Partner TechTip: Simplify Security and Data Access

Security - Other
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Protect your data; protect your business.


People have always had to protect their assets or belongings from attackers or thieves. In the virtual world, data is our most protected asset, especially since attackers can steal data without it ever leaving the computer it's stored on.


Businesses today are aware of the potential threat of losing their data to outside hackers. Your list of clients, their demographics and credit card information, product specifications, and employee data are all types of data that are valuable to others outside of your organization. You need protection at every turn. Employees may inadvertently or intentionally access your data for their own benefit, which may be counter to that of your business.


Every piece of hardware or software you've installed and use needs some level of protection, such as firewalls and passwords, to block or limit access to your data from outside and inside your walls. Even though training and awareness programs have been shown to have an effect on insider breaches, unless you block them, they're going to happen.


Companies running on IBM i are hesitant to allow users access to Query/400 or more powerful tools like SEQUEL ViewPoint for fear of giving their users a back door to their data, but with proper planning and security, this door can be closed or at least limited.


IBM i has always had good security when it is utilized, offering system-level security at levels 10 through 50. A level 30 setting allows for password and object security. A user can be blocked from using or even seeing an object on the system, such as the HR/Payroll library. If this data is combined with other data, users can be blocked from the specific files themselves.


On top of IBM i security, SEQUEL administrators can utilize SEQUEL Field Level Authorization. This additional filter can be applied after the system object authority has limited users to objects they are normally authorized to. It doesn't replace system security; it enhances it.


Another nice feature of the IBM i is group profiles. You can group user IDs based on their function, and then groups can be blocked from or allowed into the data files. This feature streamlines maintenance of the security systems. SEQUEL Field Level Authorization recognizes groups as well.


SEQUEL security is easily set up with the ViewPoint Administrator. This feature can allow access to a specific file but not to certain fields within that file. For example, HR may need to see the Employee Master File for basic employee demographics, but they are not authorized to see an employee's social security number, pay rate, or salary. SEQUEL Field Level Authorization can set up those users to see only the data they actually need to see.


SEQUEL Field Level Authorization starts with a system-wide Inclusion/Exclusion Dictionary, which allows administrators to indicate which users should be restricted from specific libraries, files, or fields in your database.


You can specify restrictions for individual user profiles, members in a group profile, or all users on the system. Each authority search made by the user interface determines whether a specific user, a group profile, or all users on the system are excluded from accessing the database object.


This is a simpler process than relying on metadata, cubes, or data warehouses. While those might sound reasonable on the surface, upon further analysis, you'll find they can be tedious and time-consuming. Does your staff have the time and resources to set up, configure, and maintain another layer? Most businesses today would say no; their time is better spent elsewhere. This is not to say security is less important than application improvements; it's actually quite the contrary.


Your security and access can be simplified and still work to the levels you need. See how SEQUEL can bring true data empowerment to your organization. Try it free for 30 days or download the Data Access and Control Brief to read more about how the right data access solution can reduce the workload in your IT department.