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Partner TechTip: Let's Review!

Security - Other
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So you've made your system compliant. Now you're done, right? Wrong!


Compliance is not a one-time event. Without regularly scheduled reviews, you can fall out of compliance. Let's discuss some of those reviews.

Security Policy

Many laws and regulations require that your security policy be reviewed at least annually. Things change. Organizations may merge and/or purchase other lines of business. Also, you need to address the use of new technology within your organization. If your security policy is four or five years old, it probably doesn't specify whether removable storage devices are permitted, and it certainly doesn't address the need to encrypt PCI or other private data or address whether blogging or using social networking sites is acceptable.

Group Profile Membership

Group membership also needs regular review. If you've followed my advice and implemented role-based access via group profiles, this becomes a review of whether the users in the group are still in the role represented by the group and whether the role still needs the special authorities assigned. If you're using SkyView Policy Minder, you can create a user profile template that includes all of the members of a particular group. Then you can run the Print Compliance (PRTCPL) command, requesting that both the compliant and non-compliant members be listed in the CSV file. This file can then be sent to the appropriate manager via a spreadsheet for review. Regular compliance checks using this template will ensure that all of the members of the group or role are configured correctly.


Why review group or role membership? You will find all users who have changed jobs during the year yet remain in their previous position's group.

Special Authorities

If you've disciplined yourself to grant special authorities only to group profiles, this review is taken care of with the group membership review. If you haven't, you'll need to review the list of profiles that have been given a special authority. This review will be easy if you've been running regular compliance checks with Policy Minder. By creating a template that includes all users with a special authority and setting the "Allow new user profile" attribute to *NO, the compliance check will identify any new user profile that's been created with, changed to have, or restored with the special authority named in the template. If you address these profiles as they are identified in the compliance check, then checking the list of users with the special authority should only be a confirmation of what you're already comfortable with. If you're not checking who has the special authorities on a regular basis, you'll have to review the list of profiles with each special authority.


As you review, think about whether the user or role has job functions requiring this capability. If not, remove the special authority. To list the users with each special authority using Policy Minder, create a user profile template for each special authority. Include users based on the special authority, specify *NO for the "Allow new user profile" attribute, and run a compliance check. Using the Output Compliance (OUTCPL) command, request that both compliant and non-compliant items be included in the resulting CSV file for review.

Authorization Lists

Authorization lists provide a way to secure multiple objects with the same authorities. Over time, users get added to the list. Some are appropriate; many are not. You can use the Authorization List category in Policy Minder to make sure you know when a profile has been added to or removed from an authorization list. If you are running regular compliance checks, the list of profiles authorized to each authorization list is simply a review of what you already know. If you don't look at the lists regularly, you'll need to generate and review the list of profiles authorized to each list. During one such review, a client realized that the group containing most users on the system had been granted authority to the authorization list securing the organization's extremely confidential and private data. Worse, the group had been given the ability to update or change the data. Because they had not been checking the authorization list regularly, no one knew how long the inappropriate access had been in place.


How SkyView Partners Can Help

If you're unfamiliar with Policy Minder, feel free to contact us for information, request a customized return on investment analysis, or request a free trial. Or register for a Webinar to see how Policy Minder can help reduce the time and complexity of these annual reviews.

Carol Woodbury


Carol Woodbury is IBM i Security SME and Senior Advisor to Kisco Systems, a firm focused on providing IBM i security solutions. Carol has over 30 years’ experience with IBM i security, starting her career as Security Team Leader and Chief Engineering Manager for iSeries Security at IBM in Rochester, MN. Since leaving IBM, she has co-founded two companies: SkyView Partners and DXR Security. Her practical experience and her intimate knowledge of the system combine for a unique viewpoint and experience level that cannot be matched.

Carol is known worldwide as an author and award-winning speaker on security technology, specializing in IBM i security topics. She has written seven books on IBM i security, including her two current books, IBM i Security Administration and Compliance, 3rd Edition and Mastering IBM i Security, A Modern, Step-by-Step Approach. Carol has been named an IBM Champion since 2018 and holds her CISSP and CRISC security certifications.

MC Press books written by Carol Woodbury available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

IBM i Security Administration and Compliance: Third Edition
Don't miss the newest edition by the industry’s #1 IBM i security expert.
List Price $71.95

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Mastering IBM i Security Mastering IBM i Security
Get the must-have guide by the industry’s #1 security authority.
List Price $49.95

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