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Cobalt Iron Awarded Patent on Automated Network Traffic Shaping for Data Protection Operations

By July 27, 2021 Press Release

LAWRENCE, Kan. — July 27, 2021 — Cobalt Iron Inc., a leading provider of SaaS-based enterprise data protection, today announced that it has received a patent on its technology for automated network traffic shaping for data protection operations. Issued on July 13, U.S. Patent 11063907 describes new capabilities for Cobalt Iron Compass®, an enterprise SaaS backup platform, that enable dynamic adjustments to networks and storage networks in response to cyberthreats and other high-security alert conditions.

This technology qualified for a patent because, unlike similar technologies, it uses analytics and user-defined policies to shape network and storage throughput levels dynamically to restrict security exposures and to optimize available resources during times of possible security exposures.

Today’s backup, data, security, and other IT professionals who are responsible for maintaining network or storage security and performance have a constantly changing need to respond to ever more sophisticated cyberattacks. However, amidst these changes, IT infrastructure and operations remain relatively static, leading to suboptimized resources and security vulnerabilities, particularly in the area of networks and storage networks. These resources are typically pre-allocated and are not adjusted in response to changes in the environment, such as ransomware attacks. This patent fills a need for a more advanced means of monitoring and optimizing these resources.

The techniques disclosed in this patent, which are being implemented in the Cobalt Iron Compass SaaS platform, will:

  • Monitor for changes in various security alert conditions.
  • Increase, decrease, or turn off network or storage throughput levels for backup, restore, replication, or other data protection operations.
  • Monitor behaviors of data protection operations and increase or decrease network throughput levels based on operational behavior.
  • Determine these dynamic adjustments based on policies specified for security, data custody, data or application service levels, or special network traffic shaping.
For example, in the event of a ransomware attack, Compass could employ the above techniques to make the following adjustments (among many others):
  • Decrease or turn off network and storage throughput for backup operations to avoid backing up infected data.
  • Increase network and storage throughput levels for restore operations to speed up data recovery.
  • Increase network and storage throughput levels for replication operations to facilitate creating off-site copies of previous backups (e.g., to a clean room).

“IT infrastructure, such as IP and storage networking, is typically statically configured and unresponsive to constantly changing conditions in the environment. High-security alert conditions in particular suggest the need for infrastructure that is more responsive,” said Greg Tevis, vice president of strategy at Cobalt Iron. “With this patent, Cobalt Iron continues to innovate around analytics-based optimizations of IT infrastructures. This patent discloses techniques to shape network and storage traffic levels dynamically when security alerts arise, which minimizes security vulnerabilities while expediting required IT operations.”

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