With its latest mainframe, IBM is taking on the challenges with encrypting data associated with applications, cloud services and databases. IBM today unveiled its new transaction system, IBM Z, which introduces what IBM considers to be a “breakthrough” for encryption engines.

According to IBM, there is a major global epidemic of data breaches, where more than nine billion data records have been lost or stolen since 2013. Of these records, only four percent were encrypted, which means there is plenty of data out there vulnerable to things like cyber attacks, organized crime rings, or employees misusing access to sensitive information, said the company.

“There is a global epidemic of data theft. The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very difficult and expensive to do at scale,” said Ross Mauri, general manager for IBM Z. “We have created a data protection engine for the cloud era that we believe will have a significant and immediate impact on global data security.”

Encryption is currently too complex and expensive to manage for regulatory compliance, despite the fact that extensive use of encryption is a top factor in reducing the business impact and cost of a data breach, according to a recent IBM study.

IBM Z encryption can be used to advance cryptography technology, since it makes it possible for organizations to encrypt all data associated with applications, cloud services or databases with one click, said IBM. IBM Z goes against standard practices for encryption by encrypting in bulk at cloud scale. According to the company, this is faster than x86 systems, which only focus on limited slices of data. IBM Z is also able to run more than 12 billion encrypted transactions a day, according to the company. 

Another concern for organizations is protection of encryption keys, and IBM Z handles this with tamper responding hardware that causes keys to self-destruct if there is any sign of intrusion. This capability extends beyond the mainframe to other devices like storage systems or cloud servers.

IBM Z is designed to help clients comply with standards like EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and it is deeply integrated with IBM Security software.