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Top IT Concerns

Modernization and Security

We’ve heard it at trade shows and read about it in surveys: The top challenges for IBM Power Systems* clients are security, high availability and modernization. It’s no surprise because every CIO needs to keep their data safe and available in order to stay competitive—all while keeping the company’s name out of headlines covering the latest security breach.

Here, we delve deeper into these hot topics and offer some resources to help IT teams tackle them.


With business data breaches, ransomware attacks and evolving regulations, securing IBM Power Systems servers is top of mind for many. These three forces are driving a top-down approach to security with CIOs—and even CEOs—asking tough questions of their staff and demanding proof their servers are safe.

HelpSystems’ annual State of IBM i Security Study (bit.ly/2sPSGNN) revealed the No. 1 security issue on Power Systems: configuration. IBM i and AIX* servers are highly securable, but years of reliably flying under the radar at many organizations have resulted in poorly configured security settings that leave these servers vulnerable to data breaches -and cyberattacks.

IBM i and AIX are not impenetrable—depending on the security configuration, the so-called WannaCry Ransomware and other viruses can impact Power Systems servers. There have been no reports of WannaCry compromising IBM i and AIX servers as of this writing, but administrators should be on notice because viruses and ransomware have impacted both platforms in the past.

Compliance challenges loom as well: Starting in February 2018, the PCI DSS will require the use of multifactor authentication technology (bit.ly/2rNzHiC). The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which marks a major shift in data privacy laws and carries heavy fines for noncompliant organizations, will take effect in May 2018 (bit.ly/2sIlEP9). With origins in the European Union (EU), GDPR impacts any organization that stores the personal data of EU citizens. Encrypting data stored in Db2*) and securing managed file transfers (MFT) will become increasingly important, so it’s best to start early.

High Availability

There’s also a compliance argument for IBM i high availability (HA) when an organization requires high uptime in order to reduce risks to an acceptable level as part of their disaster recovery (DR) plan. Today’s regulations require banks to have redundant and highly available data, and it’s just a matter of time before other industries require this, too. Executives expect their data to be secure and available. Unfortunately, many assume this is already the case in their organizations, but they need to ask and listen to their staff to understand what they really have.

Tom Huntington is vice president of Technical Services at Help/Systems Inc. Tom can be reached at tom.Huntington@helpsystems.com.



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