Secure, Isolated High Availability for Industrial Applications

Fortress offers fully-isolated, secure-by-design availability environments that run “shadow” VMs of your industrial applications in order to provide unparalleled availability and resilience.

“Overall, the Fortress platform successfully completed its pre-defined objectives of ‘failing over’ the [Industrial Control System after the simulated wiperware attack] while maintaining PLC integrity and machine activity with no noticeable data loss and high system availability…It took only 47 seconds after initial loss of control system functionality for the operator to regain full control and visibility.”

- US Federal Cybersecurity Lab (after testing Fortress platform in November 2023)


Two-part system

At the center of the Fortress platform are two separate but complementary sub-environments:

Integrity Environment

The Integrity Environment offers a robust, agent-less snapshotting mechanism, which dynamically captures client-specific control system configurations, coupled with malware scanning and encryption/decryption engines that ensure the integrity and confidentiality of system backups.

Execution Environment

The Execution Environment contains specialized tools for actually running secondary copies of Industrial Control System applications within purpose-built, hardened Virtual Machines (VMs), “hydrated” by configuration data from the Integrity Environment.

Complete Logical Isolation

All components of the Fortress platform are kept on specialized infrastructure that is logically and physically separated from the client’s primary network. Whereas traditional high-availability systems are vulnerable to malicious lateral attacks and backup and recovery solutions are slow, Fortress’s enclave-based architecture ensures that all platform operations are secure and ready when you need them most, without compromising security.

Separate Execution Enclave

Configuration Management

Key Management

Isolated Hardware



Malware Scanning

One-Way Data Flow

Hardware-enabled Security

To ensure the integrity and security of applications running in Fortress, the entire platform is designed in accordance with NIST Hardware-Enabled Security guidelines. With Fortress, Industrial Control Systems run exclusively within Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), secure computing enclaves with hardware-level code integrity guarantees.

Core features at a glance

Extremely low latency

The Fortress Failover system’s communications are based on a low-overhead packet routing system that adds at most microseconds to latency and packet transfer times.  Industrial control systems need to run in near-real time to be useful, and Fortress has built a failover system that supports that.

Single pane of glass

The Fortress platform can be managed from any machine that has the client agent installed. Unlike other providers, which require operators to make configuration changes via remote access into a central server, Fortress ties configuration permissions to credentials, making configuration settings modifiable from any machine with the client agent installed.

Easy to deploy

Although many OT/ICS solutions take weeks or even months of system integration time, deploying the Fortress platform requires less than a day of initial set up. After initial setup, each additional machine or application takes less than five minutes to configure, making the Fortress platform highly scalable even for complex industrial environments.


The Fortress platform allows for several separate users from an organization to manage the Fortress platform, keeping the data of individual users secure and siloed while enabling one administrator to view and control user activities and modify permissions from a global account.

Near-instantaneous Initialization

Fortress can be configured to take over from a client’s primary systems within seconds of the primary system’s failing. Say goodbye to long-lasting outages that compromise reliability and cost millions in lost revenue and reputation damage.

Slimmed down Virtual Machines (VMs)

Rather than acting as a “lifted and shifted” digital twin of entire client systems, Fortress contains only the precise critical applications the client needs to run during threat events. This way, even if primary systems are compromised by a cyber threat, that threat will not penetrate the client-controlled Failover system.

Confidentiality-preserving malware scanning

Fortress scans snapshots as they come in, using YARA rules to detect any potential malware risk in incoming backups. The scanning engine runs entirely within the enclave, ensuring that the incoming data is never visible to any third party, including Fortress.

Real-time Audit Logging

Fortress logs all attempted interactions with the enclave, and transmits those logs and alerts directly to the client in real time (and plugs right into a client’s pre-existing SIEM or EDR/XDR platforms).

Automated Recovery Testing

Fortress uses Machine Learning (ML) heuristics to automatically check the reliability and integrity of backup snapshots, ensuring that they are operational before a recovery is actually needed.

Widely Compatible and Generic

Fortress can support all types of configuration data, ranging from file/folder level captures to drive and image level snapshots of client systems. Additionally, Fortress has built out several SCADA- and DCS-specific tools for structured historian and configuration resilience.


Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of industrial systems does Fortress support?

Fortress can support all types of backup data, ranging from file/folder level backups to drive and image level snapshots of client systems. Additionally, Fortress has built out several SCADA- and DCS-specific tools for structured historian and configuration data backup and recovery. Fortress has built out custom, slimmed-down VMs for the process control (i.e. DCS), SCADA, and other critical software (e.g. EMS) offerings of most major industrial Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).  If there’s a vendor that you work with and would like to know if we currently support it, please reach out.

What kinds of data can Fortress process?

Fortress can handle data at all levels of granularity, ranging from individual file and folder level backups to full system drives or VM images. Additionally, Fortress has built out SCADA-specific database backup and restoration tools. All of these configurations can be managed through the same intuitive single-pane-of-glass frontend interface.

How hard is Fortress to set up?

Fortress is an agent-based system and is easy to set up and maintain, since the system handles all Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) orchestration. The setup process for Fortress takes about two hours for the first machine, and minutes for each additional machine/application.

What is Hardware-enabled Security?

