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HYCU Protege updates focus on ransomware recovery

HYCU sharpens its emphasis on WORM storage with more support and 'cloud dedupe.' The ransomware-focused product updates follow the recent release of a ransomware assessment tool.

A ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds, said HYCU CEO Simon Taylor, citing research from Cybersecurity Ventures.

With that statistic as a backdrop, Tuesday's updates to the HYCU Protégé multi-cloud data protection software focus on ransomware protection and recovery.

"There's a clear need for companies like HYCU that believe that we have a moral imperative to stop the scourge of ransomware attacks and to help customers to recover faster," Taylor said. "This [release] is a direct response to the threats we're seeing in the marketplace and wanting to make sure that we protect our customers."

The HYCU Protégé enhancements include additional write-once, read-many (WORM) support, simplified security credential management through a third party and streamlined migration to Azure's government cloud.

"Everything's being driven by ransomware," said Subbiah Sundaram, vice president of products at HYCU.

HYCU seeks to tackle 'not if, when' issue

There's a major focus in the ransomware protection market on prevention and detection, Taylor said. While HYCU offers those two capabilities, it emphasized fast recovery with this release.

It's not a matter of if somebody's going to get through the gates, it's when they do. We felt there was a real need out there to educate the marketplace.
Simon TaylorCEO, HYCU

"It's not a matter of if somebody's going to get through the gates, it's when they do," Taylor said. "We felt there was a real need out there to educate the marketplace."

Ransomware "resiliency," which includes the ability to prevent and detect attacks as well as data protection and recovery, is the most comprehensive strategy for enterprises, said Krista Macomber, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group. Table stakes for ransomware protection and recovery include access control, air gapping, immutability and WORM storage and encryption, as well as fast and granular recovery.

"HYCU's service checks off a number of important protection and recovery capabilities," including the new WORM support and third-party credential stores, Macomber said.

HYCU Protégé now supports direct backups and archives to WORM-enabled object storage on Azure Blob and Google Cloud Storage, both customer requests. Previously, the data protection software could back up to Amazon S3 WORM-enabled object storage.

Cost can become a challenge with WORM storage. The data is locked and users can't delete it, so the storage bill can balloon over time, Sundaram said.

As an answer, HYCU offers what it calls "cloud dedupe," which includes benefits of deduplication and incremental forever backup, rearchitected for public cloud, according to Taylor.

Simon Taylor, CEO, HYCUSimon Taylor

"[We think it's] the next generation of deduplication, the next generation of how you minimize storage in the backup context for public cloud," Taylor said.

In an effort to streamline the cooperative work of backup and security teams, HYCU Protégé customers can now centralize, simplify and secure their application and system credentials in CyberArk Conjur, an external credential store.

"The customer can centrally manage all the data, all the permissions, and they can decide when to add, when to delete, when to take the permissions off a person," Sundaram said. "So it's extremely clear who owns it."

For government customers, HYCU provides a single-click migration from on-premises workloads to Azure Gov Cloud.

A lot of government customers are now mandated to justify why they need to store data on premises, Sundaram said, thus increasing the need for quick migration to the cloud.

HYCU also added data protection for Dell EMC PowerScale OneFS in its support of native Isilon REST APIs for incremental backups.

"One of the beauties of the Isilon system is a customer can start small and gradually grow," Sundaram said. "What HYCU does is to complement that. You can start small. As your Isilon clusters grow, you can grow your HYCU infrastructure."

HYCU's ability to automatically detect unsecured targets and test backups for recoverability are also important, according to Macomber.

"Minimizing vulnerabilities in the environment is crucial because hackers are always looking for them, and the ability to prove recoverability is becoming a requirement today both internally and for compliance purposes," Macomber said.

Ransomware protection trends, what's next from HYCU

HYCU, which is based in Boston and claims about 3,100 customers, launched R-Score, a ransomware assessment service, about six months ago. In that time, about 35,000 people have taken the assessment, according to Taylor.

"R-Score effectively is like a credit score that assesses your organization's ability to recover from a ransomware attack," Taylor said.

Customers need to know what they can do to improve their processes and technology, and make sure they have the right pieces in place, such as multi-factor authentication and WORM storage.

"Disaster recovery is good," Sundaram said. "But ransomware recovery is different than the classic disaster recovery."

Evaluator Group conducted an in-depth evaluation of R-Score. In the final review, R-Score showed it has the "rigor and measures to accurately portray readiness to recover," wrote Randy Kerns, senior strategist and an analyst at Evaluator Group.

R-Score is part of an expanding ransomware protection market, growing up alongside the emergence of ransomware as a service and a continuous slate of attacks on businesses.

"It's become a very noisy, crowded and difficult buying cycle," Taylor said. "One of the goals HYCU has is to cut through that."

HYCU will next seek to reduce what Taylor calls the biggest problem in ransomware protection today: data silo sprawl.

"Five, 10 years ago, you had data in four or five different locations or sources," Taylor said. "Today the average midmarket company has data in over 130 different sources."

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