Startup Sees File System as Key to Security

While many cybersecurity vendors approach zero trust from the perspective of microsegmentation, shrinking the network as much as possible, one startup thinks security needs to be as close to the data as possible and is thus focused on data storage.

Maryland-based RackTop Systems boasts a Department of Defense (DoD) pedigree, giving its founders a vantage point into the challenges that high-security environments face. CEO Eric Bednash and CTO Jonathan Halstuch hail from defense, intelligence and financial backgrounds, which gave them the idea that became RackTop.

Two years after they raised $15 million in funding, they find themselves in the sweet spot of the cybersecurity market, thanks to high-profile cyber and ransomware attacks like Kaseya, Colonial Pipeline  and SolarWinds.

Secure file server stops attacks

RackTop’s approach is pretty simple: Replace a Linux or Windows file server with RackTop’s BrickStor SP secure file server, which uses behavioral technology to shut down threats as soon as unusual behavior is detected.

“The best way to protect data is to deliver it almost as a storage system, get it as close as possible to the data,” Halstuch told eSecurity Planet.

“With microsegmentation, you’re just making a smaller perimeter,” he said. “By focusing on the data, the problem becomes easier and more affordable to solve.”

That approach lets the company keep critical services running and even prevent data from being stolen, the first target in many ransomware attacks. Being so close to the storage also lets RackTop preserve an “immutable backup” so data can be rolled back quickly in event of a ransomware attack.

While others are focused on recovering from attacks, “we’re focused on stopping the attack,” Halstuch said.

Affordability and performance

RackTop’s technology is delivered as a virtual machine or appliance, and is affordable enough that even some small businesses like medical offices are among the company’s roughly 200 customers. Halstuch said the technology is comparable to or cheaper than NetApp, with the added benefit of built-in security.

BrickStor works with primary storage systems, online archives in the cloud, at the edge, or in the data center. It supports file, block and object storage, works with AWS and Azure, encrypts data at rest and in motion, and offers compliance and metadata intelligence. It integrates with SIEM and SOAR systems for log analysis. And thanks to RAM caching, compression and deduplication, it does all that with high performance and scalability, a critical feature for many customers with high data security needs. Not surprisingly, RackTop has a number of customers in sensitive areas like government, finance and healthcare.

By sitting so close to the data, Halstuch notes that “less trusted equipment can sit on top of it and you don’t have to share the keys with the cloud.”

Paul Shread
eSecurityPlanet Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including award-winning articles on endpoint security and virtual data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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