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Cobalt Iron Patents Its Proactive Technology for Automated Remediation of Cyber and Storage Events

June 2023 by Marc Jacob

Cobalt Iron Inc. announced that it has received a patent on its proactive technology for automated remediation of cyber and storage events. U.S. Patent 11636207, issued on April 25, describes new techniques that will be implemented in Cobalt Iron Compass®, an enterprise SaaS backup platform.

This patented technology is unique in that it enables automated health remediation of various failures and conditions affecting storage devices and backup operations. As a result, backup data and operations will become more resilient to storage device failures and cyber threats, thereby improving availability for storage and backup administrators and other IT professionals who are responsible for the health and security of storage and backup resources and operations.

This patent is associated with U.S. Patent 11308209, Cobalt Iron’s technology for optimization of backup infrastructure and operations for health remediation, issued in April 2022. By applying new optimization techniques, that patent enabled Compass to restore the health of backup operations automatically when they are affected by various failures and conditions. While this new patent is similar, it also incorporates health issues specific to storage devices that will automatically trigger remediation actions.

Various conditions such as failing storage devices, cyber attacks, weather, fire, and floods can have serious impacts on backup operations. Unfortunately, existing backup products do little to assess — or even detect — the impact of these conditions on a data protection environment. Analysis of the possible impacts of failures or threats between interrelated components, operations, and environmental conditions, as well as automated remediation of cyber and storage events, are virtually non-existent in the data protection industry. Moreover, there is little assistance with understanding the possible impact of such conditions on backup operations, especially when those conditions occur remotely.

Additionally, existing technologies are almost completely lacking in awareness of interdependencies between various components of a backup environment. Users are left to monitor and recognize these interdependencies manually, attempting to understand and determine how various conditions might impact their infrastructure and operations. These steps are seldom taken except in the case of failures or cyber threats when the damage is already done and it’s often too late for remediation. This reactive approach to dealing with cyber and storage events usually results in failed operations and critical situations.

To address these concerns, Cobalt Iron’s latest patent will enable such tasks as the discovery of interdependencies between various components of a backup environment (such as storage devices at multiple locations including the cloud), monitoring of failures and threat conditions, impact analysis to interrelated components, and automated health remediation actions.

Specifically, the techniques disclosed in this patent will:
• Determine the interdependencies between various hardware and software components of a backup environment.
• Monitor for conditions in local or remote storage repositories that may affect local backups. These conditions include storage device warnings or failure, indications of a cyber attack, security alert conditions, and environmental conditions such as severe weather, fire, or flood.
• Identify data that might be affected by the device’s health issues.
• Dynamically reconfigure backup operations and the backup architecture to direct backup data to a different target storage repository (remote or in a cloud) that is unaffected by the conditions.
• Automatically extend retention periods for backup data or backup media associated with data possibly affected by device health issues.
• Automatically initiate additional backup or replication operations for data possibly affected by device health issues.
• Automatically initiate data integrity checking on data possibly affected by device health issues.

For example, these techniques could detect that a backup storage device at a particular location is experiencing device failures, cyber threats, or is subject to environmental conditions. After automatically analyzing the impacts of the condition, the techniques would then take actions to remediate the situation, including reconfiguring backups to use other storage devices at additional locations (including the cloud), extending retention periods of backup data or backup media, or performing backup operations.

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