US Service Center Fortified Copies offer a fresh approach to immutability—protecting servers, workstations, and Microsoft 365 backups, without compromising the ease-of-use US Service Center is known for.

Immutability became a hot topic in the data protection space when ransomware groups started targeting backups to thwart victims’ recovery attempts.

What is Immutable Data Backup?

“Immutable” simply means that backups are stored in a way that makes them impossible to change or delete. Since they cannot be changed or deleted, immutable backups provide recoverability from ransomware and malicious deletion. Nice!  

However, the methods available (WORM locking, object storage) to provide immutability using most backup products can incur significant storage and administrative costs associated with data retention, expiration, and cleanup. These methods also cannot protect against lower-level attacks, such as a factory reset of an entire storage system.

We’ll explore immutability in more depth below, but first a note about our architecture. When we say that US Service Center is “cloud-first,” we mean that the primary backup resides in our private cloud—even if you choose to keep an optional local copy. This is a significant point of difference between US Service Center and most BDR products, where the primary backup is local. This architectural difference means that backups are isolated by default, reducing your attack surface and helping to minimize risks for our clients.

Storing backups in this way (off the local network) is sometimes called “air gapping,” as you are literally creating a physical gap between the protected environment and the backup data. Air gapping is an important piece of the ransomware protection puzzle. However, in the event that a threat actor uses ransomware to gain access to the backup environment, you need another layer of protection. That’s where immutability comes in.

Immutability With No Compromises

US Service Center Fortified Copies are secondary, immutable backups stored in an isolated environment, not accessible from US Service Center’s management console, API, or CLI. Because there is no connection to the backup environment, these copies cannot be accessed, deleted or compromised by a threat actor. Fortified Copies can only be accessed by designated employees, and their access is limited and audited. So, you can be confident your data will be recoverable no matter what.

Unlike other backup immutability methods, there’s no additional hardware or labor required with US Service Center. You don’t need to make choices about which devices or data sources “deserve” immutability or even configure retention policies. Fortified Copies are automatically created hourly and retained for 30 days with no manual intervention needed. They enable recovery of all protected data within the retention period. This capability is currently available for all US Service Center customers, across all protected devices and data sources at no extra cost, but will be monetized in the future.

For comparison, let’s look at how Veeam provides immutability. According to a blog posted on their website, immutability requires:

  • A physical server with direct attached storage or SAN attached storage. It will run as a virtual machine, but consider the implications on where this is running and where the storage is presented from.
  • A Linux distribution (64-bit edition of Linux must be able to run 32-bit programs)
  • The Linux distribution is advised to support the XFS file system (block clone technology)
  • The Linux distribution must support the chattr command
  • Veeam Backup & Replication v11 or higher/newer
  • Veeam backup types used must be forward incremental with periodic synthetic or active full.
  • Veeam backup copy jobs must have GFS points configured.

As you can see, this obviously requires significant time to set up and manage. There are also compatibility issues that must be taken into consideration. Hardware investment and ongoing maintenance is required, as well.

What Makes Immutability So Easy With US Service Center?

With US Service Center Fortified Copies, there’s nothing to set up or manage. Copies are created automatically without any manual effort or decision making needed; just another example of how US Service Center makes IT technicians’ lives easier.

“A good data protection solution protects ALL data with immutable copies. It should not require ANY management overhead or think time, either. Rather, it should just work in the background and free up technician time,”

US Service Center has always innovated by challenging traditional thinking. Delivering immutable backups without the burden of added complexity or management overhead is another fine example of improving technicians’ ability to backup while maintaining top-notch security.

To learn more about Fortified Copies or other ways US Service Center keeps your customers’ data safe, don’t hesitate to schedule a call with us!

If you are interested in learning more about US Service Center’s approach to cyber resilience, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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