Partner TechTip: Painless Audits? Really! PDF Print E-mail
Tips & Techniques - Security
Written by Robin Tatam   
Friday, 20 November 2009 00:00

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Phone: 1-800-915-7700

Email: info@powertech.com

PowerTech Web site: www.powertech.com

 

The PowerTech Group is the leading expert in automated security solutions for IBM Power® Systems running IBM i (System i®, iSeries®, and AS/400®), helping users manage today’s compliance regulations and data privacy threats. Companies worldwide rely on PowerTech security solutions.

Assess security vulnerabilities on an IBM i server in 15 minutes.

 

Few words strike fear in the heart of senior executives as much as security and compliance. Satisfying stringent audit requirements has become an initiative for companies of every size, in every industry.

Performing an Audit

A common mistake when trying to "get compliant" is to begin making changes before you have a clear idea about what needs to be addressed. The first step of any security initiative should be to document the current configuration and compare it to your objectives. (Even if your goal is simply to secure your system, you can use your security policy as an internal marker to gauge success.)

 

There are several options to help you identify vulnerabilities and determine what you can do to remedy them.

 

1. Formal Independent Assessment—A formal assessment is a thorough review of your system infrastructure, performed by an organization that is experienced in assessing the IBM i platform. The assessment analyzes numerous areas of your security configuration and provides recommendations for improvement.

2. Self-Performed Audit—Performing your own assessment is less costly than a formal assessment, though it might not be as thorough. If your company has the skills to perform this type of assessment, it might be a good way to start.

3. Automated Assessment—Although not as detailed as a formal audit, an automated assessment, such as PowerTech's Compliance Audit, can rapidly assess the current state of security on your server.

Start with a PowerTech Compliance Assessment

PowerTech's Compliance Assessment reviews six important categories of security configuration. The process takes just 15 minutes and displays the results in a browser-based application (see Figure 1). You can run the Compliance Assessment without cost or obligation, and PowerTech even provides an IBM i security specialist to help you interpret the results.

 

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Figure 1: A PowerTech Compliance Assessment reviews your system security configuration. (Click image to enlarge.)

Performing the Assessment

When you register for a Compliance Assessment, we send you a link to download the application. Once installed, you enter the name of the server you want to assess and a user profile with *ALLOBJ and *SECADM authority. When the assessment completes, the results display in your PC browser.

Interpreting the Assessment Findings

A knowledgeable IBM i security specialist helps you interpret the assessment findings, which include the following areas:

 

  • Executive Summary—A high-level ranking of the server, it summarizes the six areas of review using red, yellow, and green indicators.
  • Administrative Rights—One of the biggest areas of vulnerability on most systems is user capabilities. Reviewing how administrative rights are assigned is a critical part of the assessment.
  • Public Authority—This section measures public user access to the libraries on the server and is a good indicator of how easy it is to gain access to application data.
  • User Access—If you rely on legacy controls such as command-line restrictions and menu security, it's possible for users to circumvent those controls using network services such as FTP, ODBC, and remote command, often without auditing.
  • System Security—The assessment analyzes a number of important system values. Ensuring compliance of system values should be a standard part of ongoing audits.
  • User Security—This category reviews user profiles, including which profiles haven't been used for at least 30 days, how many have default passwords, and which profiles can by used by other users to execute jobs and potentially gain unauthorized access.
  • System Auditing—IBM i can audit system events, user activities, and object accesses. The assessment checks the security audit journal, as well as identifies which events currently are being audited.

The Next Step

If the Compliance Assessment identifies vulnerabilities, the security specialist can provide suggestions you can use to protect your system. These recommendations may include changes to operating system controls, as well as a discussion about procedures you can adopt for best-practice security.

Additional Reading

PowerTech publishes an annual study on The State of System i Security. This white paper is a compilation of the compliance assessment data that has been collected throughout the year, plus expert analysis of the statistics. To download the latest edition, go to www.powertech.com.

 

Register now for your free Compliance Assessment.

 

 


Robin Tatam
About the Author:

Robin Tatam is the Director of Security Technologies for PowerTech, a leading provider of security solutions for the System i. As a frequent speaker on security topics, he was also co-author of the Redbook IBM System i Security: Protecting i5/OS Data with Encryption. Robin can be reached at 952.563.2768 or robin.tatam@powertech.com.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 09:43
 
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