IBM offers encryption tool for in-transit data

IBM has released encryption technology designed to allow businesses that use its zSeries mainframes to encrypt data tapes slated to be physically transferred to partners and remote sites. The idea is to give businesses a way to guard against the risk of data compromises resulting from the theft or accidental loss of data tapes while they're being transported, said Mary Moore, z/OS marketing manager.

The new Encryption Services Feature for Tape Transfer takes advantage of the cryptographic capabilities available on the z/OS operating system and zSeries hardware to encrypt data stored on external tapes and disk arrays, according to the company.

Partners or remote sites can then use public-key infrastructure to remotely decode the encrypted tapes. Business that don't use mainframes can use a Java-based program that allows them to decrypt data on tapes coming from mainframes and encrypt them on the way back.

By end of year, IBM will release another version of the software feature a compression technology that will allow companies to encrypt data for archival purposes, Moore said.

"We have a facility within z/OS that rapidly dumps data to tape for archival purposes. We will add an encryption and compression step to that function" to enable companies to encrypt large numbers of files for archival storage, she said.

IBM isn't the first vendor to ship a direct-to-tape product for mainframe tape encryption. In August, Luminex Software and Decru jointly announced a product designed to allow companies to encrypt mainframe data stored on backup tape drives. Luminex announced a similar direct-to-tape product in August with NeoScale Systems.

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