IBM z15 is your passport to next-generation data privacy


Sreehari Somasundaran

Systems Leader

IBM Z has for a while now set the gold standard for highly secure, large-scale enterprise servers. Now there’s a new model, IBM z15, which continues the Z line’s recent focus on security by introducing a unique new feature: Data Privacy Passports.

Security is the new reliability

As I discussed in a previous post, IBM Z is the current name for a very long line of IBM mainframe computers.

The first IBM mainframe was launched in April 1964, over 55 years ago. So when you deploy Z, you’re joining a group of enterprises who changed the world using the world’s most reliable and powerful servers.

Reliability was always the headliner for IBM mainframes. With an MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) spanning multiple decades, some mainframe customers are said to have run non-disruptively for over a decade without unplanned downtime.

Today, IBM calls Z “the gold standard for security and reliability”. Now the world’s focus is on security – and understandably so, given the rise in cyber-crime in the Middle East region and worldwide.

Last-generation models, z14 and z14 Model ZR1, introduced the world’s strongest security with pervasive data encryption. It’s still there in z15 and has been enhanced still further. Pervasive encryption…

  • Encrypts all data, at rest in storage and in flight during transit
  • Provides 5x stronger encryption than x86 servers, with 93% lower cost and 18.4x the speed
  • Protects automatically, without any application changes

Now, with the new z15 launched in September 2019, IBM has found a way to take security – specifically, data privacy – to another high level.

Passport, please

It’s called Data Privacy Passports, but it won’t allow cyber-criminals to cross your borders.

This new feature has been inspired by the changing ways today’s enterprises are doing business.

Firstly, today’s business data does not stay in one environment – it travels across multiple platforms, environments and even clouds. Securing one location – the datacenter – therefore isn’t enough to protect data. Businesses now need end-to-end security and privacy, to make sure data is always secure, accessible and visible to the intended user/application.

Secondly, consumers are more worried about data privacy. A new IBM-commissioned study found 64% of consumers have avoided working with a business over fears about data privacy. 76% of the same group said their fears would be reduced if there was a way to take back their data after sharing it. Enterprises need to address this, for example by making data accessible on a right-to-know basis rather than based on user roles. With data breaches increasingly stemming from internal threats, this is becoming more relevant.

Third, enterprises are moving mission critical work to cloud, which means storing private data off-premises. Yet moving data between partners and third-parties is often the root cause of data breaches. 60% of businesses have suffered a data breach caused by a third-party.

And finally, enterprises need to comply with stronger data privacy regulations like GDPR. But it’s an expensive responsibility, so businesses need more reliable, automated and cost-efficient compliance systems.

z15’s Data Privacy Passports answers these challenges. It goes beyond protecting data on-premises, to allow enterprises to “manage individual user access across private, public and hybrid clouds.”

What this actually means is you can now:

  • Protect data after it leaves your premises – with Trusted Data Objects (TDO), access rules stay with data wherever it goes
  • Control data usage more easily – by setting enterprise-wide “need to know” policies for roles and individual users
  • Track and audit data use – see how data is changed and accessed, and by who, to prove compliance
  • Do all of the above without complexity – thanks to Embedded Key Management, which does the legwork for you

One of the biggest advantages of all this is that you can now revoke access to data after it has left your platform or enterprise. And when it comes to business benefits, we’re also talking cheaper compliance, simpler data governance, safer hybrid cloud – simply better data privacy all round.

If you’ve got customers who are vocal about their data privacy worries, z15 and Data Privacy Passports would be the perfect way to earn their trust.

Be quantum-safe like GBM

GBM is IBM’s sole distributor and partner for products such as Z. We are here to help you understand and get the most value from IBM Z, as well as important topics like data privacy. Not only are we IBM’s partner in the region – with end-to-end solutions designed for your enterprise – we take data privacy very seriously, having built our own security practice.

So, GBM is already prepping for the next generation of security needs – as is IBM, with the z15 providing “quantum-safe digital signing algorithms as part of the base system”.

So, you could say a quantum leap in cybersecurity requirements – and capabilities – is just around the corner.

If you want to know more about this, IBM z15 and data privacy, please feel free to contact me.

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