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Retrospect Backup adds anomaly detection, Azure immutability

In its latest software update, Retrospect Backup updates with more precise capabilities, including cyber-attack visibility features and enhancements for Azure Blob storage.

Retrospect sounds an early alarm against potential ransomware attacks with its latest Retrospect Backup update.

Retrospect Backup 18.5, released to general availability today, adds a handful of new features to Retrospect's flagship cloud backup software.

Headlining these new capabilities is anomaly detection, a feature that warns administrators of irregular data activity and changes among backups. Other features include immutability protections for Microsoft Azure Blob storage, and support for SQL databases as well recognizing the new LTO-9 standard for tapes and tape drives.

Retrospect primarily serves SMBs as well as value-added resellers (VARs). The company's target customers are frequently underserved by enterprise-scale backup vendors such as Veeam or Carbonite, according to Chris Steffen, research director at Enterprise Management Associates.

"It's creating a solution that applies to the masses," Steffen said. "From a ransomware perspective, the Retrospect Backup solution is something companies need to be looking at a little more."

The Retrospect Backup product undergoes a full, paid refresh and update once a year, with free point updates throughout the year, said JG Heithcock, general management at Retrospect. This latest update, which brings new capabilities for Microsoft Azure, continues enhancing the vendor-neutral capabilities of Retrospect Backup, according to Heithcock.

"Most of the features are enhancements of what we've done in the past," Heithcock said.

A view of the anomaly detection feature in the Retrospect Management Console
Anomaly detection in Retrospect backup

Warning, danger administrator!

Anomaly detection, the most significant feature in the upgrade, adds new capabilities providing alerts, emails and other notifications of significant changes or activity occurring to data backups.

Administrators can create custom responses to reported anomalies via script hooks to set backup change thresholds, such as permission changes or increases to file size, and specify notification preferences.

All recorded anomalies are also tracked through the Retrospect Management Console, a web-based console showing a global map of customers' endpoints, servers and backup jobs.

Retrospect Backup continues to offer "backup grooming" capabilities, enabling administrators to keep older backups in a proprietary format at a smaller size. These older copies can maintain policy continuity among backups both as a general resiliency practice and in case of a cyber attack.

Anomaly detection builds on the capabilities of Retrospect Backup 18, according to Heithcock.

"We're going to make that a more surgical tool," he said.

Additional capabilities in Retrospect Backup 18.5

All cloud buckets created through Retrospect are now flagged as immutable by default with the update, further hardening customers against ransomware attacks.

Users of Microsoft Azure cloud storage can now set immutable retention policies for different backup sets within the same Azure Blob storage container and create new immutable object storage buckets.

Retrospect Backup supports more than 20 cloud storage services through its S3-compatible API, according to Heithcock.

For the security market, [SMBs are] a client that's genuinely underserved.
Chris SteffenResearch director, Enterprise Management Associates

Retrospect Backup is sold as a one-time licensed purchase or through channel partners, making it an attractive alternative to budget-conscious IT shoppers, according to Steffen. Those buyers are typically smaller businesses shopping for complete IT solutions through managed service providers, he said.

"For the security market, [SMBs are] genuinely underserved," he said. "It makes a lot of sense to be playing with those kinds of customers."

StorCentric acquired Retrospect in 2019. It's one of a handful of recent StorCentric purchases, which in the past few years has also includes Nexsan, Vexata, Drobo and Violin Systems, among others.

None of the acquired products, however, have become an all-in-one SaaS or are interconnected with each other in their capabilities, noted Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

"[StorCentric has] bought a lot of pieces that look like they fit together, but they haven't done a lot of integration," he said.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living in the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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