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Cybersecurity for IBM i (AS/400)

Help your organization successfully comply with security regulations and meet its needs for security auditing and control in IBM i environments with Syncsort cybersecurity solutions for IBM i (AS/400)

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Where do IBM i security vulnerabilities exist?

Despite the inherent security capabilities of IBM i (AS/400), it is not completely devoid of exploitable vulnerabilities. These security gaps can range from relatively simple oversights to more complex and systematic concerns, but businesses must address them to maintain the integrity of their platform. It only takes a single network intrusion to put organizational data and operability at risk. There are multiple commonly overlooked vulnerabilities that IBM i users should be aware of and rectify without delay.

Employees are either a company's greatest assets in the fight against cyberthreats or its biggest liabilities. It is vital that IBM i (AS/400) users practice good cybersecurity hygiene, adhere to the latest best practices and are intimately aware of the threat landscape.

Password management continues to be a major pain point for cybersecurity professionals. Some IBM i users continue to rely on their default login credentials to access their accounts despite the significant threat this behavior poses to organizational integrity. Employees may even repurpose their username for their password, making it far easier for a malicious actor to access their account, get inside the IBM i system and commit fraudulent activity.

It is also common for users to revert to default login credentials when requesting a password reset. Organizations must balance employees' desire for convenience and streamlined access with the need for robust security procedures.

Multi-factor authentication addresses password management pain points by requiring users to verify their identities using two or more criteria: something they know (e.g. password), something they have (e.g. mobile device) or something they are (e.g. bioscan identification). It insulates organizations against a potential breach in the event that an external source acquires account login credentials.

See how Syncsort's Assure Multi-Factor Authentication product can help secure user profiles on IBM i.

Companies need to tightly control what their IBM i users have access to, what database changes they are allowed to make and what system changes they have the ability to perform. That involves drawing a perimeter around the system to monitor every access point, including network connections, communication ports, database connections through open-source protocols, and command execution, among others.

Every access attempt should be quickly reviewed and either granted or denied authorization according to access control policies.

Syncsort can help you control IBM i user access. Learn more about Assure System Access Manager.

Businesses have many options when it comes to strong protection for data that is both at rest and in motion including encryption, tokenization, anonymization and managed file transfer solutions. Encryption is a prerequisite to cybersecurity excellence, and it should be applied wherever personally identifiable or sensitive information needs to be protected from unauthorized access.

Encryption and key management solutions are available today that protect highly sensitive IBM i data at the field level, such as credit card information, without the need for application change and with minimal performance impact.

Learn more about Assure Encryption

Compliance requirements must be addressed completely to protect an organization's interests. Regulatory rules such as GDPR, HIPAA and PCI DSS are often sweeping in their coverage and costly in their penalties.

Addressing every regulatory clause and requirement is difficult to achieve alone. Working with Syncsort or a Syncsort partner, companies can ensure their IBM i system complies with all relevant data privacy regulations and maintains compliance with the ever-expanding and increasingly-complex list of data security regulations.

Security and compliance monitoring tools spot changes that deviate from compliance guidelines, impact particularly sensitive data or exist outside the scope of accepted norms. Comprehensive audit trails ensure that organizations are able to document system changes and demonstrate compliance to relevant regulatory bodies.

Syncsort can help you meet compliance regulations. Learn more about Assure Monitoring and Reporting

The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, with new vulnerabilities emerging at a rapid clip and cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated with each passing year. It does not take long for cybersecurity best practices to become outdated.

Moreover, regulatory bodies often include annual IT risk assessments as a core requirement for compliance. Not all security auditors are experienced with the nuances of IBM i, however, complicating the auditing process. Conversely, IBM i administrators may lack the time or expertise to conduct a thorough assessment of security standards and identify vulnerabilities. Businesses must also be careful to separate risk assessment duties so the team responsible for administering the system is not also conducting audits and reviewing its own work.

Companies that infrequently execute risk assessments are effectively flying blind, unaware of where gaps in their security exist and how vulnerable their systems are. Businesses should run risk assessments at a regular cadence - with the help of an expert consultant, if need be - to identify potential points of exposure and address security gaps before they lead to a costly data breach.

For more information, download our solution sheet: Assure Security Risk Assessment

Protect your data and reduce risk

The continued popularity of the IBM i platform is a testament to the operating system's longevity, transaction processing performance and ability to run applications without change as new capabilities are added. Long-time adopters associate IBM i with reliability, and that reputation is certainly well-earned.

However, it would be a mistake to assume that IBM i can handle all security concerns on its own without layers of security around the operating system. IBM i can establish a sound foundation for security, but it is in an organization's best interest to build upon that foundation with additional layers of protection around the system and its data.


How much security does my company need?

With the threat of cybercrime mounting, business decision-makers must make security a major priority. Because IBM i is one of the most securable operating systems available, organizations should seize every opportunity to leverage and expand upon its capabilities to prevent vulnerabilities.

Perimeter defenses, system monitoring tools, advanced threat detection capabilities, compliance audits and encryption are all essential in today's cybersecurity environment. All organizations are at risk, regardless of their size, industry or footprint.

Data breaches often have long-standing effects, with victims requiring years to recover from the various financial losses, regulatory complications and reputational damages. Robust cybersecurity hygiene remains a moving target as threats mature and grow increasingly sophisticated. It's important that corporations never become complacent or lose sight of their cybersecurity goals.

For more information about cybersecurity, read our white paper, "Causes and Effects of Data Breaches".

Integrating IBM i (AS/400) security with enterprise tools?

Enterprise tools are in common use today to provide a 360-degree view of IT operations and system security, yet IBM i servers are not always integrated into that view. For some companies, their primary concern will be integrating IBM i with their security information event management (SIEM) consoles such as QRadar, LogRhythm, Splunk or others. SIEM solutions enable businesses to obtain greater visibility into the activities on their systems and more readily spot suspicious patterns that may indicate the presence of an unauthorized user or malicious actor.

Syncsort’s security solutions seamlessly integrate IBM i security data into SIEM consoles to achieve more comprehensive visibility and incorporate IBM i security data into existing monitoring processes.

Building out IBM i's security capabilities protects sensitive data and prevents hackers, cybercriminals and other malicious actors from compromising network and organizational integrity or accessing valuable internal assets. IBM i sets the foundation, but Syncsort can sculpt the best cybersecurity solution possible.

Cilasoft QJRN/400

Read our Solution Sheet:
Assure Monitoring and Reporting

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