IBM's new CPU makes security seamless thanks to powerful encryption

17 July, 2017, 20:42 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • The IBM Z mainframe is a breakthrough in data protection technology designed to tackle the epidemic of data

It can reduce the threat surface by 92 percent, according to research commissioned by IBM. The result being: pervasive encryption of data all the time, tamper-responding encryption keys, and encrypted APIs.

Apparently IBM Z offers a fourfold increase in the silicon dedicated to cryptographic algorithms, and has had its software stack fully reworked, so that it's now capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions on a daily basis. After more than two years of talking to customers, and building the exact system they asked for, it would appear he has every reason to. And the Z is faster overall, regardless of the task at hand: there's three times the memory (a hefty 32TB), three times faster input/output and much lower lag when talking to a storage area network.

All that said, it's probably going to take more than total encryption for a company to spring for a mainframe unless it's core to their business, according to analyst Roger L. Kay from the firm, Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc. The company on Monday unveiled IBM Z, a next generation mainframe that is is billing as the world's most powerful transaction system.

"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", Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z, said in the release.

"There are six that we've built and more in the future", said Mauri. "For banks, this means encryption at the click of a button - even while applications are running - and the ability to migrate data from unencrypted to encrypted without impacting service level agreements". Application development and test environments will be tripled so capacity can be raised without a license increase.

Given the current climate of fear around hackers and ever-increasing amount of data breaches, IBM obviously believes this system will be an attractive proposition in terms of watertight security and keeping everything encrypted all the time.

All that makes it harder for hackers to get in.

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With its latest mainframe, IBM is taking on the challenges with encrypting data associated with applications, cloud services and databases.

What would that additional security would cost, though? The z14 encrypts data 18x faster than compared x86 platforms, at 5 per cent of the cost.

The IBM Z has been designed specifically to make encryption easier to deploy on a large scale.

In a statement provided by IBM, International Data Corp. analyst Peter Rutten called the Z "the first system with an all-encompassing solution to the security threats and breaches we've been witnessing in the past 24 months". It's as if someone told you a Tesla can store away electricity much faster than all the smartphones in your company, and the electricity to run apps on its dashboard is thus way cheaper than that used by all the smartphones: It may well be true, but you'd have to seriously rethink your business's approach to mobility to profit from it. The EU's new General Data Protection Regulation will, among other things, hit a company subject to a data breach with significant fines unless they are able to demonstrate that the data were encrypted and the keys protected.

Beyond pure encryption, customers also told IBM they wanted this capability delivered in a cost-effective way.

IBM Z is a new mainframe from IBM with a built-in encryption engine that can protect all of a company's data-in a database, the cloud, or an application.


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