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Cohesity beefs up ransomware and disaster recovery offer

Disaster Recovery as-a-service, Data Govern and project Fort Knox available or in development as data protection supplier augments its portfolio with ransomware firmly in mind

Data protection specialist Cohesity is to add further services to its Data Management as-a-service portfolio, with a heavy emphasis on security and in particular the threat from ransomware.

Generally available is Disaster Recovery as-a-service, which enables customers to failover to a pure cloud secondary site, although there are limitations.

In public preview is Data Govern, which uses artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning to automate discovery of sensitive data and detect anomalous access and usage patterns that could indicate a cyber attack in play.

For release “sometime next year” is Fort Knox, aimed at combating ransomware threats, and in which a tertiary copy of customer snapshots are held in the Cohesity Helios cloud on AWS to allow for an isolated copy of data that can be recovered and upon which testing can be carried out.

The additions form part of Cohesity’s Data Management as-a-service set of offerings, which represent the company’s transition towards a software- and cloud-driven strategy for its data-protection products.

In targeting the threat from ransomware, it is addressing a huge current concern, alongside storage players such as Pure Storage and Vast Data that have also brought out snapshot-based methods of data protection via isolation and immutability.

Cohesity was among the pioneers of marrying backup functionality with scale-out hardware reminiscent of hyper-converged infrastructure to provide an integrated and tested backup and secondary data environment that can be grown in grid-like fashion by adding compute and storage nodes.

Cohesity already had SiteContinuity, which allowed for disaster recovery between two existing customer datacentres.

Disaster Recovery as-a-service allows customers to failover to the Cohesity cloud. Currently, this will be for VMware environments, which will failover to AWS EC2 instances. Kubernetes support is in the pipeline.

Obviously, customers will be limited in what they can failover to the cloud, but that is to be expected and it will allow for disaster recovery for important parts of an organisation’s workloads.

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Chris Wiborg, marketing VP at Cohesity, said: “If companies have been around for four or five decades with data on mainframes, obviously it won’t suit that. But we’ve simply automated what a lot of customers were already trying to do with paper playbooks.”

Data Govern, currently in a customer preview programme, is aimed at security and governance of customer data holdings. Again, it is a software-based service that can be added to an existing Cohesity subscription.

“On the one hand, it’s about securing access to data, to make sure it isn’t leaking and about governance, knowing where the data is and proving compliance,” said Wiborg.

AI-based security identifies sensitive data via patterns (spotting social security numbers, for example) and monitoring who is accessing data and where from, also with anomalous patterns in mind.

Data Govern is framed by Cohesity as one part of its anti-ransomware offer, with its ability to track and alert customers to suspicious attempts to access data.

Fort Knox, which is not yet in public preview, allows for the storage of a tertiary copy of data, made up of snapshots, in the Cohesity Helios cloud. These are protected by isolation from any attempt by ransomware players to meddle with them, and are stored as WORM copies. Customers can also used Fort Knox as a sandbox to test restoration of data.

All this happens in the AWS cloud – AWS is a Cohesity investor and the only public cloud it works with – but with functionality added that comes from Cohesity software.

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