CIO Survey: Mainframe More Secure Than Other Systems But 78% Say Insider Threats Are A Blind Spot

  • Infrastructure
  • 06.06.2017 11:00 am

Compuware Corporation, the world’s leading mainframe-dedicated software company, today released a survey of financial services CIOs showing that while most (86%) say their mainframe is more secure than other systems, the majority (78%) say they are still exposed to a significant risk of insider threats due to blind-spots in internal data access and controls.

The survey was conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne, and administered in April to 400 CIOs at large companies (including 66 respondents from the financial services sector) covering a cross-section of vertical markets in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the U.S. Key findings include: 

  • 59% of organizations in financial services use the mainframe as a core repository of their most sensitive data, storing either more or equal amounts of customers’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII) there as they do on other systems.
  • 86% of financial services organizations said their mainframe is more secure than other systems, with a further 14% saying it was equally as secure, underscoring why their most sensitive data is stored on the mainframe.
  • 78% of organizations in financial services said they have a “blind spot” concerning what mainframe data is being accessed and how it’s being used.
  • 84% also find it difficult to track who has accessed data stored on the mainframe, exposing them to an increased risk of insider threats.

“The mainframe has always been the most securable platform in the enterprise; which is why organizations continue to entrust their most sensitive data to it,” said John Crossno, product manager, Compuware. “However, businesses still face the risk that privileged employees, or those who have acquired access illegally, will misuse mainframe data. Organizations must take steps to gain more visibility over who is accessing data and how they are using it.”

The research further revealed that the most common measures being used to overcome insider security risks include:

  • Saving security log files for future reference (79%)
  • Regularly scanning security logs for inconsistencies (68%) 
  • Using a SIEM system to perform security analytics using mainframe data (80%)
  • Using a SIEM system to combine mainframe data with security data from other systems (45%)

However, just 2% of financial services organizations monitor user and database activity to tackle insider threats on the mainframe.

“Most enterprises rely solely on disparate logs and SMF data from security products such as RACF to piece together user behaviour,” added Crossno. “Even those who are integrating that data into their SIEM aren’t getting the level of insight needed to identify a malicious insider. Organizations need deep insight into what data was viewed, by whom and which applications were used to access it. This can only be achieved by directly capturing complete, start-to- finish user session activity data in real time, and integrating it into a SIEM platform such as Splunk for deep analysis.”

To help organizations better meet todays’ security challenges, Compuware has published the white paper, “Mainframe Security in a Hybrid/Mobile World: New Best Practices for the New Threat Matrix.” The paper presents six straightforward, non-disruptive measures to help organisations address insider threats on the mainframe.

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