Fortifying Mainframe Security: Safeguarding Hybrid Cloud Deployments

Fortifying Mainframe Security: Safeguarding Hybrid Cloud Deployments

However, it is pertinent to state that the technological world is evolving every day, but the mainframe remains relevant as the favored system for large businesses because of its capability, storage, and protection. However, as organizations increase the use of the flexibility that hybrid cloud topologies provide, mainframe security has emerged as a trending issue. Mainframe security is not a topic that stands on its own but rather is an important part of hybrid cloud security.

Mainframe systems and their relation with cloud applications and services have become a necessity and hence there is a need to improve security. The new generation of cloud solutions, namely the hybrid cloud environment, poses new risks and threat agents that need proper handling to ensure data security and data and application availability.

In this article, you will learn more about the modern tendencies and strategies of mainframe security in the context of the hybrid cloud model and get practical advice on how to strengthen the protection of your organization’s critical data.

Measures to Prevent Unauthorized Access and Activities

The initial phase of mainframes’ protection in a hybrid cloud environment is the detection of threats. The real-time monitoring of user access and all data activities as well as auditing all the operations is very important. With security analytics and machine learning, you can see the patterns in the data and identify where there are issues and where there may be a breach and do something about it right away.

To enhance your monitoring capabilities, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Centralized Security Monitoring: Some of the solutions that can be implemented are as follows: Centralizing security logs and event data from the mainframe along with other cloud and IT platforms on a single SIEM platform. This enables you to learn more about the security events in your hybrid environment and act on threats as soon as possible.
  • Behavioral Analytics: Ensure that you put your resources into tools and algorithms that will be used in the analysis of normal usage of users and systems to be used in the comparison. In this way, one can always look for such anomalies and if they are detected, then further investigation of any activities like trying to log in with wrong credentials, attempts to transfer data to unauthorized locations or systems or any other activity that looks somewhat funny on the system is required.
  • Real-time Alerting and Incident Response: Make sure that you set up good alerting that will help your security team know when there is an activity that is questionable or when there is a warning sign of a security breach. Ensure that your incident response plan is well articulated and practiced through incidents so that your organization is in a position to alleviate the outcome of any security threats.

Hybrid Clouds and the Issues Associated with Them

Now let us discuss the new security challenges that arose due to the gradual adoption of the hybrid cloud model in companies’ evolution. This is the first way to prepare for building a security framework for your mainframe in a hybrid cloud knowing the risks.

  • Data Exposure: The communication of information between the mainframe and cloud applications is the cause of vulnerability to the leakage of data while in transit or even while in the cloud. Customers’ records and/or any financial information, or any other sensitive information of the organization should be encrypted and can only be accessed by the concerned person who has the proper access rights according to the organizational policies and procedures of data management.
  • Shared Responsibility Model: It also means that there is a shared responsibility model of responsibilities between the cloud provider and the organization. One must define each party’s responsibilities and ensure that proper security measures are put in place to prevent any vulnerabilities.
  • Identity and Access Management: As a result, IAM is a crucial factor in a hybrid cloud structure because of the infrastructure’s complexity. Standard user identification, authentication, and access control measures must always be put in place to prevent violations and privilege escalation in the mainframe and cloud domains.
  • Network Vulnerabilities: The characteristics of the hybrid cloud environments are similar to on-premise, cloud, and connected networks. These are risks of unauthorized access or data breaches and therefore should be discovered (misconfigured firewalls, unpatched systems, or unsecured communication channels).
  • Regulatory Compliance: Hybrid cloud technologies are applied in restricted fields, and hence, organizations need to adhere to rules and regulations like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR. Failure to adhere to the rules attracts penalties and fines, legal consequences, and negative impacts on organizations  image.

Mainframe Security Challenges in Hybrid Cloud Environment and the Best Practices

The following are mainframe security solutions that organizations can implement to boost security in the period of hybrid cloud. It should be noted that even if your business is engaged in the use of hybrid cloud solutions, the mainframe remains a target for threats and needs protection.

  • Mainframe Security Software: Purchase the correct mainframe security software that is used in the protection of mainframe computer systems. These solutions can include such elements as identification of users, managing their rights, data protection, and recording of activity and are developed for the mainframe platform.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB): If you want to properly address the use of S/390 and move it to the cloud services, then you need to fill the gap between your mainframe and cloud applications using the CASB solution. CASB can provide monitoring, management, and protection across the hybrid cloud environment and the compliance and security standards to regulate data usage.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Therefore, increase the use of MFA not only for mainframe but also for cloud connections to strengthen user authentication. This extra layer of security can be utilized to neutralize the threats of an attacker getting in and carrying out credential stuff.
  • Data Encryption and Key Management: All sensitive information should be protected by encrypting it, while it is being transmitted and while being stored in the hybrid cloud. You should also create a master control of encryption keys to protect your information in the course of its circulation in the organization.
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): To gather security information of mainframe, cloud, and other IT structures, employ a SIEM solution. This can provide a holistic view of how safe your hybrid-cloud setup is and allow you to spend less time trying to figure out the risks and more time mitigating them.
  • Automated Vulnerability Management: Mainframes are also part of the hybrid cloud systems; thus, it is crucial to periodically review and monitor them for potential risks. The patching and configuration management should be done automatically to ensure that the system is always up-to-date and secure.
  • Secure Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): While selecting and implementing the mainframe APIs for integrating your cloud applications, ensure that security consideration has been provided. Make sure that the APIs cannot be accessed by users who are not supposed to access them and use the API limits to reduce API attacks.

With these key technologies, you can enhance the protection of the mainframe concerning the hybrid cloud model without endangering the company’s core valuable assets.


In the present days, organizations are in the process of implementing a hybrid cloud, due to which the security of mainframe systems has become a matter of concern. It is now clear that the main threats are familiar, that good monitoring and detection measures can help to protect the mainframe, and that the right technology can help to secure hybrid cloud environments.

It is crucial to bear in mind that strengthening mainframe security in the context of a hybrid cloud is a process that is as unending as it is iterative and requires the joint effort of multiple teams within your organization. It is possible to make mainframes more secure and protect the most valuable data and applications by following the main guidelines of an effective security strategy.

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Written by Avatier Office