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Clumio launches air-gapped data protection service

Intended as an add-on to non-Clumio data protection, RansomProtect SaaS provides an additional bunker for data through an isolated recovery environment.

Clumio rolled out a way for customers to quickly generate a separate, isolated storage environment for a copy of their data.

Clumio Thursday launched RansomProtect, SaaS for protecting data against ransomware. RansomProtect provides a separate repository for another copy of backup data that's isolated, air-gapped and completely removed from the customer's data center. Because it uses Clumio's platform, it provides security features such as immutable storage, encryption and multifactor authentication. RansomProtect provides 30-day retention for VMware, AWS and Microsoft 365 data and allows recovery from anywhere.

RansomProtect doesn't provide anything customers can't set up themselves, but it helps them do it quickly and easily. Traditionally, customers setting up an isolated environment need to buy more hardware to create a secondary site or replicate cloud snapshots. Clumio claims RansomProtect can be set up in 15 minutes and provides an environment that is already compliant and secure, lowering customers' management burden.

Chadd Kenney, vice president and chief technologist at Clumio, said data protection has rapidly shifted from protecting against corruption and disasters to defending against bad actors. Customers are looking closely at how they are using their current data protection products, and Kenney said this was a good opportunity for Clumio to step in with RansomProtect. RansomProtect is meant to be an additional layer of defense rather than a replacement for customers' existing data protection. It serves a specific but important function as an air-gapped environment.

"Their alternative is to buy another of what they already have," Kenney said of how customers would otherwise achieve air-gapped ransomware protection.

Kenney added that since RansomProtect is a separate product from customers' existing data protection products, it is less likely to get compromised if admin credentials get stolen.

screenshot of Clumio RansomProtect
RansomProtect provides ransomware defense for data via an isolated environment with a 30-day retention policy.

RansomProtect is built on the Clumio platform and uses the same technology, but it is a separate product from Clumio's backup. Customers using Clumio Backup for AWS, VMware and Microsoft 365 already have the same capabilities found in RansomProtect. The biggest feature difference is that Clumio's normal offering allows for much longer data retention -- as high as seven years. RansomProtect also costs less than the full Clumio product. Although Kenney couldn't provide exact prices, he said RansomProtect costs around half the price of VMware's offering and can cost up to 67% less for customers trying to set up air-gapped environments themselves.

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), said although there is nothing new technology-wise with RansomProtect, the timing is good for it. ESG research found that cybersecurity will be one of the highest IT spending areas for 2021, matching up with data from Bitdefender and various other research firms showing heavy increase in ransomware attacks this year.

Although vendors such as Quantum and Datadobi offer products specifically for air-gapped environments, Bertrand couldn't think of any vendors that offer it as a cloud-based service. He said this is the key differentiator of RansomProtect. The entire package of an air-gapped, hacker-proof "parallel universe" to lock data in that has immutable backup, rapid restore and compliance built-in, and as something customers don't have to manage themselves, checks a lot of boxes for many organizations.

"There are other ways to do it, but for some customers, this is the only way they'll consider doing it," Bertrand said about RansomProtect's air-gapping capabilities.

Clumio positioning the product as an add-on and not a replacement is also a smart move, according to Bertrand. He sees it as a way for Clumio to reach customers that are either resistant to the cloud or already deeply invested in another data protection vendor. More importantly, it is taking management burden off customers' hands, which has become a compelling purchase incentive.

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