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Actifio backup makes the grade for digital learning provider

With cyberattacks a constant threat, Actifio provides protection through a data-centric approach and an air gap. Customers can recover to a safe point in time in minutes.

"Every 40 seconds, the bad guy gets in," said Actifio CEO Ash Ashutosh, citing a statistic from endpoint security vendor Barkly about how often a company is hit with ransomware.

Actifio backup is taking a data-centric approach to evolving and increasing cybersecurity threats. It claims its data virtualization technology reduces the data surface area of attack by more than 90%. And its OnVault technology provides an air gap by creating an immutable -- or unchangeable -- backup copy on object storage, on premises or in the cloud, according to the vendor.

With a data-centric approach instead of the traditional network-based approach of securing an enterprise, "the assumption here is people are getting hit, and they will continue to get hit," Ashutosh said. In enterprises, "you have to assume everything is getting hacked."

Cengage, a digital learning provider, is using Actifio backup to protect against cyberattacks and other security issues.

Ash Ashutosh, CEO, ActifioAsh Ashutosh

And with a new product, Cengage Unlimited, rolling out this year, the Boston-based company is getting a lot of attention.

"With attention comes security challenges," said Cengage CIO Jim Chilton.

If there's an incident, "I have extreme confidence they're not going to get anything usable or digestable," thanks to Actifio backup and cybersecurity, Chilton said.

'Assume the perimeter is completely open'

As more and more companies have become digital and rely on data, "the security of that data becomes supreme," Ashutosh said. Attackers know how important data is to each company, like Cengage.

The ransomware threat also makes recovery capabilities more important. Actifio provides the ability to recover applications to a safe point-in-time version within minutes. This is crucial when attacks are getting more sophisticated. And, sometimes, a company won't know it's hit until months later.

It's gone beyond human scale and reached bot scale, Ashutosh said.

You have to assume everything is getting hacked.
Ash AshutoshCEO, Actifio

"Assume the perimeter is completely open," he said. "Focus on the core -- make sure there is immutability."

Tackling the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect May 25, is important to Cengage, as well, and Chilton is confident in Actifio's support. He said he especially likes Actifio's encryption at rest and in transit.

The company replaced a lot of Dell EMC equipment with Actifio Sky about eight months ago. Cengage is protecting 42.5 TB with Actifio but is adding in more because the company has licensing for 150 TB, Chilton said. 

Actifio, based in Waltham, Mass., claims 3,500 enterprise customers and service providers.

Chilton said Cengage went to Actifio because of his experience with the company at a previous job. Cengage needed to improve its protection, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL database backup.

"Many of these systems were not being adequately backed up," or were not on modern technology, Chilton said.

He said he would like to see Actifio backup cover all databases, including MongoDB and MySQL. He's using NetBackup for Network Data Management Protocol backups of NAS file shares that are targets for Cassandra and MongoDB backups. He also uses Dell EMC for remote site backups and some excess VMware capacity. 

Cengage is looking at cloud uses for Actifio along with remote site possibilities.

"My preference is we use Actifio in all the places we can," Chilton said.

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