IBM has produced new encryption technology to encrypt ZSeries mainframe tapes that will be physically transferred to remote sites.

The idea is to give businesses a way to guard against the risk of data compromises resulting from the theft or accidental loss of data tapes while being transported, said marketing manager Mary Moore.

The new Encryption Services Feature for Tape Transfer uses the cryptographic capabilities available on the z/OS operating system and zSeries hardware to encrypt data stored on external tapes and disk arrays.

Partners or remote sites can then use public-key infrastructure to remotely decode the encrypted tapes. Business that don't use mainframes can use a Java-based program that allows them to decrypt data on tapes coming from mainframes and encrypt them on the way back.

By end of year, IBM will release another version of the software feature a compression technology that will allow companies to encrypt data for archival purposes, Moore said. "We have a facility within z/OS that rapidly dumps data to tape for archival purposes. We will add an encryption and compression step to that function," she said, which will help companies encrypt large numbers of files for archiving.

IBM isn't the first vendor to ship a direct-to-tape product for mainframe tape encryption. In August, Luminex and Decru jointly announced a similar product.