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Fast data recovery capability, key to protecting OT and critical infrastructure operations

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Source: Salvador Technologies

With the rise in digital transformation widening the operational technology (OT) attack surface, malicious actors are finding more entry points into key areas of industrial operations and critical infrastructure. Josh Zelonis, principal analyst at Forrester, said in an article that digital transformation has ushered in new complexities — there’s now too many devices and applications to maintain, patch and keep updated in the critical infrastructure landscape.

Salvador Technologies, an Israel-based data recovery company, recently raised $3 million in seed funding to provide what it calls the world’s fastest, full recovery from cyberattacks and computer systems failures on OT networks and critical infrastructure.

Oleg Vusiker, cofounder and CTO at Salvador Technologies, told VentureBeat that while industrial organizations and critical infrastructure operators have always focused on detecting and preventing cyberattacks, they must begin to factor adequate recovery plans into their cybersecurity architecture. Vusiker said these organizations must possess the right solutions for quick recovery, as no system is immune to cyberattacks and system failures. He said Salvador Technologies has built the first product in the market that provides full system recovery in 30 seconds.

According to Vusiker, almost every organization has at least several OT systems that are critical to the organization’s continuous operations, ​while industrial corporations and critical infrastructure operators have hundreds or even thousands of such systems. “Salvador Technologies solves a major gap of backup and recovery of those systems. Until this day, most of those systems use primitive and manual backup methods, such as external disks,” he said.

Product capabilities

“Our product has been fully patented in the United States,” said Vusiker, who further explained that the idea for the product is to provide instant recovery capabilities from ransomware attacks and software/hardware failures on OT systems.

Examples of such systems include HMI industrial machines, building management systems, healthcare equipment like MRI, CT and X-ray machines, critical servers and more, said Vusiker.

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“We are doing this by using air-gapped protected backups‘, which means the protection is hardware-based, as well as an innovative backup and recovery algorithm that is not based on the standard image backup,” he said.

While most cybersecurity solutions are focused on prevention and detection, it’s obvious that no single tool in the world can provide complete protection. Some of the modern ransomware attacks use legitimate third-party encryption tools, such as Microsoft’s Bitlocker disk encryption, which bypasses AV and XDR, according to Vusiker.

“Recent attacks, such as Kaseya and Solarwinds, used legitimate software with a malicious software update. Those events prove that ransomware is inevitable and organizations must focus on recovery tools,” he said.

Alex Yevtushenko, cofounder and CEO at Salvador Technologies, told VentureBeat that the next version of the company’s product will include an ML-based backup window.

“At any given moment, there are two fully air-gapped storage devices. This new ML-based backup window algorithm activates a third storage device only during the backup windows, which will dramatically reduce the attack surface,” he said.

Key differentiators

Yevtushenko agrees the company has huge competition from external disk and image software vendors. However, he said there are major disadvantages using their approach: long recovery times of at least 30 minutes to recover on computer and manual backup, which results in lost data, and complex recovery processes. Yevtushenko highlights that the most time-consuming task is to manually recover hundreds of machines from external hard drives.

Yevtushenko said Salvador Technologies’ solution is fully automated and requires around 30 seconds, achieving recovery with a single click.

“We provide the world’s fastest recovery capability for critical OT systems. Most of the backup and recovery vendors traditionally focus on the IT world with solutions that are not appropriate for OT networks. At the same time, most operators of OT networks still use primitive and inefficient backup methods, including external hard drives and backup tapes,” he said.

Rami Kalish, general managing partner and cofounder at Pitango Venture Capital, said despite massive investments in cybersecurity and various software protection tools against different kinds of cyberattacks, companies are still being jeopardized, compromised and attacked. 

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All the software applications in the world cannot protect you 100%, and eventually, you will be compromised, said Kalish.

“The only way to ensure business continuity is a way like what Salvador Technologies is offering: quick backup and restore, meaning you can restore your network quickly and continue operations if you ever get into a cyber mess. Salvador Technologies’ solution is very relevant to what’s happening across industrial organizations and critical infrastructure operations today,” he said.

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