The value of data has escalated, and with it, threats to data security. Since a mainframe environment has countless users simultaneously carrying out a wide range of applications, it needs a multi-layered approach to security, including access control, user identification, and authentication, and other advanced security measures.
Mainframes are mission-critical for many businesses, keeping operations up and running in various sectors. A vast bulk of the corporate data resides on the mainframe. Mainframes process financial information, health data, personally identifying information (PII), and other types of highly sensitive data, making it a key target for intruders. With the data breaches costing businesses millions, they cannot afford a breach.
Yet, businesses take the security of their mainframes for granted. Every system comes with weaknesses, and the mainframe is no exception – they are not impenetrable.
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As per the recent BMC Annual Mainframe Survey, 63% of mainframe executives and practitioners have said security and compliance is their top priority for the platform. This comes as no surprise since complex environments hinder current cyber security approaches with manual workflows, alert fatigue, and lack of mainframe security expertise.
CISOs and CIOs need to avoid these kinds of risks, and it is more important than ever for enterprises to automate mainframe security processes and procedures.
The Need for Sophisticated Security
After almost 55 years since its introduction, mainframe security is again becoming increasingly important as the platform is experiencing unprecedented growth.
As per Allied Market Research, “the global mainframe market size was valued at $2,094.12 million in 2017, and is projected to reach $2,906.61 million by 2025, registering a CAGR of 4.3% from 2018 to 2025.”
Despite the perception that businesses worldwide run mostly on the cloud, mainframes continue to power businesses across sectors.
Security on the mainframe is a big challenge for businesses. Even though security is a priority, many are unaware of the need to secure mainframes after such many years of robust performance. Staffing and skills shortages related to mainframes are another big concern.
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Furthermore, security teams are overwhelmed by the challenges ranging from false positives to unpatched vulnerabilities. The complexity caused by a lack of security consolidation across multiple platforms is an added challenge.
A significant threat to mainframe security is credential theft. Remote connections into a mainframe can enable threat actors to leverage vulnerabilities and weak security controls to gain access through a back door.
In the era of increasing threats, mainframe security cannot be assumed. Enterprises that depend on the mainframe as a critical piece of a larger transaction processing system potentially expose vast volumes of data when its security status is not certain. IT security leaders need to sure that the entire infrastructure is secure.
The Role of AI and Automation
The renewed attention on the mainframe highlights the need for adaptive security for the platform. Adaptive cyber security can continuously learn, evolve, adapt to any threat, minimize risks, and meet compliance requirements simultaneously. It can ease critical concerns like data protection, reducing endpoint security risks, and improving security detection and response.
Automation and AI can ease the mainframe security dilemma by applying pattern analysis, predictive analytics, use machine learning, and data correlation to security threat identification and mitigation. This is a vital step to becoming an autonomous digital enterprise, where technology can help free up staff from mundane tasks, and allow them to focus on driving business growth.