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Index Engines' CyberSense SDK expands its third-party reach

CyberSense can more easily integrate with third-party backup and storage platforms with its new API-based developer's kit, giving customers a powerful ransomware detection tool.

Index Engines hopes to get CyberSense tingling on third-party platforms with the release of an API-based software developer's kit for the ransomware detection product this week.

CyberSense uses analytics and machine learning to scan indexed data and identify signs of ransomware attacks. With the new APIs, third-party software can make CyberSense start indexing jobs, send alerts when signs of data corruption are detected and provide detailed reports of potentially compromised files, along with last known good versions of files and databases.

Backup software rightfully focuses on taking good backups and making sure the backup copies are recoverable, as those are critical for businesses to bounce back after a ransomware attack. CyberSense's file scanning and monitoring capabilities play a role in restoration by helping to identify recoverable, clean backup copies from which to recover.

"Backup has become the go-to for recovering from ransomware," said Jim McGann, vice president of marketing and business development at Index Engines. "However, backup just grabs and makes a copy. You need analytics to see if the copy is good."

Additionally, the software can potentially detect ransomware before it detonates, and it can provide forensics post-detonation to identify the type of ransomware and prevent a similar attack in the future.

Screenshot of CyberSense
CyberSense scans files and databases for potential signs of ransomware.

The CyberSense software scans for corruption but is not itself a complete data protection product, as it doesn't orchestrate backups and recovery. It is integrated with Dell EMC's PowerProtect Cyber Recovery product and IBM Resiliency Services. Commvault and Veritas also sell CyberSense.

The APIs will allow MSPs, global systems integrators, cloud service providers and other third parties to more easily integrate CyberSense onto their platforms, McGann said. This will mean backup and storage products other than the vendors Index Engines already has partnerships with can provide CyberSense's data scanning and ransomware detection capabilities.

Immutability is good, but it's not good enough. You're just putting bad food in the fridge.
Jim McGannVice president of marketing and business development, Index Engines

The result is better, more complete data protection products, according to McGann. Many backup products don't have a way to track changes in files to detect ransomware or know enough about the data to reliably identify which backup copy to use for recovery. Instead, backup vendors focus on checking file integrity only at the point it is backed up and making the copies unalterable, which are insufficient defenses against the sophisticated cyber attacks of today, McGann said.

"Immutability is good, but it's not good enough. You're just putting bad food in the fridge," he said.

Index Engines is an indexing platform for managing unstructured data across primary and secondary storage. Its search and reporting functions enable use cases outside of IT, such as legal and security. CyberSense is just one aspect of the Index Engines platform, but according to McGann, 90% of the company's business during 2020 revolved around the CyberSense product. More people working from home due to COVID-19 surfaced new vulnerabilities that have led to more ransomware attacks, he said.

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget, said CyberSense is unique in that it cracks open the data and examines it rather than just reviewing metadata like some ransomware detection engines. CyberSense's full content analysis allows customers to identify what exactly the threat was and perform forensics, which can help stop the next attack, Bertrand said.

From a business strategy standpoint, Index Engines is making a play to expand CyberSense's market presence with the software developer's kit. "It's an ecosystem door-opener," Bertrand said.

While an unsurprising business move on Index Engines' part, Bertrand said customers will benefit in the end because data protection is bolstered by products like CyberSense. Data protection is moving toward data intelligence, and businesses are looking for ways to turn their backup data into something more useful than an insurance policy. A powerful indexing engine certainly helps derive value from that data, Bertrand said.

"You can't do much unless you know what you have," Bertrand said.

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