Evangelizing Mainframe
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Pervasive Encryption: The Cure We’ve Been Waiting For?

The new security capabilities in IBM’s z14 may well represent a game-changer for the industry. The implications will be significant and widespread throughout the IBM Z community. Perhaps even more importantly, the long-term ramifications will reach far further, into the non-mainframe world.

The mainframe isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Despite the rise of the cloud, ‘big iron’ still has utility and then some. Earlier this summer, IBM launched what it claims to be not only the fastest mainframe in town—able to perform 12 billion encrypted transactions each day on a single system, and boasting three times the memory capacity of its immediate predecessor—but it also brought the technology into today’s cybercrime-riddled world.

IBM also unveiled “a breakthrough encryption engine” to pervasively encrypt data associated with any application, cloud service or database, and do it all the time. These new capabilities, IBM said, would help tackle “the global epidemic of data breaches.” As you’re probably well aware, of the billions of data records lost or stolen in the last few years, a mere 4 percent was encrypted. The rest, clear and unencrypted, was pretty much free and available for use by cybercriminals, employees misusing their access or other nefarious wrongdoers. To thwart their plans, we can now encrypt our enterprise business data, transparently, at scale and relatively quickly and easily, both at rest and in flight.

But why is this development so important? Well, it not only represents IBM pushing ahead hard in terms of technology development, which is good news in itself, but it also helps to mark the point in a cloud-filled world where the mainframe moves beyond a passive although important revenue-supporting role to do something else too. I’ve written and presented extensively on cybersecurity and the mainframe, and its importance for digital transformation projects in an enterprise. Well, it’s all starting to come together.

If we can now treat security so seriously, so quickly and to such a high degree of quality, then pervasive encryption might prove to be an important catalyst for the mainframe to take on a new role, as a key security service provider for the wider enterprise: crypto as a service. It gives a whole new level of meaning to the word pervasive. For an avowed IBM Z freak and acknowledged security geek, it’s all very exciting.

A global thought leader and international speaker in mainframe technology and security, Mark Wilson heads RSM Partners' Technical and Security teams.

Posted: 11/14/2017 6:00:25 AM by Mark Wilson | with 0 comments

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