147: GreyBeards talk ransomware protection with Jonathan Halstuch, Co-Founder and CTO, RackTop Systems

Sponsored By:

This is another in our series of sponsored podcasts with Jonathan Halstuch (@JAHGT), Co-Founder and CTO of RackTop Systems. You can hear more in Episode 145.

We asked Jonathan what was wrong with ransomware protection today. Jonathan started by mentioning that bad actors had been present, on average, 277 days in an environment before being detected. That much dwell time, means they could have easily corrupted most backups and snapshots, stolen copies of all your most of sensitive/proprietary data, and of course, encrypted all your storage.

Backup ransomware protection works ok if dwell time is a couple of days or even a week, but not multiple months or longer.. The only real solution to this level of ransomware sophistication is real time monitoring of IO, looking for illegal activity. Listen to the podcast to learn more

Often, any data corruption, when discovered, is just notification to an unsuspecting IT organization that they have been compromised and lost control over their systems. Sort of like having a thief ring the door bell to tell you they stole all your stuff after the fact.

The only real solution to data breaches and ransomware attacks with significant dwell time, that protects both your data and your reputation is something like RackTop Systems and their BrickStore SP storage system. BrickStore offers an ongoing, in real-time, active defense against ransomware that’s embedded in your data storage, that’s continuously looking for bad actors and their activities during IO activity, all day, every day. 

When BrickStor detects ransomware in progress it shuts it down, by halting any further access to that user/apllication and snapshots the data before corruption, to immutable snapshots. That way admins have a good copy of data.

In addition, RackTop BrickStor SP supplies run book like recovery procedures that tell IT how to retrieve good data from snapshots, without wasting valuable time searching for the “last good backup”, which could be months old.

I asked whether data at rest encryption could offer any help. Jonathan said data encryption can thwart only some types of attacks. But it’s not that useful for ransomware, as bad actors who infiltrate your system masquerade as valid users/admins and by doing so, gain access to decrypted data.  

RackTop Systems uses AI in its labs to create ransomware “assesors”, automated routines embedded in their storage data path, which continuously execute looking for bad actor IO patterns. It’s these assessors that provide the first line of defense against ransomware.

In addition to assessors, Racktop Systems supplies many reports which depict data access permissions, user/admin access permissions, data being accessed, etc. All of which help IT and security teams better understand how data is being used and provide the visibility needed to help support better cyber security

When ransomware is detected, RackTop BrickStor offers a number of different notification features that range from web-hooks and slack channels to email notices and just about everything in between to notify IT and security teams that a breach is occurring and where.

RackTop Systems BrickStor SP is available in many deployments. One new option, from HPE, uses their block storage to present LUNs to BrickStor SP. Jonathan mentioned that other enterprise class block storage vendors are starting to use BrickStor SP to supply secure NAS services for their customers as well.

Jonathan mentioned that RackTop attended the HIMSS conference in Chicago last week and will be attending many others throughout the year. So check them out at a conference near you if you get a chance.

Jonathan Halstuch, Co-Founder & CTO RackTop Systems

Jonathan Halstuch is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of RackTop Systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Georgia Tech as well as a master’s degree in engineering and technology management from George Washington University.

With over 20-years of experience as an engineer, technologist, and manager for the federal government he provides organizations the most efficient and secure data management solutions to accelerate operations while reducing the burden on admins, users, and executives.

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