- Founders: N/A
- Founded in: 2021 as a spinoff from Detron
- Employees: 50
- Money raised: N/A
- Ultimate goal: End the ransomware business-model with smart and (cost)efficient solutions
The growing risk of cyber attacks has left companies big and small seeking out new ways to protect themselves and the data of customers. With bolder attacks and big ransom amounts being demanded by hackers, solving the problem now appears non-negotiable.
Dutch data and security services company Bluetron has partnered with industry heavyweights IBM and Fujifilm to develop 100% Data Guarantee – a data security product that relies heavily on regular scanning of longitudinal company data to keep company data secure in both digital and physical formats.
Launched just this month, it’s a new venture for the Veenendaal-based company with around 50 employees. Up to this point, Bluetron’s main services were high tech ICT systems and data centres.
Bluetron’s marketing manager Carlo van Pelt and business consultant Edwin Theunisse spoke to Innovation Origins for this installment of the series start-up of the day about 100% Data Guarantee’s advantages for an increasingly hostile data environment for businesses operating online.
What is 100% Data Guarantee all about?
Carlo van Pelt (CvP): “Our product delivers a quick start-up of a company after a ransomware attack, with all its recent data. We take care of the storage of all data and make sure to scan it for the latest virus definitions. This is done during storage, when it comes in and when it is retrieved.
“If you go into a normal back-up system, they usually have a retention time of around 60-90 days because they are used to taking a snapshots of the system. However, ransomware can remain available in the system for 3-9 months. So it’s possible that some people have their backups arranged online but their backups are already infected.
“As the data comes in, we scan it, when we find nothing it goes directly into our archives. We are constantly checking if there are new virus definitions, and if there are, we bring the data from the tape to a safe environment to check that we didn’t miss anything the first time it was scanned.
What environment does 100% Data Guarantee emerge within?
CvP: “We were seeing ransomware attacks happening daily and that a lot of companies were vulnerable, despite already investing in all sorts of systems to protect themselves. Big companies are being attacked successfully by hackers – there is no doubt about it.
“They are then in deep trouble because they have to pay ransomware and might be out of business for a long time. In numerous cases where they pay ransomware, it’s not certain that they can get all the data back and that it is a format that they can immediately use.
What are the real advantages of this system?
Edwin Theunisse (ET): “One of the key things we do is that when we give back data to customers, including process data and machine data, we also let them know what to do to further protect themselves. The systems are then ready for a new set of data. We can then make the company operational again in a few days, depending on how complex it is.
“We use tapes, which can create these “air gaps” where data isn’t reachable for hackers. It’s a very green solution, especially since there is often so much talk about power slurping data centers. While people think it’s old-fashioned, tape storage is 60% more efficient as a form of digital storage. The latest linear tape-open drives (LTO) can put in 19 TB of data on one tape, the equivalent of 6000 full length movies.”
CvP: “The overall advantage is that 100% Data Guaratee scans data as it comes in and where it is stored, making sure it is tracking the latest virus definitions. This makes it really unlikely a virus will not be detected.”
How do you work with customers?
CvP: “Our first step is to make a current inventory of the data that a customer might have. The next step is that the data package then will be sent to Fujifilm, who put a copy on tape – in addition to our copy at Bluetron. As an object file, the data is then sent to Fujifilm in Germany. “They do a scan to see if they have received everything, based on what the customer wants to give. Then it is off to store a copy in their offline data center. A third copy is also then made, which is sent to a bunker somewhere in Europe – acting as a true last line of defense for companies in case of floods, fires or other disasters.
“The transport from Fujifilm premises to the bunker is also secure. It can’t even be tracked.”
ET: “After this initial process, we install a data mover on the customer side. This picks up only the new data. The systems finds something in the latest version and then automatically gets checked for the customer in earlier versions.”
How does 100% Data Guarantee stand apart from traditional backup services?
ET: “We make the difference between backup and disaster recovery. You use us for disaster recovery. For situations where you can’t have your data unless you pay €1 million to get it back. In this case, by using us you get your data back in 1-3 days.
“In some of the recent examples of ransomware attacks that are known, the backup systems were not functioning. Hackers now know that if they really want to have the money, they also need to block the backup. As long as you’re backup system has an online connection, then it remains vulnerable.
What’s the next step for your product?
ET: “Our next priority is to protect extremely sensitive information when hackers spend too long in the system. They might look for something that might be damaging for the company if it gets in the news, such as IP data.
CvP: “So we have to ask companies if it matters that they hold onto this data right now or whether it can be stored in a back area. The idea, more or less, is that the customer transfers all their files from their systems to our systems.
“From then, it takes around 5 minutes for the customer to extract their data from our system. It is a small price to pay to ensure data doesn’t end up on the street anywhere. It also works with a secured internet connection, so it can require years to hack into.”
Foto: Edwin Theunisse and colleagues. © Bluetron.