The Evolution Of Cybersecurity And Data Storage (infographic)

In the 1900s computer punch cards could store only 80 bits of data, most cellphones today store the equivalent of 400 million cards or more. From hard drives to networks, and data encryption to cloud data, the advancement of memory storage and security has been vast in the last 70 years. We are now living in a digital age, but how did we get here?


The first hard drives were developed in the 50s making storage of information easier. In 1956 IBM unveiled the RAMAC 305, a magnetic disk drive that could store 3.75 MB of data. It was the first storage device allowing random data access, eliminating the wait time of drums or tape to get to a data point.


A little over 10 years later the floppy disk was invented, again by IBM. Floppies allowed people to buy, load, and share data, which sparked a new aftermarket software industry. The 8-inch disks could hold 80 KB of data and were first sold in 1971.

Also within that timespan, Semiconductor Random Access Memory (RAM) was developed. Over the next five years RAM storage capacity grew 32 times its size, going from 8 bits to 256 bits per chip. Semiconductors allowed memory devices to shrink in size and operate at higher speeds, paving the way for personal computers.


In 1971 the first computer virus was created. The so-called “Creeper” was developed as an experiment, and was never used maliciously. This opened many eyes to potential threats starting a new era in security. By 1978 the first hot site, a website that runs continuously as a backup, was set up by Sungard Information Systems.


The first patented cybersecurity technology in the U.S., the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman Algorithm (RSA) was developed at MIT in 1983. RSA is a type of public-key cryptography that formed the basis for data encryption and enabled secure email online.

Viruses became more prevalent and in 1988 the Morris Worm infected 1 in 10 computers connected to the internet within 24 hours. This followed by Dr. Popp, the first known ransomware in 1989. Dr. Popp was spread through floppy disks and after lying dormant for 90 power cycles, the malware locked the infected computer and demanded payment to release it.

In that same year, Network-Attached Storage (NAS) was developed by AUSPEX which dedicated a server to file-level storage through ethernet connections. This made storage more convenient but at the same time more vulnerable.


With the rise of cyberthreats came a new market for data backup solutions. In 1997 Brocade started building Storage Area Networks (SAN). Using SAN, devices and shared files could be connected across servers and operating systems. With options like NAS and SAN distance was no longer a limiting factor in networked storage.

Soon after, in 1998, IBM and CISCO developed Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (ISCSI). ISCSI allowed access to stored data over an internet connection, making block storage cheaper and easier than SAN could.


The first cloud storage was made available by Amazon in 2006 with Amazon Web Services (AWS), followed quickly by Google and Microsoft. That same year, Managed Service Providers (MSP) started providing remote tech systems, often by subscription via cloud storage.


As databases grew larger, security concerns prompted an explosion of data compliance regulations in order to protect consumer data and privacy. One such concern, the rise in international ransomware, with strains like Reveton, WannaCry, CryptoLocker, Petya, and SamSam extorting millions around the world.

In 2017 Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), were used to superimpose celebrities’ faces in adult films. A few months later with the help of GAN, a video was forged of President Donald Trump speaking about climate change in Belgium. These fake videos were convincing enough to raise serious concerns over how to determine data’s authenticity. Over half of companies have said they plan to continue increasing security


The future of data protection and cybersecurity depends on cyber protection. It looks like integrated security is the way to go. 5G networks rely on software updates to maintain security and can be vulnerable if not regularly and quickly updated. A single unsecured loT device can compromise an entire network.

By 2025 175 Zettabytes of data will be stored worldwide, mostly through cloud-based data centers. As AI and machine learning increase the value of big data, so do the opportunities for data breaches. So now that we’re here in the digital age of data storage, consider protecting what was brought to you by annals of time.

Learn more about cybersecurity here.

The Evolution of Backup and Computer Storage - infographic

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