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Partner TechTip: How to Scrub User Profiles for a Pending Audit

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Ensure that user profile settings match the user's needs but nothing more.


Most of us have inherited our users and had no involvement in their profile creation or granting of authorities. Many existing profiles are copies of legacy profiles created when removing a command line from a green-screen menu afforded reasonable protection, even from an *ALLOBJ user.


Many users have changed departments and roles over the years, and there is no continuity as to how authority was granted or who has what. Creating new profiles and changing existing profiles to have appropriate authorities is a daunting task. Nevertheless, it must be done in order to become compliant and pass your audits.

The Age of Compliance

Way back in 1996, the folks at ISACA created what would become one of the most pervasive umbrella frameworks for IT management best practices and governance in use today: Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology, or COBIT.


In the mid-'90s, non-programmable workstations (aka "dumb terminals") were in use, so the exposures inherent to PC connectivity weren't as great. Most of us were on an AS/400 with menu-based security. Many shops relied heavily on "security by obscurity," with fancy "Control Objectives" like COBIT the furthest thing from our collective minds. That was all about to change.


The new millennium brought headlines of computer security breaches; the implosion of major companies with investors losing billions of dollars; not to mention corporate and auditing malfeasance.


Almost overnight, a new lexicon of regulatory initiatives and their acronyms were introduced. GLBA, FISMA, PCI DSS, and SOX quickly became part of our vocabulary. In some way, all were intended to ensure privacy and data integrity, and most leveraged the framework articulated in COBIT.


Many of the COBIT guidelines rely upon good, old-fashioned common sense. For example, COBIT Guideline DS5.3 for Identity Management states:


"All users (internal, external and temporary) and their activity on IT systems (business application, system operation, development and maintenance) should be uniquely identifiable. User access rights to systems and data should be in line with defined and documented business needs and job requirements…. User identities and access rights are maintained in a central repository. Cost-effective technical and procedural measures are deployed and kept current to establish user identification, implement authentication and enforce access rights."


We should be able to discern our users and their activities, and they should have a demonstrable need to access data based upon their position in the company. A visit to a single location should provide us with information concerning their identity and authority. That sounds easy, but in practice it is not. Especially when you have a large user community spread over multiple systems.

Enter PowerAdmin

With PowerTech PowerAdmin, the onboarding, deletion, and management of any IBM i profile can be facilitated from a single point of control, eliminating the need for an administrator to sign on to each server. With PowerAdmin's reports and templates, user profile settings match the needs of the user's department and position, helping you comply with stringent regulations mandated by PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other regulatory initiatives.

How Does It Work?

Depending upon your needs and long-term goals, PowerAdmin can provide multi-layered Centralized User Profile Management.

  • Associate People with Profiles.  Once you associate a person with a profile, PowerAdmin manages the profile automatically.
  • Define Your Departments and Positions. Base departments and positions on the structure of your company. Each position (clerk, sales rep, CSR, etc.) is assigned to a  department and then associated with a template that dictates what the appropriate profile settings and authorities shall be. Templates ensure consistency is maintained across all profiles for the same position.
  • Streamline Onboarding. Once departments, positions, and templates have been defined, onboarding is seamless. From a single screen, PowerAdmin automatically facilitates the creation of user profiles across all managed systems, based upon your template criteria.
  • Manage Existing Profiles. Incorporate existing profiles into PowerAdmin for automated management. Once a profile has been associated with a department/position template, PowerAdmin can change the profile to match the template, ensuring consistency and appropriateness of authority. Should your needs change, simply change the template and PowerAdmin distributes the update to all corresponding user profiles across all systems.
  • Leverage Centralized Reporting.  PowerAdmin provides comprehensive  documentation of user profiles, history, and settings.

Power Admin helps companies easily satisfy the requirements for accountability that IT auditors are demanding. Download a free 30-day trial today.


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..



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