CA is set to launch new software that aims to ease tape encryption and key management for mainframe users.

The launch comes in the wake of numerous highly-publicised incidents of lost or stolen media that exposed personal data, and amid legislation from many US states requiring companies to alert consumers when their personal information has been breached.

CA's BrightStor Tape Encryption tool encrypts data as it is written to standard label z/OS tapes, without requiring changes to JCL (job control language) or applications, the company said.

CA acknowledged the IT overhead associated with data encryption. "We don't believe all data should be encrypted. Although we rewrite directly to tape at the I/O level, there is still overhead associated with I/O encryption. And the stronger, more powerful encryption you're applying, the more overhead there is associated with that," said John Hill, a CA product management director.

To help address the problem, CA allows administrators to pick and choose which encryption algorithms they use for different data sets with different security needs. "You can intermingle the classifications you use, and you can even intermingle data sets on that tape that are unencrypted," Hill said.

For businesses that want to share data on tape with customers or partners, CA provides free decryption downloadable software for third-parties.

The software integrates with tape management tools from CA and other vendors. It also aims to automate key management from creation to deletion.

BrightStor Tape Encyrption pricing starts at US$60,000 for encrypting up to 300 data files a month.

CA is also looking into disk encryption for mainframe users, although it has no set plans at this time, Hill said.