Cobalt Iron Inc., a leading provider of SaaS-based enterprise data protection, today announced that it has received another new patent, this time on its technology for operational and event-driven network traffic shaping. U.S. Patent 11882094, issued on Jan. 23, describes new capabilities that will be available in Cobalt Iron Compass®, an enterprise SaaS backup platform. The techniques disclosed in this patent use analytics and user-defined policies to automatically optimize network throughput levels to reduce security risks and improve data operations under various, changing conditions.

Conditions in today’s technology and data environments sometimes change rapidly. These changes can affect the amount of IT resources, such as network bandwidth capacity, that are needed for various operations. However, amidst these changes, IT infrastructure and operations remain relatively static, leading to unoptimized resources and security vulnerabilities. One particular area of static infrastructure is networking. Information networks are typically preallocated resources that don’t get adjusted or optimized in response to dynamic conditions in the environment, such as cyber attacks, changing business or operation priorities, or environmental events. These and other conditions could all necessitate network throughput levels that are different from the norm.

When it comes to being able to make these dynamic network throughput changes, the industry is lacking. Backup administrators, network administrators, chief information security officers, and other IT professionals need more advanced means of monitoring and dynamically adjusting networks.

This patent discloses techniques that, when fully implemented, will make it possible for Compass to dynamically adjust, or shape, network throughput levels for data protection operations based on a range of conditions.

Because of the techniques disclosed in this patent, Compass will:

  • Monitor for a plurality of conditions and events that could affect a computer network, including:
    • Cyber attack events
    • Business priority of data being transferred
    • Locality of data
    • Security alert conditions
    • Type of data operation being performed
    • Operational status
    • Weather, power, fire, or environmental events
    • Failing applications, devices, or operations
    • Business events
  • Increase, decrease, or turn off network throughput levels for backup, restore, archive, replication, or other data protection operations responsive to changes in conditions or events.
  • Temporarily adjust network throughput level settings for predetermined time periods.
  • Determine these dynamic adjustments based on a special network traffic shaping policy.

Numerous scenarios illustrate the benefits:

  • A cyber attack could trigger an increased level of network throughput capacity from backup repositories to facilitate massive restore operations. That same attack might also warrant decreased throughput of inbound network traffic to company networks to reduce vulnerability.
  • Compass could optimize backup operations by increasing network bandwidth during daily backup windows and automatically decreasing it when a backup operation completes.
  • When severe weather is pending, Compass could activate increased network throughput levels to accommodate the need for special backups.
  • Compass could adjust network throughput levels based on business priority of data being transferred, type of data operation being performed, and other operation-specific characteristics, resulting in more efficient operations.

This patent also discloses network traffic-adjusting policies that make it possible for Compass to automatically modify network throughput levels differently over time and for various conditions. As a result, businesses will be able to optimize their enterprisewide network traffic consistently by policy rather than by manually reconfiguring individual network devices.

“Modern data centers are very dynamic environments with looming cyber threats, changing business priorities, critical operations, and complex infrastructure. Information technologies such as networks need to be more responsive to cyber threats as well as changing business conditions,” said Rob Marett, chief technology officer at Cobalt Iron. “Cobalt Iron is striving to improve analytics-based optimizations of IT infrastructure. This patent discloses techniques to dynamically shape network throughput levels in response to various security and business conditions. This optimizes operational efficiencies while reducing the risk of security threats.”

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