The rapid increase in ransomware attacks, as well as the need to comply with data privacy legislation like POPIA, are prompting South African enterprises to revisit their security posture and increase their focus on resilience.

This is according to Adolph Strydom, Technical Sales Specialist at Axiz, who says data protection and ransomware are key concerns, with investments in data backup and recovery solutions increasing as a result.

“When it comes to cyber crime, South Africa is now among the most targeted countries in the world. And the incidence of ransomware attacks is growing fast – in fact, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2031, there will be a new attack every two seconds,” Strydom says. “As a result, many companies are revisiting their security posture and identifying gaps in their security.”

He notes: “Most companies have come to realise that a reactive approach to security isn’t beneficial to business. They need to be proactive, with multiple layers of security, and focus on secure and reliable backups for ransomware resilience.”

Strydom says most companies are trying to get the basics in place, including multi-factor authentication, reviewing account privileges and access, and ensuring that patches are up to date to protect against all known vulnerabilities.

“All layers of security are important, but the most crucial is reliable backups – if your systems and data are not reliable and are compromised, you’re dead in the water when ransomware hits,” he says.

“There are cases where backup data is compromised in the attack. If the enterprise doesn’t realise this, they may back up compromised data and miss it for weeks. You also hear horror stories where companies pay the ransom but still can’t access their data,” he says.

Veritas NetBackup 10, the latest version of the leading solution widely in use among South African enterprises, makes secure and reliable backup even easier, Strydom says.

“Veritas NetBackup protects 100 exabytes of customer data worldwide, for leading global enterprises including 87% of the Fortune 500 companies, and 100% of Veritas customers hit by ransomware attacks have been able to recover,” he notes.

Only NetBackup provides the flexibility to adopt any cloud, any workload and any architecture – at any scale. NetBackup 10 adds the industry’s broadest support for Kubernetes cloud-native environments with support for vSphere Tanzu, OpenShift and Google GKE, and includes new features that provide multiple, flexible recovery point objectives (RPOs) for VMware workloads

Says Strydom: “This is fully integrated native protection for Kubernetes. You can now use native Kubernetes constructs and APIs to recover what you want where you want. Rollback persistent volumes, restore the entire namespace or recover individual resources within the namespace.”

Another important feature is enhanced cloud operational simplicity. Strydom says NetBackup now automates cloud protection policies and the scaling of cloud resources required for efficient cloud-native data management. “Cloud operations are simplified even more through cloud intelligent policies with tags for AWS, Azure, Azure Stack and GCP, and customers can easily create groups and subscribe to RPO/RTO protection policies applied across cloud environments,” he says.

“In my opinion, one of the most important features is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to alert you to potential anomalies,” he says.

Veritas NetBackup 10 anomaly detection processes NetBackup job metadata patterns and informs the administrator of possible outliers in the data, providing actionable intelligence to address ransomware events or just changes in the environment. “For example, if a backup normally takes three hours and now it takes six hours, something may be wrong. Or if a dataset size changes dramatically, the system will alert you to investigate these anomalies,” Strydom explains.

Malware detection has also been included in NetBackup 10. Now you can do both on-demand and automated malware scans on your data. And at the time of restore, NetBackup 10 will ensure that you are fully aware of possible malware infected data and only restore clean data.

“NetBackup v10 also extends support for immutable cloud storage offerings from AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage and Seagate Lyve Cloud. But that is not all. Support for immutable storage like Cloudian Object Storage with Object Lock and Hitachi’s Content platform is now also added in the latest release of NetBackup.

In terms of security, NetBackup 10 now encrypts all the data channels as well. (The Control channels have been encrypted since version 8.1.) This means that all channels for your backup data, your catalogue info and even your duplication and replication activity are fully encrypted. And what about all the old data that has been backed up without encryption? The latest version of NetBackup introduces the Encryption Crawler, then can scan your storage and secure this older data with encryption.

“With NetBackup, customers have the peace of mind that any workload is protected, at any scale, no matter where it is.”