Data breach epidemic has huge implications for businesses

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The data that resides on a mobile phone is better protected than the data that resides in most corporate data centers.

Eighty percent of the data on mobile phones is encrypted, according to a Solitaire Interglobal Ltd. study, because it’s easier to encrypt data on millions of identical devices. Encryption is largely absent in corporate and cloud data centers because current solutions for data encryption in x86 environments dramatically degrade performance and user experiences, and can be too complex and expensive to manage.

A recent IBM study found that extensive use of encryption is a top factor in reducing the business impact and cost of a data breach. To put that in context, the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index reported that more than four billion records were leaked in 2016, which was a 556 percent increase from 2015.

Regulatory bodies are establishing standards in response to growing security concerns. These include:

  • The European Union has established the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will increase data compliance requirements for organizations doing business in Europe beginning next year. The GDPR will require organizations to report data breaches within 72 hours or face fines of up to four percent of annual revenues unless the organization can demonstrate that data was encrypted and the keys were protected.
  • At the U.S. Federal level, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), which includes the five banking regulators, has provided guidance on the use of encryption in the financial services industry.
  • Singapore and Hong Kong have published similar guidance regarding use of encryption.
  • Recently, the New York State Department of Financial Services published requirements regarding encryption in the Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies.

Three years ago, as it began the design process for the next generation of its iconic mainframe, our customers — representing the banking, retail, insurance and healthcare industries — asked if the massive scale of the world’s biggest transaction engine could be extended at the same massive scale for data security. In the end, 150 companies had a say in the development of IBM Z.

The new system is capable of running more than and also introduces a breakthrough encryption engine that, for the first time, makes it possible to encrypt all data associated with any application, cloud service or database all the time. IBM Z’s advanced cryptographic capability now extends across any data, networks, external devices or entire applications, such as the IBM Cloud Blockchain service, with no software changes and no impact on overall system performance.

Building on the capabilities of the world’s most powerful transaction engine at the center of global commerce today, IBM Z supports:

  • 87 percent of all credit card transactions and nearly $8 trillion in payments a year
  • 29 billion ATM transactions each year, worth nearly $5 billion per day
  • Four billion passenger flights each year
  • More than 30 billion transactions per day, or more than the number of Google searches every day
  • 68 percent of the world’s production workloads at only six percent of the total information technology (IT) cost

Banks and others in the financial services industry process thousands of transactions per second to keep the world’s financial systems running. The mainframe is more critical than ever for reliably handling high volumes of transaction data. Today, 92 of the world’s top 100 banks rely on the IBM mainframe because of its ability to efficiently process huge volumes of transactions.

I believe organizations can get ahead of a very challenging problem in assessing data risks and obligations and proactively securing vital data. How they do that comes down to a choice. A choice in a platform designed with the muscle and smarts to get the job done, with integrity. Integrity builds trust and trust builds confidence — a competitive weapon for enterprises.

Securing data should be seen as an opportunity. The process can accelerate digital transformation, if done properly, by introducing more efficient and integrated data processing. I have long held the position that privacy is foundational to trust and investing in a sustainable, governed data asset and data security can be a competitive advantage for businesses.

Is your customers’ data safe? Let IBM Z help you usher in a new era of data protection.

Director, z Systems Marketing, IBM Systems

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