Case Study: HANDL TYROL relies on WORM Technology from Blocky to stop ransomware encryption of Veeam® backup data

“Blocky for Veeam® is the simplest and most effective solution to guarantee against ransomware attack,” – Christian Nicolussi IT manager at HANDL

HANDL TYROL is an Austrian family-owned company based in Pians that has specialized in the production of original Tyrolean bacon, ham, raw sausage, and roast specialties since 1902. The fourth-generation company is run by Karl-Christian HANDL, employs 600 people, is a market leader and an ambassador for Tyrolean culinary delights, and is known far beyond its borders.

The company was aware that it could easily experience a ransomware attack, meaning that all of its primary data and backup files could be encrypted or deleted due to malicious data corruption. This option was unacceptable to HANDLE Tyrol, particularly with the risk of a ransom demand without the guaranteed recovery of any lost data.

“If ransomware encrypted our primary data on the production systems, that would be bad enough,” explains Christian Nicolussi, IT manager at HANDL. “But the additional encryption of our backup data would be a catastrophe because then we would no longer have the opportunity to recover data without paying a ransom.”

New backup for an expanding virtualized environment

By 2019, the HANDL TYROL data center’s data load had grown too large for its previous backup solution to handle. This was primarily due to an increase in media files such as photos and films. A new solution was needed, particularly for virtualized server environments. Veeam® was chosen as the new backup solution, as it was able to meet the data center’s current and future volume and performance needs.

The IT team at HANDL TYROL was pleased with the easy integration and efficient handling of the new Veeam® backup solution. In early 2020, the solution was implemented on a Dell platform using VMware. Daily backups are performed from EMC primary storage to QNAP storage systems. For added security, the backups are mirrored and replicated to a second location. This results in a total of 25 terabytes of backup data across two sites.

Security against ransomware

Despite the implementation of the new Veeam® backup technology, IT managers at Handl Tyrol were concerned about the security of the backup data against malware. Since Veeam® backup uses traditional network shares, the backup data is visible on the internal network and thus vulnerable to ransomware attacks and encryption. There was a risk that new types of ransomware could potentially infect not only the primary storage but also target the backup data, making data recovery impossible.

Ransomware protection for Veeam® backup solved

The security problem was solved by implementing Blocky, a ransomware protection software from GRAU DATA, combined with Veeam® backup solutions, providing the most effective safeguard against security breaches and ransomware attacks. Veeam® recommends this security option to its customers as a joint solution with its European partner, Cristie Data GmbH.

The IT managers at Handl Tyrol reviewed other solutions. However, the only other option would have required an additional Linux instance and server integrated into their Windows environment to protect the backup data. Considering this option was more complex, the decision was made to go with the streamlined solution from GRAU DATA.

“It was clear that protecting backups was the last line of defense against ransomware attacks. We, therefore, had to create suitable ransomware protection for our Veeam® data backups. For us, Blocky for Veeam® is the simplest and most effective solution to guarantee against ransomware attack,”  states Christian Nicolussi.

Ransomware protection through WORM technology

Blocky was developed by GRAU DATA, a storage and archiving expert. The technology behind Blocky is based on GRAU DATA’s proven WORM (Write Only, Read Many) technologies, which prevent unauthorized changes to backup data and create an immutable, zero-trust backup environment. In addition, Blocky automatically creates an application fingerprint for each trusted Veeam® process, guaranteeing that only Veeam® has full access to the critical backup data. This transforms the Veeam® backup volume into an immutable repository, making it secure and reliable against ransomware attacks. Blocky is the only Veeam® ransomware protection solution that can guarantee backup data protection.

The installation of Blocky for Veeam® was a quick and seamless process, taking just over an hour via remote access. The IT department at Handl Tyrol, consisting of seven key employees, received training on how the software works and the minimal maintenance required. Since January 2020, the company’s virtual environment backup data has been protected by Blocky, providing peace of mind against ransomware attacks penetrating network protections. In the unlikely event of a malware infection, the IT team can rest easy knowing they can quickly and reliably restore their backup data with Blocky.

“It was important for us to ensure protection for our backup that can be quickly and easily integrated into our existing solution,” Christian Nicolussi sums up. “Blocky for Veeam® fits in seamlessly and is the ideal solution for us.”










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