IBM introduces its IBM Z mainframe which is able to encrypt huge amounts of data at all times and at every level of a network.
Mainframes refer to large computers which support thousands of applications and users simultaneously. Although networks of smaller computers and cloud computing have taken the lead in recent decades, the processing power and reliability of mainframes prolong their existence. IBM’s continuous efforts to update its mainframes secure the company’s position as a market leader.
As the world goes digital, the cyber security issue becomes one of the main concerns governments, companies and users face. According to IBM, since 2013 approximately nine billion digital data records have been corrupted by hackers. Only four percent of that data was encrypted, making it easy for cyber criminals to access personal information such as credit card numbers, usernames, passwords and social security numbers. Even encrypted data can be compromised since not all companies consider hacker-proof cryptography. In fact, the encrypted data is the valuable information worth decrypting and hackers know that.
What we need is a system able to encrypt all data at all times, making it difficult for hackers to identify the most valuable information. This is where IBM Z comes in with its great processing power which handles 12 billion encrypted transactions a day. As the Vice President of threat intelligence at IBM Security, Caleb Barlow said:
“So for any type of transaction system we can now get the safety that we’re all after, which just hasn’t really been attainable up to this point.”
The ability of IBM Z to keep data encrypted all of the time unless when it is being processed, is what makes the system different. In addition, the system restricts the number of administrators who can access raw data, which means hackers will have a shorter list of targets to go after. Users get access only to the data they need without the unnecessary exposure of large amounts of data that is there but they don’t need in that moment.
The company looks at the large-scale cryptographic processing as a “natural extension of the architecture”. Nevertheless, the notion that there is no such thing as perfect security, still exists. That is way, IBM developers have added a feature in which the decryption keys of the mainframe are stored. In case of a breach, the system can automatically make these keys invalid until the situation is taken back under control.
As far as the adoption of IBM Z is concerned, organizations which use mainframes will be very excited about the innovation. Not to mention the economic benefits such data protection system can bring by enabling companies to comply with international data retention regulations. It is hard to predict how organizations that don’t use mainframes will react to IBM Z. The question is whether they will find the system as a relevant option for their business. Whatever the answer, it is important to understand that as Joe Clabby, an analyst at the technology assessment firm Clabby Analytics, said:
“But encrypting all data, that’s a huge step. It’s pretty exciting given what a mess the world is without it.”
If you are interested in the latest trends in Cyber Security, then Webit.Festival Europe is the right place for you. During the Security & Privacy Summit, you can listen to top level speakers such as the following who have attended Webit before: the Head of Unit – Data Security & Standardisation in the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) Dr. Andreas Mitrakas, the Co-Founder of Distil Networks Rami Essaid and the CEO of LSEC Ulrich Seldeslachts.