Security Information and Event Management

Mainframes don’t need SIEMs, do they?

Mainframes come with plenty of security – why should they use a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), when it doesn’t even run on the mainframe? This is pretty much the opening argument from most mainframers when talking about SIEMs, and, at first glance, it seems pretty reasonable, but is it?

SIEM software products and services combine Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM). They provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware. SIEM products that you may have come across include: ArcSight and IBM QRadar, Splunk, LogRhythm, McAfee Enterprise Security Manager, Dell RSA Security Analytics, or Dell SecureWorks.

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Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology – the hype versus the reality

(Forget about the Drugs and Rock & Roll… it’s all about the SECS.)

Blockchain technology could change the world as we know it, or so the hype would have us believe.  Is blockchain technology really all that it’s hyped up to be?  Let’s compare the traditional centralized technology approach with the new kid on the block(chain), FinTech Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) aka Decentralized database technology.  To put things into a more balanced perspective, let’s focus on some basics – specifically, the SECS:  S (Security), E (Efficiency), C (Costs/Compliance), and S (Speed).

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Betty White

Does McKinsey Hate Betty White?

Betty White rocks.  I mean, she hosted Saturday Night Live—and won an Emmy for it—at the age of 88.  At 93, she is still winning awards for shows like Hot in Cleveland and Off Their Rockers, where she is also executive producer.

McKinsey apparently thinks Betty White is out of line.  At least that’s the way it seems based on their advocacy of “two-speed IT,” wherein the mainframe is allowed to slowly plod along while Agile/DevOps innovation is restricted to newer web platforms.

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Mainframe Batch

Mainframe batch challenges – and solutions

The ancient datacenter game of tug-of-war between the need for more computing power, and the need to more closely control ongoing IT costs is never-ending, and continues, as intensely as ever, in today’s large business datacenters.

And with the mainframe enclosed firmly within its no-holds-barred silo, the game is more dramatic than it has ever been.  With IT folks outside the silo reminding everyone that ongoing mainframe costs are a drag on the new agile development efforts, those IT folks within the silo remind others that the mainframe is responsible for 75% or more of business revenue, and that access from outside the silo is driving up their operational costs.  We’ve all heard these arguments, and to be fair, they’re all true.

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Mainframing in the 2020’s

There are a countless number of articles on the subject of mainframe computing, and whether or not you should stay with it or replace it with a “more modern” technology.  As you can probably well imagine, most vendors that are mainframe-specific will recommend that you stay on the platform because it is cheaper and more reliable than any other platform out there.  This is actually true, most particularly for the large-scale revenue-generating applications that are in use by the Fortune 500 today.  In fact BMC recently released its annual mainframe survey study which indicated that mainframe use is likely to continue in this year and beyond, and even increase somewhat.  I get opportunities to talk with many CFOs and CIOs of the largest companies in the world and I believe that point.  I am actually not hearing a lot of anti-mainframe sentiment; instead I hear more of the common issues facing business today — my business is hard, competition is tough, I need to cut costs and increase market share.

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Security

Mainframers are starting to ask questions about security – and that’s a good thing

IT security crises are forever making business headlines. In 2017 it was the high profile ransomware attacks and huge data breaches such as Equifax. Barely a week into 2018 and we had the revelations surrounding the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities affecting computer chips around the world.

Traditionally, the mainframe community has been a little smug about security, generally believing our platform to be immune from many of the risks faced in distributed environments. Isn’t that one reason why the big banks and credit card companies continue to rely on mainframes to process transactions?

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Modern Mobile Mainframe

The Modern and Mobile Mainframe

Without revealing my age, I got my first mainframe job back when terminal emulators were a new idea. They were rudimentary with only basic features like copy and paste available, but the number of licensed seats we had for those PC-based emulators was limited, so we still performed most of our work at “green screen” terminals. Often called ‘dumb terminals’, these stations had rudimentary functionality, green-tinted screens like you’d find in the movie Alien, and the tendency to beep with every keystroke, making them annoying in more ways than one to use.

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mainframe strikes back

The mainframe strikes back

With the mainframe’s star in the ascendancy yet again, we need to seize the opportunities presented while recognizing the risks, writes Mark Wilson, RSM Partners

I was just sixteen when I started working with mainframes. That was in May 1980, a month that also saw the release of The Empire Strikes Back. In the intervening years, neither big iron nor the Star Wars universe have been very far away. In fact, both the mainframe and Star Wars seem more relevant today than ever. While I can’t help thinking we’ve gone through an Attack of the Clones, as nothing has emerged over the years to properly replace the mainframe – yes, it really is that good – we now risk finding ourselves sitting through The Last Jedi. By that, I mean as an industry we need to tackle the dwindling band of mainframe experts at our disposal. They’re not quite living on a secluded Jedi island, surrounded by Porgs until absorbed into the Force  – but we are running out of people fast. Just like the Star Wars movies, however, I’m one hundred percent sure the story of the mainframe will go on and on and on… and what’s interesting is how we’re going to get there. But first, a quick recap on where we are now.

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Capping is Good.

Capping is Good.

Or, Capping is no longer a bad word

Okay, yes it is – nobody in their right mind is going to cap their business-critical workloads.  Yes you want to save on operational spend – in fact you need to – but not at the expense of completing business-critical workloads on time.  I mean, just forget about it!  Not happening.  Move on.

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Mainframe News Out There

Mainframe News Out There – February

Once a month we like to pick articles from other blogs that we feel are interesting enough to talk about on the Planet Mainframe blog. Here are this week’s picks:

GDPR deadline approaching

The deadline for GDPR compliance is approaching fast – just months away – May 2018.  Are companies scrambling to obtain compliance right now?  Yes, some are.  In the US probably less, but any company doing business at all in Europe is exposed.  Meanwhile many companies right in the financial heart of Europe – in downtown London – aren’t ready, and aren’t even aware. I smell trouble…

See more here: ComputerWeekly article.

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