Mar 10 2022

What Is Immutable Storage, and How Can It Help Small Businesses with Security?

A rise in ransomware has changed how SMBs approach data backups.

Security has long been a key challenge for small businesses. Many IT priorities center on daily operations or growth, and it can be difficult to direct limited resources to cybersecurity when there are other needs that seem more pressing. 

But bad actors know that small businesses are spread thin, and this makes them a bigger target. A survey from AdvisorSmith found that 42 percent of small businesses experienced a cyberattack within the past 12 months. The move to remote work has made this threat even more pernicious as smaller organizations shift their environments to the cloud to enable distributed workforces. 

These moves have created additional vulnerabilities that businesses must account for, especially as ransomware attacks continue to increase. According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, phishing attacks increased 11 percent last year, and ransomware threats increased 6 percent. 

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These attacks have an especially devastating effect on small businesses. According to research from the Ponemon Institute and IBM, the average cost of a data breach for organizations with fewer than 500 employees was nearly $3 million in 2021. For many small businesses, a hit like that is enough to shut the doors permanently within six months. 

With threats prevalent and the stakes high, small businesses are looking for new ways to protect themselves and their data. One of the solutions gaining popularity is immutable storage.

What Is Immutable Storage and What Are Its Benefits?

One of the biggest ways organizations can be impacted by a breach is downtime. If data is stolen or altered, it can take a small business valuable time to get back access to that data and bring operations back online. In some breaches, bad actors will go into an environment and alter or delete the data once they’ve reached their objective, leading to even more problems.

Immutable storage protects against this threat. It is a form of data storage that prevents the data from being modified, allowing an organization to recover its environment from a safe checkpoint. This can be customer data, operational data or production data.

There are different options for where this data can be stored. Organizations can keep it in the cloud for easy access and flexible capacity, but they can also have their immutable storage offsite and off the network. This can add an extra layer of protection, especially if the business is located somewhere that frequently faces natural disasters or other disruptions.

RELATED: Why ransomware keeps growing — and what businesses can do about it.

How Can Small Businesses Solve for Immutable Storage?

Configuring immutable storage can be a challenge for small businesses. They often lack the staff, resources or expertise to properly establish these kinds of systems. Organizations must decide what to make immutable, when to back it up, and where to store the data itself.

Working with a trusted partner can help assuage some of these concerns. A partner can help prioritize mission-critical data, develop policies that best fit the organization’s needs, and manage data storage. 

While immutable storage has significant benefits, it can be challenging to decide when to back up data. Backing up manually can be time-consuming and can potentially lead to a gap between critical data and what is stored. Using intelligent automation can bridge this gap, bringing peace of mind regarding data protection while remaining efficient.

The security landscape has changed significantly in the era of remote and hybrid work, and small businesses are feeling the effects. Taking a fresh approach to data storage can help mitigate evolving risks.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #SmallBizIT hashtag.

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