Before you deploy an encryption solution, there is one often-overlooked consideration to be aware of – performance. A slow encryption solution can change a “job-well-done” into “we need to get this solution off our servers and go buy from Townsend Security STAT!” This actually happened to a retail customer of ours. Their initial encryption implementation was so slow that it prevented them from being able to use it in production. True story.
So are there any performance tests you can do before you decide on a FIELDPROC encryption solution? You bet.
Before you begin, you need to decide how many fields in a table you have to encrypt. If you need to meet the PCI DSS compliance regulation, you might only need to encrypt one field (credit card number). If you are protecting PHI (Protected Health Information) in the medical segment or PII (Personally Identifiable Information) for privacy notification laws, then you may have several fields in a table that need to be protected. Every column that you need encrypted is going to add to the overall performance burden.
A good first performance test is with just with one column. We recommend creating a table with one million records, implement FIELDPROC, and then seeing how long it takes to encrypt the data in that table. These results will give you an idea how your system will perform when you are only encrypting one field (a credit card number to meet PCI DSS, for example).
Next, if you need to encrypt several fields (ZIP code, phone number, credit card number, etc.), do a test on a table with that many fields. You will learn a lot very quickly about the performance of FIELDPROC and your encryption solution. If you do these tests, and we think it is absolutely important that organizations try this test before they deploy a FIELDPROC encryption solution, you will learn a lot about how the encryption will impact your production environment.
Look at what you need to protect, try and create as close to a real-world test as you can, and see how your performance results are. It is very simple to do. We can even provide you with a sample database and table with a million records so that you can create and test on your machine.
Listen to our podcast “IBM i FIELDPROC Performance: Speed Matters” for more information on encryption performance with FIELDPROC on IBM i 7.1