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Mainframe modernization and the importance of security

Milan Shetti

March 23, 2023

At a time when businesses are pushing the limits of digital transformation and modernization, security, particularly in the mainframe, is critical. But while most firms know this, research has shown that widespread understanding has not manifested much in the way of action. And when asked to rank their most important mainframe security features, respondents said vulnerability scanning was the least important.

But the importance of mainframe security is something that cannot be overstated. Mainframes are responsible for storing businesses’ most sensitive data and information – from financial records to trade secrets to customers’ personal information. Ensuring that data is tightly locked down is already a critical focus, but as more companies prioritize modernization, new threats and security vulnerabilities have started to emerge.

Modernizing the mainframe

While mainframe security is often overlooked, it is vital to the modernization efforts of every business. With so much sensitive data in the mix, these organizations need to maintain a high level of visibility and control over how and when that data is stored and utilized during every modernization initiative. For businesses that rely on mainframe technology, it is important to ensure they are using security architecture that is both flexible and robust enough to keep up with the pace of innovation and surges in demand well into the future.

The sheer volume of data that businesses deal with daily means mainframes are consistently handling a very high workload. With added strain can often come more complicated processes that bring greater costs to keep everything locked down and secure. And for many companies that operate in highly regulated industries, they need to ensure all of that data is stored and maintained in accordance with relevant compliance standards. And with digital transformation projects well underway in nearly every enterprise, modernizing mainframe systems will enable them to better adapt to new security risks and data management needs.

Mainframe security supports a hybrid approach

When we think about mainframe security, it is not as simple as keeping everything under lock and key in an on-premise system. Digital transformation projects today are largely focused on getting the most out of a company’s data and migrating it to a cloud environment. With that reality in mind, this means that mainframe security needs to be able to extend beyond the on-premise setup and into a sprawling set of new cloud environments.

As data makes its way into a multitude of environments, leaving behind the safety of its on-premise home, data management, and governance operations have become essential steps in the modernization process. The same security infrastructure that keeps data safe in the mainframe needs to be able to extend into those new environments. To better support a hybrid cloud approach to modernizing, businesses can adopt a variety of monitoring tools, improved data storage, and intelligent automation solutions that help IT teams keep track of their data, lighten workloads, and stay on top of regulatory guidelines.

Modernizing mainframe systems and data governance processes help break down siloes across the entire business. A step that is critically important when dealing with multiple environments. When data makes its way out of the mainframe, without complete visibility, data may end up exposed to data breaches, which could prove devastating for the company and its customers alike.

Security lays the foundation to modernize

Ignoring or deprioritizing mainframe security can jeopardize an organization’s entire digital transformation journey. As more businesses turn to cloud-based solutions to achieve those transformation goals, mainframe systems will need to be ready to protect data in an on-premise environment and beyond.

With the acquisition of KRI Security, Rocket Software is strengthening its security capabilities, enabling customers to standardize on their preferred mainframe security solutions. With KRI Security’s added expertise, Rocket Software is bringing world-class security architectures directly to the mainframe modernization process and empowering IT leaders to better protect their data in any environment.