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Security and automation – keys for a modern host system

by   in Application Modernization

The recent IDC white paper, commissioned by OpenText, The Modern Mainframe – Automated, Protected, Connected, states that traditional host systems can be key for digital transformation as the applications that run on these platforms are of high business value. To get full value from mainframe systems and data, organizations must integrate the host with modern systems. However, integration has challenges – the greatest being security. This post reviews two considerations for accelerating digital transformation initiatives using the mainframe – security and automation.

1.    Security and mainframe access

An IDC survey found that 42% of organizations with IBM Z experienced 10–100 successful security attacks in 2022. As a result, 21% of organizations have suffered significant data theft due to a security attack, 20% saw significant data loss, 17% suffered significant loss of revenue, and 16% faced regulatory penalties.

Mainframe access must meet modern security standards. This means that organizations must know who is connecting to the network and ensuring they are authorized to access sensitive data is typically done on an identity and access management (IAM) system. However, for most mainframe organizations the IAM system that is used in the enterprise is not the same system that is used on the host. To ensure complete protection and consistency across the organization, the same IAM should be used on the host as is used on the enterprise. This will help create secure host application access, enabling regulatory compliance and helping to prevent cyberattacks.

To further increase security for host access, organizations can implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). As cyberattacks and breaches increase, mainframe organizations face two major challenges: Many users are accessing the mainframe using an eight-character, case insensitive password; and organizations often struggle with having separate MFA appliances – one for the mainframe and one for the enterprise. The solution is to eliminate eight-character passwords through strong access controls and unify authentication by extending the same MFA to the host as is used in the enterprise.

2. Mainframe automation

Mainframe automation, specifically, robotic process automation (RPA) is another essential part of modernizing host access. IDC states that, automation is the number two priority for organizations.

RPA automates complicated business processes by orchestrating data exchange between desktop, web, and terminal-based applications. Robots do the work of communicating with applications in attended and unattended scenarios. The goal for these two scenarios is to reduce errors, decrease costs, increase productivity, improve customer service, and make better use of human resources. The mainframe can be part of RPA initiatives.

IDC White Paper: The Modern Mainframe – Automated, Protected, Connected

To learn more, be sure to download the IDC white paper The Modern Mainframe – Automated, Protected, Connected. This white paper gives more key information on modernization, security and automation for host access and reviews challenges facing mainframe organizations and solutions for these challenges.


View our on-demand webinar to learn more: Security and automation – keys for a modern host system.

OpenText Solutions

OpenText offers solutions for secure host access and automation. For secure host access, Host Access Management and Security Server allows you to leverage your current IAM to authenticate your users to host access and it allows you to extend your enterprise MFA solution to the mainframe. Host Access for the Cloud allows you to do the same, as well as offering a zero-footprint cloud-based host access solution, giving you increased security while decreasing costs and overhead for mainframe access. For integrating RPA with the mainframe, both UI and API based automation, OpenText offers Host Access for RPA, allowing you to increase productivity, decrease errors, and better utilize mainframe resources.

If you would like more information about the solutions for RPA and MFA for host access, be sure to reach out to us here. And to learn more about securing and automating host access visit the webpage Mainframe Access and Security.

OpenText Blog

Be sure to read my post on the OpenText blog for more information, The Modern Mainframe is Automated, Protected and Connected


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