Tue, Oct
0 New Articles

Partner TechTip: How to Maintain Your Data Integrity

Security - Other
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times


File Integrity Monitoring techniques prevent unauthorized configuration and data changes from occurring unnoticed.


File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) helps ensure that your critical and sensitive data is viewed and changed only by authorized personnel through approved channels. Candidates for FIM include application files containing sensitive data, such as personnel or financial data, and server configuration files. FIM is a requirement of several regulatory standards, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).  

Baseline Validation vs. Real-time Monitoring

There are two main techniques for monitoring file integrity.


Baseline validation can be an effective method for determining that a configuration file has been altered from its desired state. Taking a copy of the file—typically after any authorized change—establishes the baseline. Comparing the current file to the baseline determines whether there are any discrepancies (although the source and timing of the event that caused the discrepancy may remain unknown).


Real-time monitoring doesn't require a baseline, as it monitors for changes as they occur. While this methodology can affect performance, its benefits can be significant. Notification of non-compliance is usually timelier than updates with occasional baseline validation; plus, real-time monitoring will record an event even if the file is returned to its desired state prior to the next validation.


Depending on the nature of the file and the data, the best approach is to utilize both methodologies. Both methods require someone to be responsible for reviewing changes to determine whether they were authorized.

FIM on IBM i

Compared to some operating systems, IBM i doesn't rely heavily on files for its configuration. Instead, many of the controls that dictate how the server will operate are managed through system values. The IBM i auditing facility records when system values are altered, so the job of the security officer becomes watching for when those events occur and whether the change leaves the server non-compliant.


Monitoring changes to database files, which typically hold an application's configuration and data, can be accomplished using facilities provided by the operating system (compare physical file member, triggers, journaling). But while these facilities are part of a successful FIM infrastructure, they are not designed for that purpose, and each has specific shortcomings when used alone.

PowerTech FIM Solutions

PowerTech has designed a portfolio of solutions that leverage and extend the core features of IBM i. Many provide specific benefits to an organization embarking on a FIM initiative.


  • DataThread—Built on an operating system foundation, DataThread monitors files in real time for unauthorized activities—regardless of their source—including field-level changes made through low-level utilities like DFU. Real-time email alerts, electronic signatures, and powerful filtering capabilities virtually eliminate false positives caused by approved applications, ensuring no change passes unnoticed. For highly sensitive data, DataThread can notify the instant that data is viewed.
  • Network Security—Permissive object-level authority renders IBM i audit controls useless when access originates from client applications like FTP, ODBC, and remote command. Much like an internal firewall, Network Security provides auditing and access control for non-traditional interfaces. 
  • Compliance Monitor—A highly-scalable compliance and audit reporting solution, Compliance Monitor provides visibility to hundreds of IBM i configuration settings. Forensic reports over event-based audit journal entries are complemented by its impressive baseline validation functions for system values.
  • Interact—With visibility to IBM i audit entries—as well as to requests logged by Network Security—Interact facilitates real-time notification to an enterprise syslog sever or messaging solution. The source-filtering capabilities of Interact ensure that only important events are escalated.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Timely reaction to unauthorized changes can mean the difference between an attempted breach and an actual breach. Combining IBM i with PowerTech solutions makes it viable to monitor and alert on unusual activity—even if your configuration suffers from overly powerful users or open public access.


Are you considering a FIM initiative? The following process can help you implement smoothly: 

  • Determine if FIM is mandated.
  • Identify and locate sensitive data.
  • Identify critical configuration values.
  • Implement PowerTech solutions to monitor and report on non-compliance.

In addition to offering leading security and compliance solutions, PowerTech publishes exclusive content on IBM security. Its new white paper on adopting FIM requirements for IBM i discusses in greater detail how security products can simplify your FIM initiative. For the white paper and more information on PowerTech solutions, visit www.powertech.com.  


Robin Tatam

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: