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Don’t let your data be bullied: Combat cyberattacks with hyperconverged infrastructure

Ransomware is so common, cyberattacks rarely make it into the news anymore unless the ransom is extremely large or it’s a high profile target. Earlier this year, several businesses in the southeastern US had the misfortune of experiencing both of those circumstances. One hard-hit city in Florida paid $600,000 in ransom to retrieve their data, plus another $1 million to replace infected computers.[1]

cyberattacks and hyperconverged.jpgAs ransomware attacks continue to be on the rise, it’s more important than ever to be prepared. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) can help your organization limit data loss and avoid paying a ransom. To get started, follow these three steps:

1.      Simplify your data protection plan

Have a clear, simple disaster recovery (DR) plan, which provides guidance in times of crisis. Your plan should include:

  • Recovery time objective (RTO): How long can you afford to wait to get systems fully up and functional again after an incident? 7 days? 8 hours? 10 minutes?  
  • Recovery point objective (RPO): For a restore point, how far back in time can you afford to go?
  • Budget: How much can you allocate for a DR solution – including hardware, software, and other resources?
  • Priorities and process: What data is the most critical to restore, and who will manage the data recovery process?

Having a simple plan at the outset helps you find the right DR solution for your business. Solutions like HPE SimpliVity RapidDR can help you create your plan.

2.      Consolidate your IT infrastructure, including datacenter and remote sites

Assess your current infrastructure, keeping in mind that any system in your IT environment can be vulnerable to an attack. Complex infrastructures, with multiple devices from a variety of IT vendors, require complex management and equally complex troubleshooting and recovery processes in case of a disaster. If it’s time for a tech refresh, consider migrating to a consolidated solution such as HCI. Consolidation provides a long list of additional benefits in a virtualized environment, beyond disaster recovery. When you eliminate many of the siloed components, your infrastructure will require less specialized training, fewer tech refresh cycles, and reduced licensing costs.

Solutions architect Jason Nord at Land O’Lakes found everything they were looking for in HPE SimpliVity. “In many ways, hyperconverged architecture creates a datacenter-in-a-box scenario. You retire rack-after-rack of servers and hard drives, rip out messes of cables, and replace all this equipment with easy-to-install-and-manage hyperconverged modules that combine storage, compute, and cloud connectivity.” HPE SimpliVity consolidates up to 10 datacenter devices plus advanced data services, integrated in a single hyperconverged node. The HPE solution even forecasts when you will need to add capacity, because it includes HPE InfoSight artificial intelligence.

3.      Test the system

When you find a DR solution that fits your business, test it. Pull a drive, unplug a node, erase a virtual machine and see how fast you can bring it back up. As Danny Yeo, systems administrator at Brigham Young University, discovered, you don’t need to wait until the system is deployed to test it. “We decided to simulate drive failures by pulling out drives. After pulling out 6 drives, the other [HCI] product failed – to the point where there was no recovery! … HPE SimpliVity, on the other hand, kept running.”

Built-in data protection – one less thing to worry about

HCI with built-in data protection means less integration work for your team, more efficient backups, and no need to be bullied by cyber criminals. Although they didn’t see the attack coming, electric company Guelph Hydro was prepared. According to systems analyst Adam Borecki, “We got hit with CryptoLocker and [HPE SimpliVity] backups really saved us. It happened at 1 p.m., but I was able to revert to the 11 a.m. backups HPE SimpliVity had stored. That meant the amount of work we had lost was only a couple of hours… We could get our users back to work quickly. For other companies, this could have been a disaster. For us, it was an inconvenience.” 

The more prepared you are up front, the quicker you can recover from any disaster. With the right DR solution, your datacenter can be up and running with little or no data loss, and no ransom paid.

To learn more about how hyperconvergence can help protect your data, download the free e-book: Gorilla Guide to Key Hyperconverged Infrastructure Use Cases.



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About the Author


I’ve been with HP/HPE for over 12 years covering data storage, software-defined storage, and now hyperconvergence and software-defined infrastructure as part of the HPE Storage team.