyber Vault as a means to protect mainframe data. The company has now expanded this offering, making Cyber Vault a key part of its storage offerings. One of the first lessons a sales rep learns in technology sales is to focus on selling a solution. Storage hardware in and of itself is just a volume, speed and cost discussion. Add an integrated layer of protection against ransomware and integrate it tightly with underlying hardware and it’s a whole new ball game. It’s a “solution” that addresses a key corporate need to protect data. And now, it’s not only for the mainframe world – it’s across the board.