Thomas Gloerfeld l Jun 14, 2024 l Data Protection

Ensuring Data-Centric Security on IBM z Series: comforte's Customer Use Cases and Best Practices

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the importance of data security cannot be overstated. Organisations across the globe are increasingly seeking robust solutions to protect their sensitive information from cyber threats. Among the leaders in providing such solutions is comforte AG, a company renowned for its expertise in data-centric security. This post delves into some of comforte's notable likely customer use cases regarding data-centric security on the IBM z Series, highlighting the best practices that emerge from these scenarios.


Understanding Data-Centric Security and the IBM z Series

Before diving into the use cases, it is essential to understand what data-centric security entails and why the IBM z Series is a crucial platform in this context.

Data-Centric Security: Unlike traditional security approaches that focus on securing the perimeter and endpoints of a network, data-centric security emphasises protecting the data itself, regardless of where it resides or how it is accessed. This involves techniques such as encryption, tokenisation, and data masking to ensure that sensitive information remains secure even if it falls into the wrong hands.

IBM z Series: The IBM z Series, also known as IBM Z, is a family of mainframe computers widely used for their reliability, scalability, and unmatched security features. These mainframes are integral to the operations of many large enterprises, particularly in sectors such as banking, finance, and healthcare, where data security is paramount.


comforte's Approach to Data-Centric Security

comforte offers a suite of solutions designed to implement data-centric security measures effectively. These solutions integrate seamlessly with the IBM z Series, providing comprehensive protection for sensitive data without compromising performance. Key components of comforte's approach include:

  • Tokenisation: Replacing sensitive data with non-sensitive equivalents (tokens) that have no exploitable value.
  • Data Masking: Obscuring specific data within a database so that unauthorised users cannot view it.
  • Encryption: Converting data into a coded form that can only be read by someone with the appropriate decryption key.


Customer Use Cases

These customer use cases are likely scenarios of what the customers will encounter and are challenged with.


  1. A Global Financial Institution

Challenge: A leading global financial institution faces the challenge of securing vast amounts of sensitive customer data spread across various applications and databases on their IBM z Series mainframes. The primary concern is to protect this data without disrupting day-to-day operations or affecting system performance.

Solution: comforte’s tokenisation solution seamlessly integrates with the institution's existing infrastructure. The solution allows the bank to tokenise sensitive data in real-time, ensuring that customer information is protected at all stages of processing and storage.

Outcome: The financial institution achieves a significant enhancement in data security. With tokenisation in place, even if data breaches occur, the exposed information would be meaningless to attackers. The solution also complies with regulatory requirements, ensuring that the bank meets all relevant data protection standards.

Best Practices:

  • Real-Time Data Protection: Implementing tokenisation or encryption in real-time ensures continuous protection of sensitive data.
  • Seamless Integration: Choosing solutions that integrate with existing systems minimises disruptions and maintains operational efficiency.


  1. A Major Healthcare Provider

Challenge: A major healthcare provider needs to secure patient records and other sensitive information stored on their IBM z Series systems. The provider must ensure compliance with stringent healthcare regulations such as HIPAA, while maintaining the accessibility and usability of the data for authorised personnel.

Solution: comforte deploys a data masking solution tailored to the healthcare provider's needs. This solution masks sensitive patient information in non-production environments, such as during development and testing, without affecting the accuracy or usability of the data for authorised users.

Outcome: The healthcare provider successfully enhances its data security posture. By masking data in non-production environments, the risk of data breaches during the development and testing phases is significantly reduced. This approach also ensures compliance with HIPAA regulations, protecting patient privacy.

Best Practices:

  • Environment-Specific Security: Implementing data masking in non-production environments reduces the risk of exposing sensitive data during development and testing.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring that security measures meet industry-specific regulations helps maintain compliance and protect sensitive information.


  1. A Leading Retail Corporation

Challenge: A leading retail corporation needs to protect customer data across multiple channels, including online and in-store transactions. The corporation's IBM z Series mainframes handle a vast amount of transaction data, making it imperative to secure this information against potential breaches.

Solution: comforte implements a comprehensive encryption solution for the retailer. This solution encrypts sensitive transaction data both at rest and in transit, ensuring that customer information remains secure throughout the entire transaction process.

Outcome: The retail corporation achieves robust data security, protecting customer information from potential breaches. The encryption solution also facilitates secure data sharing across different platforms and applications, enhancing overall data management and security.

Best Practices:

  • End-to-End Encryption: Encrypting data both at rest and in transit ensures comprehensive protection throughout the data lifecycle.
  • Secure Data Sharing: Implementing encryption solutions that support secure data sharing across different platforms enhances overall data security.

Best Practices for Data-Centric Security on IBM z Series

Drawing from these use cases, several best practices emerge for implementing data-centric security on the IBM z Series:

  1. Comprehensive Risk Assessment: Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify sensitive data and potential vulnerabilities within the system. This step is crucial for developing an effective security strategy tailored to the organisation's specific needs.
  2. Layered Security Approach: Implement multiple layers of security measures, such as tokenisation, data masking, and encryption. This multi-faceted approach ensures that even if one layer is compromised, the data remains protected by other layers.
  3. Seamless Integration: Choose security solutions that integrate seamlessly with existing systems and workflows. This minimises disruptions and ensures that security measures do not negatively impact operational efficiency.
  4. Real-Time Data Protection: Implement real-time data protection measures to ensure continuous security of sensitive information. Real-time tokenisation and encryption are particularly effective in safeguarding data during processing and storage.
  5. Environment-Specific Measures: Tailor security measures to different environments within the organisation. For example, apply data masking in non-production environments to protect sensitive data during the development and testing phases.
  6. Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that all security measures comply with relevant industry regulations and standards. This not only protects sensitive information but also helps avoid legal and financial repercussions associated with non-compliance.
  7. Continuous Monitoring and Improvement: Regularly monitor and assess the effectiveness of security measures. Continuously improve and update security protocols to address emerging threats and vulnerabilities.
  8. Employee Training and Awareness: Educate employees about the importance of data security and provide training on best practices. Human error is often a significant factor in data breaches, so ensuring that employees are aware of security protocols is essential.



comforte's use cases highlight the effectiveness of data-centric security measures in protecting sensitive information on the IBM z Series. By implementing solutions such as tokenisation, data masking, and encryption, organisations can significantly enhance their data security posture, ensuring the protection of sensitive information even in the face of evolving cyber threats.

The best practices derived from these use cases offer valuable insights for organisations seeking to implement robust data-centric security measures. By conducting comprehensive risk assessments, adopting a layered security approach, ensuring seamless integration, and maintaining continuous monitoring and improvement, organisations can effectively safeguard their data and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements.

In an era where data breaches are increasingly common, the importance of data-centric security cannot be overstated. comforte's solutions and the IBM z Series together provide a powerful combination for organisations aimin g to protect their most valuable asset: their data

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