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Mainframe Basics for Security Professionals: Getting Started with RACF

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Security—it comes in many forms in the IT world: physical security around a data center, user ID authentication when a transaction gets executed, access control against a database, audit records for anomaly detection. All these forms can be bought and paid for, yet, one element must be taught. That is, the human, the person who administers the security system, the person who operates a data center, the person who executes a transaction, or the person who moves data on tapes between buildings. Today there is so much personally identifiable data and so many chances for fraud that securing that information is critical to the global economy.

For more than 40 years, the IBM® mainframe has been the backbone of financial services and the retail industry. Billions of transactions are executed every day across this infrastructure. The mainframe is known for its rock-solid security and integrity, yet, that is possible only with the assurance of a well-trained staff operating those systems and ensuring that the essential processes are being adhered to.

UNIX® systems have become ubiquitous in the IT world as well. Universities train thousands of students on these systems annually. Most businesses with mainframe computers are operating UNIX systems as well. It is important that a consistent operational approach be taken across these systems, to maintain the security of the overall environment. This book is intended for administrators and systems programmers who have come from the UNIX world and attempts to explain the security nuances of the mainframe. Remarkably, although the syntax of commands might be completely different, a wealth of similarities exists in the operational environment.

Based on its heritage and holistic design across the hardware, firmware, operating system, and middleware, the mainframe has some unique capabilities for additional security. This book looks at many of the basic and advanced properties for securing a mainframe, to help businesses maintain the integrity of their transactions.
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