IBM has offered the Cryptographic Coprocessor for some time now that will permit you and your partner to encrypt traffic over a network connection. This requires that both you and all of your partners have Cryptographic Coprocessor hardware in your servers. If you're at V5R1, you can also use IBM's new SSL support for both the FTP Client and the FTP Server. You'll need to make sure that your trading partner has either SSL client or SSL server capability. If you are going to FTP directly to and from your vendor(s) via dial-up, there is support for cryptography built in to the creation of the dial-up connections supporting both EAP and CHAP encryption.
And if all of this just sounds like too much to take on yourself, you can simplify it all by investigating the commercial offerings of companies such as TrailBlazer Systems, Patrick Townsend and Associates and Advanced Business Link.
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This was first published in December 2001