Hardware-enabled security, as defined by NIST, is “security with its basis in the hardware platform”, as distinct from software or firmware-enabled security, which have their bases in the code running on that hardware.   This distinction is relevant for two reasons.  

First, unlike hardware, software and firmware are modifiable, either by a malicious actor or by the manager of the platform on which the software is running.  Because of this, no software-enabled security platform can fully protect against insider threats or supply chain concerns – there’s no way to guarantee that the software providing the security is actually what’s running on the system.  Hardware-enabled security is the only way to guarantee that the code the client wants to be running on a third party machine actually is.

Additionally, software and firmware enabled security platforms take a blacklisting approach to securing their systems.  Specifically, any undesired access needs to be explicitly forbidden, and any access or usage that isn’t forbidden is assumed to be permitted.  This means that any mistakes made in configuration or unforeseen attack vectors lead directly to threats on the system’s security.  In contrast, hardware-enabled security takes a whitelisting approach, where any desired activity or access needs to be explicitly allowed on the system.  This way, mistakes made in configuration and new attack vectors can at worst lead to difficulties accessing the system, rather than threats to the integrity or confidentiality of the data contained within it.

There are three core types of Hardware-enabled security devices: TPMs, HSMs, and TEEs.  Fortress uses TEEs, the newest and most generic Hardware-enabled security device family, for it’s backup, recovery, and failover capabilities.

What are Trusted Execution Environments?

Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), also known as Secure Enclaves, are physically-isolated computing environments for securely executing code on an untrusted host machine. To be more specific, a TEE is a specialized region of certain classes of CPUs that contains its own subdivided processors, memory, and microkernel. This region of these CPUs is designed to verify on startup that it is running a specific piece of code, and present signed proof of that verification.

TEEs were developed by public- and private-sector researchers over the past decade and have recently been made available for commercial use. The leading TEE platforms are AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV), Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX), and Arm TrustZone. TEEs are notoriously complex to directly work with, since they require remote evidence attestation (the ability to check the verification proofs of the TEE) and key management operations (the generation and provisioning of keys based on those verification proofs), but the Fortress platform leverages the security properties of TEEs for all backup, recovery, and failover operations while fully abstracting away the complexities of management and orchestration.

How are Fortress’s failover capabilities different from traditional “digital twin” failover systems?

Fortress offers failover capabilities for mission-critical software applications to run in offsite Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) while a primary system recovery is underway (since a full recovery could take hours or days). First, Fortress differs from traditional failover systems by running the applications in these secure computing environments with code integrity and end-to-end data confidentiality. Second and perhaps more important, Fortress only runs slimmed-down Virtual Machines (VMs) with these pre-configured applications, to avoid “lifting and shifting” entire compromised Operating Systems (OSs) to the failover environment. By comparison, traditional “digital twin” failover systems may provide value in the case of a physical disaster but, in the case of a cyber attack (such as ransomware or wiperware), will be vulnerable to the same threat that can compromise the primary system(s).

How does Fortress differ from other backup and recovery platforms from a security perspective?

Alternative data backup and recovery solutions are either a) on-premise, manage-your-own-hardware offerings that do not provide adequate logical isolation in the case of cyber attacks, or b) cloud-based offerings that introduce additional attack surface and third-party risk.

Fortress is an offsite platform that provides hardware-enabled security with no additional third-party risk because all backup and recovery operations are localized within Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), which are fully controlled by the client. Additionally, unlike other data backup and recovery platforms, Fortress provides TEE-based failover capabilities for mission critical software in order to facilitate operational continuity in the immediate aftermath of a cyber attack or physical disaster.

Why have both backup and recovery and failover?

The purpose of including failover in our offering is to ensure maximal flexibility and robustness of system recovery, without compromising on recovery times. Client industrial environments may be bandwidth constrained, which would slow down a data recovery, as would recovering large amounts of data. Failover ensures maximal flexibility and continuity so that industrial operations don’t have to be put on hold for the hours or days (or longer) that it could take to recover primary systems.

How does Fortress handle key management?

The Fortress platform’s Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) manage the encryption and decryption keys for long-term storage of snapshots. These keys are locked to only be accessible to TEEs running the correct backup, recovery, and failover software, ensuring that only the client has access to their data. Additionally, Fortress has built out a multiparty “break glass in case of emergency” key system that allows clients to retrieve and read backups even if they lose access to their TEE credentials. This system stores fragments of read-only keys with the client and with client-chosen trusted parties, that can be reassembled to decrypt snapshots when the client requests it.

How does Fortress demonstrate backup integrity?

Fortress has built an automated recovery testing solution to regularly test the recoverability and integrity of backups. This solution pulls down all new backups on a client-scheduled basis and confirms both that the backups successfully restore and that they contain the expected file contents. Any issues with the recovery testing or more generally with backup, failover, and recovery processes are logged and reported to the client.

Does Fortress require connecting OT devices to the external internet?

No. While the Fortress platform is designed to live either on or off-premise, the client’s sensitive OT devices, servers, and workstations never need to directly connect to off-premise systems. Instead, Fortress has built out proxy servers (”jump hosts”) as agents that can live on a client’s preexisting head-end servers. Those proxy systems live on the client’s network and communicate via TLS-encrypted tunnels to the static IP addresses corresponding to Fortress infrastructure. The client’s actual OT devices communicate only with those proxies and fortress installed on-premise infrastructure, never the external world.

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