Data backup and reconstitution

Researchers are looking into ways to better isolate corrupted data and promote faster recovery

Research importance: File systems are growing by the day, as is the vulnerability of agency data stores. Backup approaches have typically focused on recovering from unintentional damage, such as inadvertently deleted files. Intrusion in the form of viruses or other cyberattacks can be difficult to detect, let alone recover from. Researchers are looking into ways to better isolate corrupted data and promote faster recovery.

Potential benefits: Large file systems can take days to recover, even after a nonmalicious event. Ongoing research may enable faster, easier recovery by making it possible to zero in on affected files rather than rebuilding entire file systems. Other projects aim to improve intrusion detection and facilitate continual recovery.

Current state of the art: Backup software today, in conjunction with security software, enables administrators to do a reasonably good job of determining the time of attack. That determination lets an organization roll back to a clean snapshot of data.

Research and development success factors: Vendors believe tighter integration of backup, security and storage management products will advance backup approaches. Researchers, meanwhile, are focusing on improving the ability to distinguish corrupt data from clean data.

Challenges: Vendors' integration schemes will hinge on links to third-party products. In addition, the task of decontaminating data is considered among the top research challenges.

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