Many of you do a fantastic job of making sure your data is backed up regularly. Changes in the operating system in the past few releases have made that process easier. But are you also backing up your security data? Answering this question requires an understanding of where security data is stored.
Security Information Stored with the Object
Some security information is stored with the objects (files, libraries, directories, etc.), such as the object's *PUBLIC authority, the owner and owner's authority, the primary group and primary group's authority, and the auditing value, as well as the name of the authorization list securing the object. When you save your files, run the SAV command, or save the non-system libraries, this is the security information that is backed up.
Saving Your Security Data
If you're saving only your objects, you're missing several critical pieces of security data. Running the Save Security Data (SAVSECDTA) or Save System (SAVSYS) command saves the rest of the security information—that is, all user profiles, private authorities, and authorization lists.
How Often Should I Save My Security Data?
How often you perform a SAVSECDTA really depends on how often user profiles are created, changed, or removed from the system. You must also consider how often private authorities are granted or removed from individual objects and authorization lists and how often authorization lists are created or deleted. For example, if you save your security data at the beginning of the month and you have to recover your system at the end of the month, how many user profiles will you have to re-create?
In addition, consider how many user profiles you've removed from the system (due to terminations or inactivity) that are going to reappear once you restore the user profiles during the recovery process. After looking through your organization's security activity, you may determine that you need to save your security data more often.
Finally, if you are in the process of changing your security configuration—that is, altering the *PUBLIC authority of objects, securing files with authorization lists, removing users' excess special authorities, etc. —you're going to want to save your security data more often so that you don't lose all of those important configuration updates.
Just as you should back up your i5/OS security data on a regular basis, you should also take a look at your third-party vendor solutions to determine if they contain information that requires backup. For example, the SkyView Risk Assessor and Policy Minder products each have a program library and a data library. If you're running one of these products, the data libraries (SKYVIEWRAD and SKYVIEWPMD) should be added to your backup schedule so that you are backing up the products' configuration options and, in the case of Policy Minder, any templates you've created.
When examining your third-party solutions, you'll also want to think about the reports or other data they produce. For example, in the case of SkyView Risk Assessor, you may need to retain the documentation produced by the product for compliance reasons. In this case, you'd save the contents of the directory /SKYVIEW/Risk Assessor.
Recovering your system is never fun. So ensuring you have all of the data necessary to get your organization back into business is critical. I encourage you to take some time and examine your third-party vendor solutions to see whether they need to be added to your backup schedule and whether you are saving your security data often enough.
See Skyview's other offerings in the MC Showcase Buyer's Guide.
Carol Woodbury is president and co-founder of SkyView Partners Inc., a company specializing in security policy and compliance software and services. Carol is a system security expert, a noted author, and an award-winning presenter. Along with Pat Botz, Carol is the author of Experts' Guide to OS/400 & i5/OS Security.