PowerTech's security software helps Seneca Gaming Corporation play the security game and win by auditing, monitoring, and controlling user activity.
For centuries, the Seneca people have made their home in the western portion of what is now New York State. During their proud, rich history, they relied heavily on hunting, fishing, and agriculture for food. They were great conquerors and fierce adversaries, as well as sophisticated politicians with centuries of democratic savvy. By 1848, they had developed their own constitution and elective government, and officially became the Seneca Nation of Indians.
More than 160 years later, the Seneca Nation still supports its people and benefits the surrounding communities with a variety of cultural, educational, and economic endeavors, including world-class casino gaming and hospitality. Today, the Seneca Gaming Corporation (SGC), a wholly owned, tribally chartered corporation of the Seneca Nation, runs the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, and the Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course.
PowerTech Means IBM i Security
The SGC has a fairly large IBM i presence, including multiple production, development, test, and training systems, in a High Availability (HA) environment. They rely heavily on their IBM i servers to run their distributed properties, including casinos, hotels, resorts, retail outlets, event centers, restaurants, and other lines of business. They manage their casinos using the ACSC products for IBM i servers from Bally Casino Management Systems (CMS) and Slot Management Systems (SMS).
Renita DiStefano is currently Vice President of Information Technology for the SGC. Previously, she was the Director of IT Security with a focus on system security, as well as regulatory and compliance efforts, including Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) preparedness. She and the SGC team members quickly recognized the value of the PowerTech tools to help secure their critical systems.
A Roadmap to Better Security
To start, SGC team members used PowerTech's free Compliance Assessment for prioritizing security efforts. "It became a roadmap as we prepared our policy standards, procedures, and other documentation," says Renita. "It helped us take a risk-based approach, identify critical systemic changes, focus on our strategy, and let us compare ourselves to industry best practices.
"A PowerTech consultant performed the assessment at our site and worked with us on recommendations and risk rankings. Creating a security policy was also important. We were doing a lot of things right with security, but having a written policy sets the tone for all team members."
What About the Auditors?
The SGC also had to determine if auditing requirements should be part of daily or weekly operations. As Renita explains, "We needed to meet the regulatory requirements of the Seneca Gaming Authority, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI, and the National Indian Gaming Commission Minimum Internal Controls. We put a self-auditing plan in motion to proactively audit ourselves. We started using the PowerTech products to analyze system data and user profile information to completely understand profiles, special authorities, and service accounts. Now, we're able to navigate the auditing process faster, which allows us to be prepared every minute."
Renita continues, "First, we installed Compliance Monitor for compliance and regulatory reports. Then, we added Authority Broker to grant special authorities on a need-to-have basis and to have an audit log that lets our programmers access production systems. Authority Broker provides a safety net.
"We're using Interact to talk to our message monitoring and operations tools. We wanted real-time notification for software like Data File Utility (DFU). We want to make sure that the use of high-risk commands is authorized in advance and that there's visibility and transparency in the transaction. No one should be surprised when they're notified that a powerful command was used."
The SGC is subject to multiple National Indian Gaming Association regulatory control frameworks, which means they need a sophisticated network monitoring solution. "Network Security is a very powerful tool," says Renita. "It can give you insight about what's happening with your systems and identify good and questionable activity. Your FTP and ODBC activity levels change when someone installs a new application. Network Security can help you 'see' the transactions you expect, as well as the ones you don't expect."
Mastering Internal Controls
Maintaining internal controls also is critical for the SGC's operations. "The PowerTech products that help us the most with our internal controls are Authority Broker for everyday operations and Compliance Monitor for reporting," says Renita. "Doing the right thing with your systems is often easier than proving it. So, we integrate Compliance Monitor reporting with our Help Desk ticketing system. We attach the Compliance Monitor report and add a journal entry that management has reviewed, plus any recommended action. The combination of a Help Desk ticket, a work order, a report for management review, and action items is perfect for the auditors."
What Does the Future Hold?
According to Renita, the SGC team is constantly looking to stay ahead of the curve. "We regard PowerTech as a partner rather than just a vendor," she says. "We expect our partners to understand the business capabilities we are reaching for and how to manage them securely. There's a limited pool of resources in the marketplace with real IBM i security knowledge. So, we look to PowerTech's experience—that's their real value. Anyone can provide a toolbox and a set of tools, but we need to know the risk of change and how to mitigate it. It's all about expertise, and PowerTech is simply the best at what they do."