Of all the data security tools and techniques available, data encryption remains the most effective way to keep mission critical data secure and out of the wrong hands. Many large organizations today rely on mission critical technology. Mission critical can refer to any part of a system that could disrupt or stop business operations. These mission critical components could be pieces of equipment, processes, procedures, software, databases, or other IT infrastructure. A failure of one of these components results in the business failing to complete its mission.
For example, a booking system is a mission critical part of any airline’s operations. If an airline’s booking database becomes corrupted or suffers a security breach, it could result in delays, canceled flights, and the grounding of planes. An airline cannot afford to have that sort of mission critical system disrupted or have its data security compromised at any time.
In large complex organizations, the mainframe typically acts as the central data and security hub. Mainframes have the unique ability to secure mission critical data. This comes through comprehensive control over who has access to what information on the mainframe, the ability to encrypt data at rest, and many other security features.
Encryption is the strongest and most well known solution for protecting mission critical data, but many organizations are unwilling to implement it for a number of reasons. They are concerned about decreased performance. The encryption and decryption of data requires computing power as the technology passes through the system. Organizations are also concerned about disruptions to their operations. Implementing encryption can require changes to applications and workflow. These businesses are additionally concerned about encryption key management and the risks of the data loss that could accompany a lost key.
Mission critical data needs to be secure, but it also needs to be accessible to the right people with the proper authorization. Being locked out of a database can be inconvenient for an individual but catastrophic for an organization. When it comes to operations, there is little difference between a drive going bad and losing the keys to decrypt data. In both cases, the data is lost and unusable. That is why it is important to have a reliable key management tool to maintain and secure the encryption keys that decrypt your organization’s mission critical data.
Also, as data from the mainframe increasingly gets stored in remote servers in the cloud, it becomes even more important to encrypt the most valuable mission-critical data. When giving up control of data to a cloud vendor, it is typically best to encrypt it before transmitting the data and then decrypt it back on your own mainframe or servers once the data is again required.
For businesses in many regulated industries, encryption is not optional. There are an increasing number of legislative and government bodies that are mandating encryption for various types of data. The most familiar of these may be HIPPA regulations in the healthcare industry, which protect patient privacy and PCI compliance for retail, which protect consumers’ credit card numbers and transactions.
If you’re looking for ways to improve the security of the most mission critical data on your mainframe, request a 30-day free trial of one of ASPG’s mainframe data encryption solutions.