All aspects of data protection

Issue 8 2023 Editor's Choice, Information Security, Infrastructure, AI & Data Analytics

Commvault is a data protection company that has been operating for nearly three decades. From an exclusive focus on backup solutions when it started, the company has evolved to include all aspects of data protection in its solutions. Most significantly, it protects corporate data wherever it may reside, on-premises or cloud.

Kate Mollett.

Commvault is a data protection company that has been operating for nearly three decades. From an exclusive focus on backup solutions when it started, the company has evolved to include all aspects of data protection in its solutions. Most significantly, it protects corporate data wherever it may reside, on-premises or cloud.

SMART Security Solutions spoke to Kate Mollett, Senior Director, Commvault Africa, about the company and the market it serves today. As noted, Mollett says the company moved from a backup specialist to a full data protection specialist. It assists companies in keeping their data secured no matter where it is stored: on-premises, in public or private clouds, in hybrid models, and even on the edge.

This is an essential factor in today’s data environment as most companies are involved in a ‘cloud journey’, which sees sensitive data being stored onsite and in cloud systems the company does not necessarily control. Commvault has evolved to the point where it can offer customers a single view of all their data, no matter where it is stored, and protect it with enterprise-grade solutions. A few years ago, the company launched Metallic and more recently, Commvault Cloud (see below), offering the company’s solutions as a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. Its current channel comprises ‘traditional’ distributors, integrators, and managed service providers (MSP) that offer the Metallic service.

Cyber risks

Of course, we cannot forget the ever-looming threat of cybersecurity risks to data, from hacking to steal information, to ransomware and other malicious code. Around 89% of businesses today have their data stored in various places (onsite or offsite) on services run by multiple providers. This broadens their attack surface and can make them more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Commvault has, therefore, broadened its offering to cater for complete data protection, including assisting in cybersecurity. Previously, the focus was on quickly recovering your data in an emergency, but Commvault today focuses on securing data, active defence, and recovery.

Securing data includes ensuring that backups are safe, not only in immutable backups that ransomware gangs cannot compromise, but also scanning backups regularly for anomalies that may indicate some form of infection or corruption. The company also builds active defences into the workflow of production data to quickly detect malware, raise an alert and divert it to ‘fake data’, while securing the real data assets. Mollet says the goal is to detect encryption, exfiltration or damage and spot zero-day, silent, and advanced cyberattacks within five minutes or less through its ThreatWise solution.

In a worst-case scenario where something does happen, Commvault ensures data can be recovered quickly and safely to whichever platform it was stored on (or to a temporary platform to allow the business to continue while the problem is dealt with).

The company also integrates its systems with security vendors to gain the benefits of a full SIEM (security information and event management) system that assists in the real-time visualisation of data threats. It also helps in defending corporate compliance efforts (such as PoPIA or GDPR) by stopping sensitive data from leaving the company, even, for example, when sent accidentally in an email.

A bit of AI

Naturally, using AI and machine learning (ML) is par for the course, and Mollett says these services are of great use in freeing up scarce cyber resources. Operators can focus on real threats while the AI systems root out false alarms. A recent announcement from the company announced that Commvault is integrating its cyber resilience technologies with “advanced security and data intelligence from pioneers in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cloud.”

Integrating with the new Commvault Cloud platform, these solutions will provide joint customers with more ways to rapidly detect, protect, and respond to potential threats and attacks while improving data visibility and governance. Commvault is working with partners across the security toolchain, including security information and event management (SIEM), security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR), network detection and response, vulnerability and threat detection and assessment, incident management, data governance and privacy.

According to a recent IDC study commissioned by Commvault, 61% of respondents believed that data loss within the next 12 months due to increasingly sophisticated access is ‘likely’to ‘very likely’. Given these ongoing concerns, Commvault believes collaboration is essential. It already supports integrations with CyberArk, Microsoft Sentinel, and Palo Alto Networks, and now it has expanded its Commvault Cloud partnerships to include:

• Avira (part of Gen): aims to protect the online world by providing cybersecurity products and services directly to consumers and via APIs for many of the industry’s best-known cybersecurity companies.

• Darktrace: using AI that learns in real time on the unique data of each business, Darktrace’s Cyber AI products are designed to help organisations of all sizes prevent, detect, respond to, and heal from cyber disruption.

• Databricks: combines the best data warehouses and data lakes to offer an open and unified platform for data and AI.

• Entrust: a global data security and identity solutions provider focusing on post-quantum cryptography and data encryption to secure data from current and future threats, advancing cyber resiliency.

• Netskope: a global SASE cybersecurity company, helps organisations apply zero trust principles and AI/ML innovations to protect data and defend against cyber threats.

• Trellix: the Trellix Intelligent Virtual Execution (IVX) sandbox allows organisations to safely analyse and inspect malware in an isolated environment, enabling a better understanding of zero-day threat patterns in both backup data and production networks.

Cloud for hybrid cyber resilience

Commvault has also recently announced Commvault Cloud, powered by Metallic AI, a new platform to change how IT and security teams can improve cyber resilience in an era of non-stop ransomware and malicious cyberattacks.

Commvault Cloud unifies all the company’s SaaS and software offerings on one platform, where visibility and control can be managed holistically via a single pane of glass. This new platform is purpose-built for cyber resilience, designed to enable users to predict threats faster, ensure clean recoveries, and accelerate threat response times – all at the lowest possible TCO. With Commvault Cloud’s architecture, customers can secure and recover their data across any workload, infrastructure, and from any location to any location.

The company is introducing innovations that can help customers realise the full benefits of AI and improve cyber resilience. Unlike others that use AI to generate content, Commvault is using AI in a way that can help customers take action.

With Commvault Cloud, users will have access to Arlie – short for ‘Autonomous Resilience’ – a new AI co-pilot at their beck and call 24/7 and which can respond to inquiries in plain, simple language. Behind the scenes, a lot more is taking place. Arlie will interface with generative AI models that consolidate information and reports and provide users with personalised, actionable responses. For example, users may be able to use Arlie to verify or validate a clean point of recovery for critical systems or generate requested code in seconds.

Commvault operates throughout Africa via channel partners and encourages partners to certify their technical staff through various training options available from the company. Due to the complexity of the data environment today, Commvault also works directly with customers to assist partners in delivering the optimal solution.

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