The security considerations for using hybrid cloud

The security considerations for using hybrid cloud

As organizations embrace the cloud for its scale, flexibility and cost-efficiency, the priority for CIOs is to build secure systems to ensure their move to a hybrid cloud does not compromise data and reputation.

Security remains an important hurdle for many organizations thinking of the route to cloud. With critical data held in mainframes, exposing this information so it can be accessed by cloud services must be done securely.

Spikes in workload and demand responding to web and mobile users make the elasticity of cloud ideal for applications, but the data they rely on is often held in a highly-secure mainframe environment and organizations need reassurance that their cloud-based systems can securely connect to the mainframe. Cloud-mainframe connections must be secure and reliable to achieve a fully-secure end-to-end environment.

IBM’s z Systems is a transaction cloud server which offers a critical component of a cloud strategy by providing security as well as the agility necessary for innovation in a fast-paced competitive environment.

IBM z/OS Connect simplifies the connection route by providing a uniform way to access critical back-end data on the mainframe via a single, compatible application programming interface (API).

Extra security is provided by z/OS Connect with interceptors, which provide auditing, credential validation, and conversion that work in both directions to reassure CIOs that any connection between the back and front end is secure.

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Data privacy, availability & scalability
With data privacy, availability and scalability as key concerns, the IBM z Systems technology provides premium-level protection and services, and many organizations are leveraging these qualities for hybrid cloud.

Trust and security is critical for financial services organizations, but so is innovation. Brazil’s credit cooperative Sicoob, serving over 2.5 million people, was able to grow mobile banking by 600% and internet banking by 200% by deploying z Systems technology. It has achieved security and scalability for around-the-clock service and mobile access, as well as many other benefits.

Instead of having to buy more and more power-hungry servers to cope with operational volumes that keep on growing, Sicoob decided to build a private cloud on the IBM z Systems platform. It replaced Intel servers with Linux virtual servers and realized savings of $1.5m annually in energy costs, increased agility and enhanced security.

“Challenges and opportunities have led us to restructure our technology infrastructure and adopt IBM z Systems mainframe technology, which guarantees greater stability and performance for our products and services,” says Denio Rodrigues, IT executive at Sicoob.

Rodrigues says further benefits from adopting IBM z Systems include security, availability, scalability and performance.

With the robust z Systems hardware and highly integrated IBM mainframe software, Sicoob has a secure platform capable of supporting rapid growth as it aims to become the primary provider of financial services to its members.

   

Mobile services
Italian bank, Banca Carige, has also launched innovative mobile services on a secure platform highlighting that hybrid cloud can offer security as well as agility.

Innovation and a customer-centric focus do not mean compromising security and evolution is based on building on existing capabilities of IBM’s zEnterprise mainframe platform.

“In banking, availability and security are business-critical; the fact that these are tried-and-tested features of the mainframe makes it our natural platform of choice for our new initiatives,” says Daniele Cericola, ICT governance manager at Banca Carige.

While the front-end of Banca Carige’s new mobile application currently runs in the cloud, it hooks back into web services running on WebSphere on Linux on the zEnterprise platform. Transactions and queries initiated on the mobile channel are ultimately processed through CICS and DB2 on the mainframe.

“System reliability is becoming more and more important as customers move away from the traditional model of in-branch banking. In developing our new mobile capabilities, the obvious choice was to run the key components on the mainframe to ensure availability,” says Cericola.

The previous proprietary front-end was replaced with IBM Worklight Server on Linux zEnterprise to manage customer interactions and mobile functionality.

Cericola says this is a further evolution on the mainframe and allows the bank to quickly deploy innovative services on Linux and integrate them easily with the core banking systems and data.

“In this way, our new capabilities are built on the solid foundations of trusted mainframe technology,” says Cericola.

Connected cities
Citizens worldwide are increasingly demanding innovative joined-up mobile services, and Vodafone Spain is providing a Connected City environment in cities such as Seville for more dynamic and efficient use of resources – but security is critical.

The new cloud-based system will run on IBM z Systems powered by Linux, giving a highly secure system to enable cloud services while also delivering the speed, availability and efficiency required to drive mobile services at scale.

“This collaboration is aimed at improving competitiveness and progress throughout Spain’s cities. The new center will help municipalities provide citizens better public services in important areas ranging from sustainability to education and healthcare,” says Antonio Fernández, regional Andalusia director, Vodafone Spain.

Organizations that leverage IBM z Systems in their hybrid clouds can achieve a strong competitive advantage over those that do not.