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New Retrospect Backup storage, ransomware services aid SMBs

A new cloud storage soon available for Retrospect Backup customers through a partnership with Wasabi headlines the feature list in its latest software release.

The latest update for Retrospect Backup adds a cloud storage-as-a-service subscription option and new ransomware protection features targeted at SMBs.

Retrospect Backup 19 offers cloud STaaS with Retrospect Cloud Storage, a new subscription service offering S3-compatible object storage through a partnership with Wasabi.

With this latest update, the backup vendor enhances its security software features for smaller SMB budgets with additions like OS compliance monitoring, anomaly detection and backup comparison tools, alongside some of the native protection features of Wasabi cloud storage, according to Retrospect executives.

Although more expensive enterprise-grade protection and backup software might offer more advanced versions of these tools with AI and machine learning enhancements, SMBs and their supporting managed service providers (MSPs) can make use of these tools over the simple backups that most use, according to Vinny Choinski, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget.

"SMBs that get hit by ransomware often don't have as much IT staff," he said. "We've always seen shortage of IT skills even in the enterprise. [Adding] these capabilities is essential."

Small business, big threats

Retrospect Backup 19's new anomaly detection tools look for changes or flag issues by looking at log file changes, and alert the administrator in the case of excessive changes occurring in a short period of time.

In every situation where there's a really big change rate, there's a chance ransomware is happening. If there's one thing you want to be watching out for, it's change rate.
Johnny YuResearch manager, IDC

The anomaly detection capability is useful for picking up some ransomware attacks, which make numerous changes to a file before depositing the ransomware payload, said Johnny Yu, research manager at IDC.

"In every situation where there's a really big change rate, there's a chance ransomware is happening," Yu said. "If there's one thing you want to be watching out for, it's change rate."

The new OS compliance monitoring feature enables the Retrospect console to view the operating system information of all devices connected to the software, giving administrators the ability to see if and when updates are needed across their entire environment.

Retrospect also updated Virtual 2022, its virtual environment backup software with support for Microsoft Hyper-V 2022. The new Virtual 2022 update includes data deduplication capabilities, faster backup speed and continued support for VMware environments, according to Retrospect executives.

The new Retrospect Cloud Storage service can simplify backup for SMBs and MSPs by enabling them to create a storage silo separate from their typical backups or files, Choinski said. Wasabi storage offers native protection tools, such as object lock, alongside its inherent S3 compatibility and international data center footprint.

"Wasabi is a pretty neat play," Choinski said. "They support immutable object [storage], S3 object locking. They've increased their [data center] coverage area, and they've picked up all the S3 stuff."

The Retrospect Cloud Storage service is sold as reserved capacity subscriptions with 500 GB of storage costing $12 per month and 1 TB costing $20 per month. A 30-day trial subscription is available. The service will be available in Wasabi's U.S. data centers starting in July, with international data center availability in August.

Retrospect Backup 19 and Retrospect Virtual 2022 will be generally available on July 12, including the cloud storage service.

Retrospect Backup users can continue to bring their own S3-compatible cloud object storage should they choose. The new Retrospect Backup software is also bundled with Nexsan's EZ-NAS device. Both Retrospect and Nexsan are owned by StorCentric.

Backup to the future

Retrospect executives said their next backup targets will include SaaS applications for business, such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Dropbox. SMBs already face a lack of protection due to limited staff and technical knowledge, making data within these services a potentially easy target for hackers if users rely only on the native copy and backup features.

"The SaaS application market is underprotected, and it makes sense to go after them," Yu said. "Ideally, [Retrospect] doesn't need to roll out a separate product for it."

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

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