The Essential Guide to Data Encryption at Rest and in Transit

The Essential Guide to Data Encryption at Rest and in Transit

Why Encrypting Data At Rest On Mainframes Is Important

Mainframes have been used for business processing, where large amounts of data and transactions are processed, so they are a preferred choice for hackers. Confidential data like accounting records, customer databases, and business secrets that are valuable to any organization are processed in these superior processing systems. Not encrypting this data at rest is dangerous as it exposes it to being tampered with, stolen, or used in the wrong way. When applied to data at rest, data encryption will help protect your organization’s critical data and adhere to legal requirements and industry standards.

Encrypting Data In Transit On Mainframes To Enhance Security

But it is equally important to safeguard the data as it is being transmitted between your mainframe systems. Since information passes through many components, applications, and systems both internal and external, it is vulnerable to malicious interception, modification, and listening. For data that is transmitted over the network, the best solution to these risks is to adopt strong encryption mechanisms like SSL/TLS or IPsec that will protect the mainframe communication.

Data Encryption: At Rest And In Transit

Data encryption can be broadly categorized into two main types: 

Encryption at Rest:

  • Symmetric-key encryption: Employing a single key for encryption and decryption, DES can offer speedy encryption for data stored in the mainframe.
  • Asymmetric-key encryption (Public-key encryption): Uses a pair of keys (public and private) to encrypt information and provide a higher level of data protection for information that is considered to be private.

Encryption in Transit:

  • SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security): Creates a safe SSL connection between mainframe computers and other computing devices or other systems, thus safeguarding data during transmission.
  • IPsec (Internet Protocol Security): It offers the ability to encrypt all network traffic, which in turn guarantees the confidentiality and integrity of the data exchanged between mainframe systems and distant sites.

Mainframe Data Encryption: Techniques And Approaches

The protection of data on the mainframe systems involves the use of proper encryption techniques and compliance with the right measures. Some key approaches include:

Disk-level Encryption: Encrypting the whole disk or volume in which the data is located, offering an all-encompassing and fully integrated means of protection.

File-level Encryption: The ability to encrypt one file or a directory, so that the security of information can be provided at the micro level.

Database Encryption: Implementing encryption as a part of the DBMS, thus, providing data security to the mainframe databases.

Key Management: Ensuring the key management process for generating, distributing as well as protecting the keys employed in securing your data.

Access Controls: To prevent unauthorized access to the stored data the following measures need to be taken:

Advantages Of Data Encryption At Rest For Mainframes

Implementing data encryption at rest on your mainframe systems can provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Data Security: Making sure that information cannot be accessed, stolen, or misused by those who should not have access to it, or in the event of a breach.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to the standards of the particular industry and data protection regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.
  • Improved Risk Management: Managing contingent financial and reputational losses from data breaches and cyber-attacks.
  • Increased Customer Trust: To show the population of your organization’s concern with the protection of their data and hence build trust and loyalty.
  • Streamlined Incident Response: Supporting quicker and better handling of the incidents and their resolution in case of the occurrence of any security incident.


In the contemporary world where technology is rapidly advancing, it is evident that the security of mainframe systems and the contents therein cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, through proper data encryption technologies that can be used when the data is at rest and when the data is in motion, your organization’s most valuable assets can be protected, legal requirements met, and customer trust gained.
Embrace The Power Of Identity Management Private Cloud Solutions. Effortlessly connect, reset, provision & audit any identity or app using today’s latest platforms. Start your free trial today.

Written by Avatier Office