Protecting Data in the Cloud Era

By July 17, 2017iot

The world is facing a data breach pandemic. Last year alone, more than four billion data records were lost or stolen, a 556 percent increase over 2015.¹ Of the more than nine billion records breached during the past five years, only four percent were encrypted – or securely scrambled – leaving most of that data exposed and vulnerable to attackers.²

In response to increasing security concerns, regulatory bodies around the world are establishing new standards such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation that tighten data security and protection requirements.

A recent study found that extensive use of encryption is a top factor in reducing the business impact and cost of a data breach. However, encryption is often largely absent in corporate and cloud data centers because current solutions for data encryption in x86-based environments can dramatically degrade performance (and thus user experience), and can be too complex and expensive to implement. As a result, only about two percent of corporate data is encrypted today, while more than 80 percent of mobile device data is encrypted.³

Why? Because data encryption at scale can be very difficult to do. Until now.

In collaboration with more than 150 clients who cited data protection as their biggest challenge and concern, IBM recently introduced a breakthrough encryption engine that, for the first time, makes it possible for organizations to pervasively encrypt data associated with any application, cloud service or database all the time — inexpensively and easily without application changes.

The new IBM Z, deeply integrated with IBM Security software, was designed to automate and dramatically streamline security and compliance processes. For example, auditors are expected to manually inspect and validate the security of databases, applications and systems. Organizations can now immediately demonstrate that data within the scope of compliance is protected and the keys are secure. This can reduce the mounting complexity and cost of compliance. The system also provides an audit trail showing if and when permissioned insiders accessed data.

Banks and others in the financial services industry process thousands of transactions per second to keep the global economy running. To help these organizations more effectively compete in the cloud era, enormous amounts of sensitive data produced by transactions can now have better protection against fraud and cybercrime, and be analyzed and monetized using IBM Z – without causing disruption of day-to-day operations. For banks, this means encryption at the click of a button – even while applications are running – and the ability to migrate data from unencrypted to encrypted without impacting service level agreements.

We believe the best approach to securing data and building trust with consumers is to implement layers of security – layers of encryption wrapped in layers of additional protection, such as multi-factor authentication, identity governance, data activity monitoring, and security intelligence – with strong and pervasive data encryption at the core of the strategy.

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¹ IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index
² http://breachlevelindex.com/
³ “Pervasive Encryption: A New Paradigm for Protection,” K. R. E. Lind, Chief Systems Engineer, Solitaire Interglobal Ltd., June 30, 2017

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