Close this search box.

DCIG Initiating Research into Cyber Secure Backup Targets

2023-24 DCIG TOP 5 iconDCIG last formally researched, evaluated, and published a report on deduplication backup targets in 2017 when it still produced Buyer’s Guides. Since then, the features that organizations expect backup targets to possess, and deliver, have evolved significantly.

Organizations specifically expect these solutions to offer specific cyber security features that help them protect backups and recover from ransomware. To help organizations identify the best backup targets, DCIG has initiated research into cyber secure backup targets. Once DCIG completes the research, DCIG will then produce one or more TOP 5 reports focused on this topic.


The growth in the use of disk-based backup target appliances took off in the early 2000’s. They addressed key issues that organizations struggled with at that time. Specifically, they helped organizations:

      • Ensured backups completed successfully.

      • Reduced the number of backup-related issues.

      • Shortened backup windows.

    To achieve these feats, most backup target appliances used NAS interfaces that facilitated fast and easy deployment into organizational networks. They introduced and popularized the use of deduplication to reduce the amount of backup data stored. This made these disk-based backup targets price competitive with tape that organizations largely used as this role.

    Since then, little changed on these offerings other than the industry consolidated on offerings from a few providers. These providers primarily included offerings from Dell Technologies, HPE, ExaGrid, and Quantum.


    The rise of ransomware in recent years has changed organizational expectations for the features these solutions should possess. Organizations still want disk-based backup targets to offer backup software integration, competitive price points, deduplication, and NAS interfaces.

    However, some strains of ransomware now seek out and attack these backup devices. This may make these backup targets vulnerable during attacks. Further, if ransomware compromises these devices, organizations may find them unable to recover.

    This has led to growing organizational demands and, in some cases, requirements for backup targets to becoming cyber secure. These requires they offer features such as:

        • Backup data immutability.
        • Encrypted backups.
        • Fast restore times.
        • Instant restores.
        • Multi-tenancy.
        • Secure admin and user logins using multi-factor authentication (MFA).

      These few items do not necessarily represent a complete list. However, they do represent new items for which organizations previously did not ask about. Further, the need to deliver on these new requirements may make existing backup targets ill-suited to deliver on them.

      This becomes particularly apparent for organizations that need to quickly restore large amounts of deduplicated backup data. Vendors often optimized existing disk-based backup targets for throughput and high data deduplication ratios. Yet when it now comes time to use these same applications for fast restores, they may not meet these new organizational demands.


      DCIG invites all providers of physical disk-based backup target appliances to participate in DCIG upcoming research into this topic. Providers can ensure they receive a survey by contacting Jerome Wendt, the DCIG analyst leading the research at 

      DCIG intends to publish one or more TOP 5 reports based on its research into Cyber Secure Backup Targets. DCIG expects to create multiple reports that target different size businesses, enterprises, and potentially managed service providers (MSPs.)

      DCIG will make these reports available for download once it finalizes and publishes the results. These reports, and derivatives of them, will be available for licensing by technology providers. Licensing provides opportunities for customer education, demand generation, and sales and partner enablement.

      DCIG’s current criteria for inclusion in the cyber secure backup target research include:

          1. A storage solution that the provider markets for use as a cyber secure backup target.

          1. Must be able to support and manage at least 500 terabytes (TBs) of storage capacity.

          1. Commercially available on December 1, 2023.

          1. Sufficient information available to DCIG to make an informed decision.

        Based on a preliminary of the marketplace, DCIG has identified the following solutions to be evaluated for possible inclusion in the disk-based backup research and is reaching out to them. 

            • Arcserve

            • Dell Technologies

            • ExaGrid

            • HPE

            • Huawei

            • Idealstor

            • Infinidat

            • InforTrend

            • iXsystems

            • NetApp

            • Nexsan

            • Nimbus Data

            • Overland Tandberg

            • Pure Storage

            • Quantum

            • Racktop Systems

            • Starwind Software

            • VAST Data

          NEXT STEPS

          The survey data collection period runs through November 2023. Survey data is based on publicly available and vendor-provided information. DCIG will publish the results of its analysis beginning in 2024 as one or more DCIG TOP 5 reports. DCIG will announce the release of each report on its website and through its email newsletter. 

          About DCIG

          The Data Center Intelligence Group (DCIG) empowers the IT industry with actionable analysis. DCIG analysts provide informed third-party analysis of various cloud, data protection, and data storage technologies.  DCIG’s audiences include C-level executives, IT managers, IT professionals, magazine editors, bloggers, analysts, and providers within the IT and cloud service industry. 

          More information on DCIG

          ### If you would like more information about this DCIG research, please contact Jerome Wendt at 844.324.4552 x 901 or email


          Click Here to Signup for the DCIG Newsletter!


          DCIG Newsletter Signup

          Thank you for your interest in DCIG research and analysis.

          Please sign up for the free DCIG Newsletter to have new analysis delivered to your inbox each week.