Mind the air gap: Quantum reinforces tape defences against ransomware

LTO tape
LTO tape

Quantum has added a software lock mechanism to prevent backup tapes being accessed in its Scalar i3, i6 and i6000 libraries as a further barrier against ransomware.

Tape cartridges stored in tape libraries are placed in shelves. They are offline in the shelves, and hence air-gapped from any network access. If users need to instantiate a tape backup or restore, then the library gets sent commands, selects and moves a tape cartridge to a drive, and carries out the directed operation.

Eric Bassier of Quantum’s product marketing team said: “Tape’s inherent offline attribute makes it the most secure place to keep a copy of data, and with Quantum’s Active Vault intelligent tape software customers can now store their content in an ultra-secure offline repository without any human intervention.”

Quantum Scalar library administrators can now set policies for tapes to be placed in a so-called logical Active Vault partition. This means a logical state as the tapes are not physically moved inside the library as a result. The firm said that, normally, the backup tapes are in a Backup Application Partition, which is “backup application-connected.”

These Active Vault status tapes are now actually inactive, ironically, until returned to their normal state, in the logical Backup Application Partition, via an administrator-directed command.

Existing i3, i6 and i6000 Scalar library users can get Active Vault software upgrades.

The company is making three Ransomware Protection Packs available. These are three Scalar library configurations bundled in with the Active Vault software:

  • Small – i3 to 600TB in 3U
  • Medium – i6 to 1.2PB in 6U
  • Large – i6 to 2.4PB in 12U.

The i6000 library supports ActiveVault but there are no pre-configured systems available. A Quantum spokesperson said: “We are deploying more Scalar i6000’s than ever before – for archive and cold storage of exabyte-scale unstructured data.”