Leveraging the mainframe for cloud computing and consolidated security management
Melissa Stevens 270005B76W MELISSAS@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  ibmsecurity cloud-security zsecure security data-security
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This post is contributed by Glinda Cummings, WW Senior IBM Security Solutions Product Manager for zSecure
Remember the good old days when we did our work from a dumb terminal, or worked remotely on the mainframe? Then came the personal computer with computing power at your fingertips from just about anywhere as long as you had connectivity. But was the data synced properly, and was all of the data really available? What about security? With all this “connectivity” to the mainframe, hasn’t security become more complex than ever?
Moving data to a virtualized, cloud-based environment can help develop and manage a more flexible infrastructure, reducing operational cost and total cost of ownership. In addition, a virtualized environment can help accelerate time to market through increased efficiency and automation; scale operations to meet market dynamics and business strategy; and virtually eliminate downtime. The question, therefore, is not whether organizations will move to the cloud—it’s about how to do it while protecting critical data.
The mainframe has a strong heritage of being an extremely secure platform. Its capabilities extend to virtual environments and workloads and offer a compelling alternative to massively scaled-out environments – so why are you looking at other platforms to host your cloud workload? Many organizations already use a mainframe as their data hub running key applications, which provides an opportunity to create a security hub for the entire enterprise. From automation to advanced virtualization technologies and open industry standards, IBM® System z® mainframes help deliver a solid, secure foundation on which to build the virtual environment.
Besides many of the traditional reasons to choose the mainframe over other hardware platforms—security, reliability and consolidated workloads among them—there are other benefits, such as, where organizations have an established mainframe environment and skills base, they can readily expand the usage of Linux on System z for the non-mainframe workloads. Or, they can offer cloud-based software as a service to customers to reduce cost.
However, first we have to factor in security. Although the operational and capital benefits of cloud computing are clear, so is the need to develop proper security for cloud implementations.. The same characteristics that make the mainframe ideal for running critical applications—robust hardware, reliable operating systems, industrial strength system management capabilities and dependable security—can be used to enable it as a cloud environment on z. Security is built into every level of the System z structure, from its processor and operating system to its communications, storage and applications.
To optimize enterprise security, there needs to be a high level of planning and assessment to identify risks across key business areas. This security framework includes people, processes, data and technology throughout one’s entire business continuum. This holistic approach can facilitate a more business-driven security blueprint and strategy that can lead to an effective shield of defense for the entire organization.
IBM can help. Our security solutions provide comprehensive, end-to-end, integrated security capabilities on mainframes, enabling enterprises to consolidate their security management and to leverage the mainframe as their enterprise security hub.
As the industry drives the focus from capital to operational costs, and security needs rise, the opportunity to grow the presence of the mainframe is clear. This is particularly true in virtualized environments, where mainframes have proven to be strong, secure foundations on which to build cloud infrastructures. IBM System z can help protect key data and essential, mission-critical applications, while enabling users to virtualize and share these components in a flexible, secure environment. Take advantage of inherent System z efficiencies to deploy a usable, scalable virtualized environment that can provide enhanced availability, performance and cost-effectiveness. Learn more by reading our white paper "Consolidated security management for mainframe clouds."