Implementing Security Policies and Audits with RACF

Implementing Security Policies and Audits with RACF

Security policies are the broad set of rules that an organization is required to adhere to in order to safeguard their information and networks. They define the policies, standards, and practices that an organization has put in place on how to manage, protect and secure its information resources, systems, and networks. Security policies play a critical role in risk management, adherence to legal and regulatory standards in the industry, and trying to instill a security-awareness culture in the employees.

The world is witnessing a new generation of threats where the hackers and the cyber criminals are inventing new and more effective ways of getting into the networks and the systems and thus the need for well developed security policy. It highlights how your organization can manage risk and prevent loss of its information assets, and how it can prevent the leakage, loss or corruption of its information assets.

Thus, it is possible to present the following list of security measures that should be taken by the company to avoid security threats: The measures that should be taken by the company in case of the appearance of security threat: The measures that will help the company to maintain the customers’ and stakeholders’ confidence: Failure to follow security measures may lead to data leakage, loss of reputation, and penalties that are going to be very detrimental for companies of any size to encounter at any cost, that is why security has to be considered as one of the primary goals of the cybersecurity process.

Security Policy Components

An effective security policy should encompass the following key components:The following are some of the fundamental measures that should be included in any given security policy:

  • Scope and Objectives: Determine how broad or granular the security policy needs to be in regards to the systems and data that it is to cover and the users that it will encompass. The goals should be achievable and measurable and conform with the general security policy of the organisation.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: State who is supposed to be in charge of the security policy and its implementation; IT workers, security personnel and the users of the security system.
  • Access Control: The permission to access the systems and data and its revocation have to be covered by the policies with the least privilege principle.
  • Asset Management: Set guidelines for how they will identify, classify, and protect the information assets of the organization: machinery, software programs, and information.
  • Incident Response: It is also important to have Incident response plan that outlines all the necessary action that should be taken when a breach or an incident has occurred with notification and recovery plans.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Ensure the security policy is up to date with the legal requirements and the regulations that apply to the business such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR.
  • Monitoring and Auditing: The measures to put in place for the security status of the organization to be checked and evaluated periodically and the usage data of tools like RACF to be recorded and analyzed.
  • Training and Awareness: Security awareness training may be conducted on as needed basis to ensure that the employees have adequate knowledge on security issues, security measures and their role in combating security threats.

Based on these key components, it is feasible to establish an effective security policy that can be harmonized with the objectives of the organization and implement all the requirements of legal acts.

Management Process for Establishing and Implementing Security Policies

Security policies are developed and implemented in a specific process and in a particular way. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Conduct a Risk Assessment: The first one is the risk analysis that brings you to the identification of the weaknesses of your organization’s data, its systems, and networks. By doing this, it will help you to know those areas that require most attention when formulating your security policy.
  • Establish Security Objectives: Consequently, it is necessary to set specific measurable security objectives and goals that should be in line with the general organizational strategic direction and plans.
  • Develop the Security Policy: Contact the IT, security, and legal personnel to help in the formulation of the security policy that will be used in the organization. Ensure that it incorporates the above elements and that it can be adjusted to fit the needs of your organization.
  • Communicate and Socialize the Policy: The following are some tips that one has to apply to ensure that all the employees of the organization are aware of the existence of the security policy and the reason why it has to be implemented: Provide the necessary educational materials as well as other tools that would help in the implementation of the policy.
  • Implement the Security Policy: Make sure you translate the policy into tangible steps and guarantee that they are put into effect and, where needed, policed in your firm. This may involve configuring system controls, ensuring application access control and employing application software like Resource Access Control Facility.
  • Monitor and Review: This can be done by reviewing the policy at least once a year or in case of any arising issue that needs to be addressed in the policy. This should be done in regard to changes in threats, new technologies and new laws that might be enacted in the future.
  • Enforce Compliance: Decide how the security policy will be enforced and the repercussions that are to be imposed on any person who has violated the policy. From time to time, assess and record the levels of compliance with the policy in the organisation.

In this manner, the steps described will ensure the formulation and implementation of security policy that will work towards guarding the assets of the organization, ensuring compliance and creating awareness on security within the organization.

Security Audits with RACF

The second aspect of an ideal security policy is to periodically assess the security of the system. One of the tools that can be useful in this regard is RACF or Resource Access Control Facility, which is the IBM mainframe systems’ security management tool.

RACF provides a comprehensive set of features to help you audit and monitor access to your organization’s critical resources, including:

  • