CA offers mainframe tape encryption

CA now offers mainframe tape encryption with its BrightStor Tape Encryption appliance.

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CA Inc. has released a tape encryption product for the mainframe, its first entry into a market where many customers have sensitive data that requires protection.

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This is CA's first foray into mainframe encryption, having worked with distributed computing systems in the past. It says the BrightStor Tape Encryption product is a software appliance that integrates well with z/OS, the mainframe OS and doesn't require customers to buy proprietary hardware.

"CA is a market maker," said Robert Amatruda, IDC research manager for tape and removable storage. "They have a very strong brand. When CA introduces a new product, especially encryption, which I still think is a nascent market, CA is clearly making a statement."

IBM offers its own mainframe tape encryption and Milwaukee-based PKware Inc. offers a mainframe tape encryption product as well.

CA said the product is the result of requests from customers worried about having unencrypted tapes go missing and then having to deal with the public relations disaster that comes with it. Such high-profile cases can cost companies good will and a lot of money, especially if it occurs in a state where public disclosure is required.

"Two big things are compliance and security," said Anders Logren, CA senior vice president for BrightStor product management and marketing. "There are lots of stories where large corporations have disclosed that they've lost magnetic tapes, and being out of compliance could cause companies millions of dollars and could lead to people going to jail."

BrightStor Tape Encryption also realizes that not all data is made to be equal, sensitivity-wise, and has provided support for Advanced Encryption Standard, Data Encryption Standard and Triple Data Encryption Standard encryption algorithms. So customers can encrypt whatever data they want, as much they want. The software has a graphical interface that CA says integrates with its other BrightStor products.

CA also says the product encrypts data as it's being written, rather than going back and encrypting data after it's already been created.

"We provide complete support for all the leading security systems [including IBM's Resource Access Control Facility, and CA's TopSecret]," said John Hill, director of BrightStor product management. "It makes no difference what the application is. We can encrypt it."

Boston University has been testing the new tape encryption software for the past two months. Gerard Shockley, assistant director for technical services at Boston University, said, "It's brilliant and simple and effective," and that the university is coming to terms with CA to buy it.

He said the university uses storage management products, such as CA-1, FDR and FDR Upstream, and that CA's BrightStor product was able to encrypt all of them "seamlessly."

"The installation was very straightforward," he added. "The engineer was on site and we had it running that day. Then it was a matter of ensuring we could incorporate it with our data files, which we were successful in doing."

Hill said the price starts around $60,000 and escalates from there depending on how much the customer wants encrypted. The decryption facility is provided for free so that whoever the customer might be sending data to can decrypt it without buying the product themselves.

"It really gives the customer a lot of flexibility at the end of the day," Amatruda said. "I think it's a pretty well thought-out product."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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