Tape encryption. When moving tapes to remote locations for storage or disaster recovery purposes, it’s important to ensure the information can’t be accessed if a tape is lost or stolen. Tape encryption is among the most reliable solutions to keep information secure continuously and maintain more rigid compliance standards.
To keep critical information secure, companies usually send a copy of their physical tapes to a remote location using secure transportation services. Or, in the case of virtual tapes, information is sent using channel extenders or via TCP/IP. This can create vulnerability if physical tapes are lost or misplaced, and information passing through the network can be intercepted by unauthorized personnel. In these cases, it’s critical to keep information secure even if it falls in the wrong hands. Encrypting the information contained in the physical or virtual tapes is an extremely important step to comply with current regulations and prevent information from being extracted and misused. Many companies have lost customer information because tapes were lost, so it’s vital to have an encryption policy to ensure the information can’t be accessed by anyone outside the company.
By implementing an automated encryption key policy, IT organizations can reduce the risk of application outages and data inaccessibility due to missing or corrupted encryption keys; such a policy can ensure protection and availability of keys and digital certificates as well as fast recovery of encrypted data.
IT organizations should implement an automated key management system that consolidates and centralizes key management—including all change, tracking, backup, and recovery processes—across multiple vendors and z/OS tape encryption hardware. They also should consider implementing emerging software technologies that provide automated pre-generation of encryption keys. A key management system should also protect against the early expiration of keys.
Storage Resource Management (SRM) integration. Storage administrators face a big challenge in using multiple tools to manage their virtual tape environments. This occurs because they rely on multiple vendors; every one of them has a different approach, so administrators must switch from one application to another to configure or fix a possible problem while using virtual tapes.
SRM tools can simplify management of tape or virtual tape deployments by automating and centralizing administration; this can help maximize existing resources and achieve higher utilization and optimization of the virtual and physical media. Using SRM tools lets administrators configure tasks and find problems no matter what software they have; the tools can simplify the process and help them achieve compliance with less effort.
Tape hardware can be a significant consumer of power, cooling, and floor space. Cartridge robot devices can store thousands of cartridges for quick access. SRM technology should be used to manage these robots—tracking usage and automatically ejecting infrequently used cartridges.
You should also use SRM to track scratch tape availability and free-cell counts to provide history and forecasting information. You can use SRM to minimize the number of cartridge robot devices installed and delay purchase of additional robots as long as possible.
Software solutions that can integrate with other products facilitate compliance, helping companies simplify operations, and maximize their control of rules and regulations. Administrators can be proactive, minimize possible breaches, and keep information secure continuously.
Tight product integration of virtual tape, encryption and automation transparency with SRM can help businesses contain costs, unify tape storage operations, increase operational effectiveness, and maximize the use and life of the client’s storage investments. Figure 1 shows potential benefits.
Implementing a tape storage environment with virtual tapes, encryption, and SRM automation delivers peace of mind; it lowers risks and potential exposure to data and financial loss by keeping critical corporate information secure, accessible, and manageable. The company can prove compliance with federal regulations while addressing business continuity and disaster recovery.
Tape will continue to play a key role in the data center. IT staff can continue to reduce tape storage costs even in an era of expensive devices by more efficiently using tape media. IT organizations also can take steps to prevent interruption of business operations. Fast access to data on tapes is critical and so is standardization of tape management tools. Moreover, ever-changing IT environments make it essential to implement tools that are flexible and scalable to an organization’s specific needs. Data loss is unacceptable. Efficient utilization and management of new tape technologies and capacities can deliver peace of mind and greater business value. By better managing and automating key tape-related processes, IT organizations can mitigate risk, reduce TCO, fulfill compliance requirements, and optimize security.
Andres Rivera-Cabal is principal product manager for CA Technologies mainframe storage solutions. In this role, he frequently speaks at both internal (customer) and external events about CA Technologies mainframe storage strategy, vision, and market trends. He previously served as director of Product Management for the data availability products at CA Technologies.