The Encryption Debate: Why Encryption is Crucial to Secure Mainframes in Hybrid Environments

By Andrew Grzywacz

Whether you work in the IT world or just consume tech news out of interest, you can’t go a day without hearing or reading about encryption. It’s all anyone is talking about, and for good reason. The clash between Apple and the FBI over the legality and ethics of a government agency forcing the private sector company to supply them with a ‘backdoor’ into an encrypted service – in this case, an iPhone – for the sake of learning more about the San Bernardino terrorists reignited the age-old debate of privacy vs. security.

Apple stood their ground and the FBI ultimately cracked the iPhone’s encryption using a third-party source. But, then the debate was brought back under the spotlight, this time on a global scale, with the leak of the ‘Panama Papers’ on April 3 this year.

While the papers themselves were focused on past and present world leaders who had been storing their wealth in tax shelters, the actual leak drew noteworthy concerns about security. After all, the whole reason the Panama Papers had come out in the first place was because their originator, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, had been hacked – and quite easily, it seems, given their use of unencrypted emails and an old iteration of Drupal (an open source content management system) with widely known vulnerabilities.

Simply put, organizations in today’s world – whether enterprises, law firms or government agencies – can no longer turn a blind eye to encryption. Cybercriminals are more sophisticated and more damaging than ever before; a potential data breach can impact any given organization in incalculable ways, whether it’s through stolen assets, damaged professional relationships or a tarnished reputation. And, as these same organizations increasingly shift to cloud or hybrid environments for storing data and sensitive material, it’s essential they’re integrating up-to-date encryption protocols into these environments to ensure they’re doing their due diligence in protecting themselves.

New solutions like IBM’s z13 mainframe demonstrate how mainframe vendors are focused on providing the level of encrypted control that today’s businesses operating in hybrid environments need in order to properly secure information – whether it’s their own or their customers’. The new IBM mainframe promises encryption that processes twice as fast as previous generations and a robust, analytics-based threat monitoring system to defend against internal and external attacks, emphasizing data speed and security at a time when businesses need both.

With an estimated 80 percent of enterprises expected to move to hybrid cloud environments by 2017, there has never been a more pressing time than now for organizations to settle the encryption debate for themselves and adopt a system that combines high-end data security and processing with cloud architecture. Mainframes are invaluable to the merits of the encryption debate, as they can more than meet the security, performance and reliability needs that cloud- or hybrid-based organizations of the 21st century require.

Interested in learning more about how mainframes can provide encrypted security, without compromising data speed or performance? Reach out to SHARE, a global user group spanning over 1,000 mainframe professionals. Our mission is to master the art of the mainframe and its breadth of business critical applications essential to today’s world.

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