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Silent Data Corruption – Here’s How to Beat It!

IT professionals are constantly attacked by outside threats trying to steal and destroy your organization’s data. But what about those serious threats that are not from external adversaries, and happen without you even knowing?

Silent data corruption is an actual, no-BS thing proven by hardcore researchers. The world-renowned CERN did a landmark study in 2007 testing 3,000 servers attached to RAID subsystems; in three weeks it found 500 instances of corrupted files in 17 percent of the RAID arrays. That’s the equivalent of one in every 1,500 files becoming corrupt.

That’s bad…even worse is how easily silent data corruption could take place right under your nose.

The glimmer of hope is any data corruption or missing files will quickly become evident to you for active files being constantly accessed and opened. But it’s a whole different ballgame with your archive files, which are opened much less frequently. It could be weeks, months, or even years until you discover one of your files is damaged…or simply gone.

Corrupted or missing files are obviously a huge problem for healthcare, financial services and governmental institutions because they’re subject to such rigorous regulatory requirements. But this problem really threatens any organization that archives high-value data. To jog your memory, that’s data you can’t recreate and consider a critical business asset over its lifecycle. So a lot of companies are affected, and odds are you’re at risk too.

So, what’s the solution? End-to-end integrity checking is the only way that silent data corruption can be detected and corrected. Simply put, any archive solution that lacks this capability cannot credibly claim to offer truly secure archiving.

Defending your Archive Against Silent Data Corruption

Conventional archive solutions can’t monitor the availability and health of every file. Manually verifying the existence and integrity of those files by opening millions, perhaps billions of them would be a nightmare. For true end-to-end integrity checking, you need a secure archive solution specifically designed to maximize data security, integrity and privacy from the moment a file is ingested into the archive. And that’s exactly what Nexsan’s Assureon™ does with its multi-pronged defenses:

  • File Integrity: A unique fingerprint is generated each time a file is saved to ensure history and contents cannot be altered. Every 90 days the integrity of every file is audited against the original fingerprint
  • Data Availability:  To ensure no files are missing or inappropriately added, each file is assigned a unique serial number. Every 90 days every file is checked to make sure they’re still in the archive
  • File Redundancy: Each file and its fingerprint are stored twice by Assureon. The second copy is stored in a separate RAID disk set within the same Assureon unit or on a remote Assureon

Silent data corruption is an unfortunate reality, and its occurrence is not a question of “if” but “when.” Crossing your fingers that it won’t eventually strike your conventional archive solutions is hardly an effective strategy. The answer is to proactively protect your archived files from the start by deploying a Nexsan Assureon secure archive solution, purpose-built to maximize your data’s integrity and security over its entire lifetime.

Want to do a deeper dive into the Assureon technology to combat silent data corruption? Get a copy of our in-depth Silent Data Corruption solution brief.