IT Management

What if you make a purchase online and during your transaction, someone steals your credit card information? That simple transaction sets off a whole chain of events, which culminates with you, as the consumer, likely never purchasing from that retailer again and questioning the security of the bank holding your credit card.

In today’s world, security is paramount for both the business and the consumer.

Growing cyber attacks can threaten an individual’s or organization’s most valuable assets such as data, money, intellectual property, or even the core brand. The once-containable, ’80s-floppy viruses have grown into one of the highest profile security threats today.

Data centers create added challenges with increasingly complex infrastructures that are unable to provide holistic, 360-degree security. Included are vulnerable Web applications that provide an easy path for hackers to access sensitive information.

Of course, the question then is how do we shut down these risks? It begins with IT simplification. Then you can combine the right mix of technologies—based on your workloads—to ultimately predict security breaches before they occur.

Enter IBM System z. One of the most appreciated aspects of IBM System z is its heritage. With it comes a foundation that was engineered to be the most scalable, resilient, and secure platform available. 

Where security is the number-one requirement, in-the-know enterprises make a move directly to the mainframe. Organizations take advantage of the legendary strengths of the IBM mainframe, as the enterprise security hub, to integrate their security management.

In fact, it should come as no surprise that 96 of the top-100 banks (based on asset size) in the world use System z at the core of their infrastructure (based on The Banker, System z install base and financial records). The one non-negotiable technology imperative for banks is security.

System z security solutions center around four domains: people, data, applications, and infrastructure. If you can secure across those domains, not just within each as a standalone, siloed area, you can build a secure environment and foster innovative use of technology.

So, how do you ensure access to sensitive information is limited? System z offers optimized software that simplifies security management and automates reporting and compliance. In other words, no one has access unless they’re supposed to.

How do you ensure that sensitive business and client data is protected at all times—whether it’s stored in the system or being shared across the network? End-to-end encryption options from System z protect the data the moment it enters the network and all the way to the end of its life. Cryptographic co-processors and accelerators are individually specialized to address an organization’s security needs.

How do you ensure applications don’t provide an insecure path to the data center? You begin with a secure infrastructure that has the highest security rating or classification of any commercial system (with the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5 [EAL5])—that’s System z (source: By adding secure application services, you block network threats before they ever reach the data center.

Take, for example, a U.S. retailer. The organization required an automated and secure solution for its private label credit card transactions. Using zEnterprise, the retailer was able to remove obstacles and ensure continuous availability, while protecting customers’ sensitive information and safeguarding each transaction.

Or, consider a government organization. The security arm of this European government chose a zEnterprise 114 to host and manage its large volumes of data. While it needed the security, scalability and reliability of System z, it also saw the value in having the data on the mainframe for quick analysis. For example, in near-real-time, it can monitor and analyze data in an effort to secure the border from terrorists by thoroughly screening visiting foreign nationals against government watch lists.

System z security solutions continue to innovate. Today, System z traps threats and then reorganizes itself, closing that path. In the future, real-time analytics will allow us to prevent fraud real-time. Back to my first example: What if your credit card’s bank was able to intercept the fraud as the transaction took place? You would probably never even know about it. It’s here where System z’s security solutions, combined with the latest analytics capabilities, will offer IT security like it has never been done before.