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Calamu Protect defends data through sharding, encryption

Calamu Protect 1.2 expands data protection capabilities for its data harbor through multi-tenancy features and support for protecting Microsoft 365 data.

Thieves can't take an enterprise's so-called data crown jewels if the crown and its jewels are stored in separate vaults.

That's the logic behind startup Calamu Technologies and its Calamu Protect, a SaaS data protection product.

Calamu Protect 1.2 entered general availability Tuesday with new capabilities including support for Microsoft 365 data and multi-tenant access for MSP users. It also includes new dashboard features.

Calamu Protect provides data protection against ransomware and other forms of digital theft using erasure coding to shard object data across data centers selected by the customer. It also encrypts each shard, protecting the data fragments in case they fall into the wrong hands.

The Calamu technology is similar to IBM's Cloud Object Storage, originally made by Cleversafe, but it differentiates itself in the market due to its interoperability with clouds and on-premises hardware, according to Henry Baltazar, a research director at 451 Research.

Sharding isn't a substitute for a full security posture, and the need to juggle multiple cloud storage services could become a headache, according to Baltazar. Having an additional copy of data that's difficult for any party to fully acquire is an alluring pitch, however.

“It’s not a technology used for everything,” Baltazar said. “[But] a lot of people want to have another ‘break in case of emergency’ copy.”

Buried treasures

Calamu emerged from stealth in early 2021 and raised $16.5 million in Series A funding earlier this year with support from private equity firm Insight Partners, as well as Dell Technologies Capital.

On the front end, Calamu Protect lets customers create what it calls a data harbor, where customers can select and keep track of what data centers each fragment is stored in, be it a cloud location or on-premises S3-compatible object storage.

The SaaS currently supports on-premises object storage, as well as cloud storage from AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Wasabi.

Calamu Protect encrypts the data before fragmentation and then re-encrypts when moving to selected storage locations, requiring data thieves to not only break the encryption but also reassemble the data into a working copy. The software includes a feature Calamu calls self-healing, an automatic function that can restore and keep data usable in enterprise workloads during an attack.

Total cost is determined by the number of terabytes under the supervision of Calamu Protect, with the entry-level plan starting at 10 TB.

Technology principles behind the Calamu Protect software have existed for decades, but modern data protection software cannot rely solely on immutability and duplication, said Paul Lewis, CEO of Calamu.

"I got sick of seeing 3,000 companies selling the same 10 things," Lewis said. "We start with the premise that all of [an enterprise's] security has failed. The bad actor already has the data."

A missing piece in most data protection software is how to protect data that has already been exfiltrated, he added. Calamu Protect's data harbor enables customers to rebuild from just a few fragments, even if a given piece has already been collected by hackers.

Market fragmentation

While Calamu Protect is pitched as ransomware defense, the use of erasure encoding across multiple clouds isn't a substitute for more proactive forms of data protection, said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

Calamu Protect could serve as a secondary service to protect data against a hyperscaler's outage for multi-cloud users, according to Staimer, but it lacks features that proactively detect, alert and stop a ransomware infection compared with other vendors including Asigra, Cobalt Iron or Persistent Systems.

When you talk about ransomware, you need to see it and destroy it before it does any damage.
Marc StaimerPresident, Dragon Slayer Consulting

"Ransomware doesn't infect and detonate immediately," Staimer said. "When you talk about ransomware, you need to see it and destroy it before it does any damage."

Calamu customers should also be aware of their total cloud spend, Staimer noted, as each cloud will charge its own associated ingress and egress fees for data on top of Calamu's pricing.

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

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