Data loss incidents expose businesses and their partners, customers and employees to a plethora of risks and associated problems. Typically, opportunistic, unauthorized or rogue access to sensitive, personal, confidential and Mission Critical data all too often results in identity theft, competitive business challenges, naming but a few, which adversely impact many areas, including but not limited to:
- Business reputation and perception
- Monetary via noncompliance penalties and associated litigation
- Media coverage
- Personal consumer credit ratings
Unless businesses implement proactive processes to secure data from creation to destruction, vis-à-vis cradle to grave, data loss challenges might ensue. In fact, millions of individuals are impacted by data loss every year, as criminals increase their sophistication for gaining unauthorized information access. The increasing dependence on technology and the potential associated collateral damage risk will continue to grow exponentially. Thus today there is no such thing as the low-risk organization or low-risk personal information and so it follows that business trustworthiness and data security should be a primary concern.
The full and complete destruction and thus secure erasure of data is a mandatory requirement of both Business and Government regulations, in addition to those policies deployed by each and every business. Regulatory compliance examples include the EU Data Protection Directive, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, supplemented by many other compliance mandates, encompassing The UK, Europe, The USA and indeed globally. There are many occasions when data destruction is required, for example:
- When disks move to another location for reuse or interim storage
- When a lease agreement matures and disks are returned to the vendor or sold onto the 2nd user market
- Following a Disaster Recovery (DR) test, where 3rd party disk and tape devices are used for testing purposes
- The reuse of disk or tape by a different company group
- Before discarding and thus scrapping disks and tapes that are to leave the Data Centre
Specifically the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard states:
9.10.2 Render cardholder data on electronic media unrecoverable so that cardholder data cannot be reconstructed; Verify that cardholder data on electronic media is rendered unrecoverable via a secure wipe program in accordance with industry-accepted standards for secure deletion, or otherwise physically destroying the media (for example, degaussing).
Similarly, NIST Special Publication 800-88 (Guidelines for Media Sanitization) states:
Clear; One method to sanitize media is to use software or hardware products to overwrite storage space on the media with non-sensitive data. This process may include overwriting not only the logical storage location of a file(s) (e.g., file allocation table) but also may include all addressable locations. The security goal of the overwriting process is to replace written data with random data. Overwriting cannot be used for media that are damaged or not rewriteable. The media type and size may also influence whether overwriting is a suitable sanitization method [SP 800-36: Media Sanitizing].
These data erasure (destruction, cleaning, clearing, wiping) methods would be a pre-cursor to supplementary actions such as purging, destroying and disposal of storage media and devices.
Clearly the IBM Mainframe environment is no different to any other, the requirement to safeguard data is always secure is of paramount importance, while being a mandatory requirement. Each and every Mainframe data centre will from time-to-time complete some or all of the following activities:
- Replace tape media (E.g. upgrade, damage, replacement activity, et al)
- Replace disk subsystems (E.g. upgrade, end of lease, replacement activity, et al)
- Disaster Recovery test (E.g. utilize 3rd party Data Centre for data restoration)
The major consideration to safeguard data security in these instances is when the data and or related storage media is moved off-site, outside of the primary Data Centre infrastructure. So maybe we should ask ourselves, why is it when we send data electronically, we safeguard the data with encryption, but when the data or related storage media is physically moved outside of the Data Centre, we don’t necessarily apply the same high levels of data security?
There are z/OS guidelines provided for erasing disk data, primarily relating to use of the ICKDSF TRKFMT function with the ERASEDATA and CYCLES parameters. It is generally accepted that this process is slow and does not erase data to the exacting standard required by regulatory compliance requirements. Similarly, DFSMSrmm users can use the EDGINERS ERASE function to erase data and even shred encryption keys for cartridge volumes created by high-function cartridge subsystem drives (I.E. TS1120, TS1130), but once again, this process might be considered slow and limited to those users deploying the DFSMSrmm subsystem, when other Tape Management Subsystems are widely deployed (E.g. AutoMedia/ZARA, CA-1, CA-Dynam/TLMS, CONTROL-T, et al).
There are other options available from the ISV market that have been specifically developed to erase data securely, including FDRERASE or SAEerase for disk data and FATS/FATAR for tape data, but wouldn’t it be useful if there was one software product that could erase both disk and tape data for IBM Mainframe environments?
Unlike other competitive solutions that are specialized for one particular storage media, either disk or tape, XTINCT performs a secure data erase for both disk and tape data. XTINCT meets all the requirements of US Department of Defense 5220.22-M (Clearing and Sanitization Matrix for Clearing Magnetic Disk) by overwriting all addressable locations with a single character. XTINCT also meets the sanitization requirement by overwriting all addressable locations with a character, its complement, then a random character, followed by final verification. XTINCT meets the requirements of most users by overwriting the tape and use of the hi-speed data security erase patterns. It should be noted, for tapes, the DoD only considers degaussing or pulverizing the tape to be a valid erase!
In addition to providing a complete audit trail and comprehensive reports to satisfy regulators, XTINCT surpasses NIST guidelines for cleaning and purging data. XTINCT also satisfies all federal and international requirements including Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA, HSPD-12, Basel II, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and other data security and privacy laws.
From a resource efficiency viewpoint, XTINCT is re-entrant and fully supports sub-tasking. Multiple volumes can be processed asynchronously, whereas other tools, like ICKDSF, run serially. XTINCT makes extensive use of channel programs, so many functions operate at peak efficiency by only using enough CPU time to generate the channel programs, with the rest of the operation being carried out by the channel subsystem. This dictates that XTINCT does not overly utilize valuable CPU time.
The method chosen to safeguard that Mainframe disk and tape data is securely erased, destroyed, cleaned, purged, and so on, is somewhat arbitrary, whereas the deployment of the actual process is required, primarily from a business viewpoint, protecting their valuable consumer data in all circumstances, regardless of the mandatory regulatory security requirements. Ultimately the Mainframe Data Centre just needs to make a minor enhancement to the data management lifecycle model, to guarantee data security in all circumstances, in this instance, when physical data media (I.E. disk, tapes) moves outside of the primary Data Centre location.