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The Perfect IT Combination

Greg Lotko, vice president and business line executive, z Systems
Photo by Bob Martus

Two of the hottest topics in IT are cloud and security. Together, they’re seemingly contradictory, but in reality, they’re an unbeatable combination.

Clouds enable the delivery of high-value services with extreme efficiency; however, they come with an assortment of entry points or “security perimeters.” For example, providing access to critical assets from mobile devices and social networks reveals the need for trusted identities. Keeping confidential information safe requires isolated partitions.

Virtualization and cloud go hand in hand, opening up another perimeter—yet very few virtualization software solutions deliver strong security. (Is anything really ever strong enough?) Cloud workloads are even more susceptible to vulnerabilities, aided by previously unknown software flaws. This is among the biggest exposures organizations can face.

Therefore, security attributes should be among the first considerations when choosing an infrastructure—even more so when it comes to cloud. So, does a solution exist to efficiently manage services and massive amounts of data while providing a high level of security?

Extra security layers can—and should—be added, but an IT infrastructure must be secure at its foundation to enable maintenance of the cloud’s security perimeter. Foundational security plus security intelligence, using analytics, becomes the means to better protect your assets. An integrated approach built on a secure and scalable system can deliver end-to-end enterprise security. The foundation for cloud workloads must consistently and successfully manage security across firmware, OSs, hardware, middleware and networking. It must include:

Encryption. Protecting cloud workloads is essential to maintain the confidentiality of private information and protect against interception. A properly installed and configured enterprise encryption manager centrally controls data protection.

Partitions. When working in a multitenant environment—a given with cloud workloads—isolation and protection of workloads is essential. A highly available, yet resistant, partition architecture can isolate data by tenant.

Keys. Encryption keys can be used to manage access to data within partitions. Sophisticated encryption technologies can even reduce the risk of compromised keys.

Auditing. Having a new cloud infrastructure doesn’t eliminate the need to audit the IT infrastructure or comply with regulations. The core foundation must enable fine-grained auditing, reporting and monitoring of clouds to help prevent errors from being introduced.

Built-in, foundational capabilities can help simplify and improve complex operational security processes. Additionally, they can reduce risk through improved audit and compliance.

Ultimately, enabling the integrity of a data cloud can establish it as a foundation for business intelligence and analytics. Taking a business to a secure cloud offers opportunities for growth through innovation.

Greg Lotko is vice president and business line executive for System z.

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