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IBM's new mainframe automatically encrypts all your company's data

17 July 2017, 04:26 | Ross Houston

IBM's new mainframe automatically encrypts all your company's data

IBM Z mainframe heralds a new era of highly-encrypted data security

"The pervasive encryption is the game-changer here", Mike Desens, vice president of offering management for IBM Z, said in an interview.

Customers of the previous z13 mainframe can take advantage of the new pervasive encryption features by upgrading the operating system and software, but they won't get the performance boost that the new IBM Z mainframe provides, Perera said.

The new system arrives following a number of major data breaches, with only four percent of the 9 billion records lost or stolen since 2013 being encrypted.

"There is a global epidemic of data theft".

"The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very hard and expensive to do at scale", stated Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM Z.

"The pervasive encryption that is built into - and is created to extend beyond - the new IBM Z really makes this the first system with an all-encompassing solution to the security threats and breaches we've been witnessing in the past 24 months", said Peter Rutten, analyst at IDC's Servers and Compute Platforms Group, in a statement.

IBM Z pervasive encryption reflects a call to action on data protection articulated by chief information security officers and data security experts worldwide, and more than 150 IBM clients around the world who participated and provided feedback in IBM Z's system design over three years. The engine makes it possible to encrypt all data associated with any application, cloud service, or database, all of the time.

The mainframe will be used initially as an encryption engine for IBM's cloud computing technology and blockchain (distributed ledger technology) services.

IBM claimed that its new mainframe can encrypt data at a rate 18 times faster than other platforms.

IBM has revealed its new Z mainframe, which is capable of running more than 12bn encryption transactions per day.

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IBM Z protects millions of encryption keys with tamper responding hardware that self destructs at any sign of intrusion.

IBM has rolled out what it called the biggest revamp of mainframe technology in more than a decade with a system that aims to stem the damage caused by data breaches through pervasive encryption.

The timing is handy given the surge in data breaches and regulations such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.

These APIs can be encrypted almost three times faster than X86 systems, claims IBM.

Applications that do need to decrypt the data will run under a special user ID that can access the decryption key - but such user IDs typically cannot be used to log in to the system, making it harder for hackers to both grab a file and decrypt it. "It's like a security blanket across the entire system - database, applications, data at rest, data in flight, APIs, etc. - that can just be turned on, rather than manually picking and choosing what to encrypt, which typically has led to much [data] remaining unencrypted", he explained.

IBM Z builds on top of what IBM's transaction engine can already do, which includes handling 87 percent of all credit card transactions and almost $8 trillion payments a year, 29 billion ATM transactions each year (worth almost $5 billion per day), 4 billion passenger flights each year, and more than 30 billion transactions a day. There can be up to 32TB of memory, three times the z13 maximum, and its IO is three times faster as well.

Big Blue burbles it can run the world's largest MongoDB instance with 2.5x faster NodeJS performance compared to paltry x86-based platforms.

IBM's new mainframe brings security to a whole new level with end-to-end encryption.

1 000 concurrent NoSQL databases. When available, these capabilities will include the support of workflow extensions for IBM Cloud Provisioning and Management for z/OS and real-time SMF analytics infrastructure support.



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