SSH Communications Security has extended the compatibility of a product that helps companies manage the security of their internal data.

The  Universal SSH Key Manager now works with mainframes running IBM's z operating system, SSH announced Monday. Previously, the product had been compatible with machines running the Linux, Unix and Windows operating systems.

Managing secure shell keys — keys that enable computers to gain access to other computers -- is a source of data-security risk, as well as a compliance burden, for banks and other large companies. The Universal SSH Key Manager lets companies create, remove, locate and monitor these keys on a centralized platform. Companies are required by regulations, including Sarbanes-Oxley, to keep track of these keys, and previously many companies had done so  through manual data management — by keeping a list showing what each key provides access to, for instance.

The Universal SSH Key Manager is the first key-management program that works with mainframes running the IBM z/OS operating system.

"Lack of proper management controls over secure shell authentication keys has emerged as one of the most significant identity and access control-related risk and compliance issues facing enterprises and governments today," said SSH Communications Security Chief Executive Tatu Ylönen. "By extending Universal SSH Key Manager to support the mainframe, SSH Communications Security delivers the only SSH key management solution to the ubiquitous IBM z/OS product line."

SSH Communications, based in Helsinki, with its U.S. headquarters in Wellesley, Mass., is the inventor of the secure shell (SSH) protocol, which protects data in transit between computers. Its key-management program was released in February 2012.