In-depth

What is IBM Z?

Say hello to the future of the secure IBM mainframe

Encryption of the future could be ubiquitous, thanks to IBM Z. This thoroughly modern mainframe zips through the time-consuming process of encryption, offering end-to-end protection to all the data it holds, a previously difficult feat. We spoke to Michael Jordan, distinguished engineer for IBM Z Security, to find out more.

How does IBM Z differ from existing encryption?

"Looking specifically at encryption of at-rest data, a key difference is how and where the encryption is integrated into the system. Encryption for at-rest data can occur at many levels of a system, including application, database, operating system and the physical media itself. We are providing encryption that is integrated into the operating system, which allows data to be encrypted at a very coarse scale with minimal overhead."

Who is this for?

"This isn't specifically designed for any particular use case, and based on discussions with many clients, it's expected to have broad appeal. The two main drivers from a client perspective are compliance and threat of a data breach. This cuts across all industries and geographies, [such as] encryption for application data, encryption for database data, encryption for batch workload data, transaction log data, encryption of unstructured data objects, such as images, scans, and PDFs."

Will we ever encrypt all our data?

"We would expect clients to start with encrypting the data for their most sensitive workloads first and expand as they gain experience. We anticipate that as clients select workloads to encrypt, they will encrypt all data for an application or database instead of identifying and classifying the sensitive data within the application or database. One important focus area for clients as they expand the scope of encryption is key management. Having a good enterprise key management system with robust backup and recovery is essential to ensuring business continuity in the event a key becomes unusable."

This article originally appeared in PC Pro. Main image credit: IBM

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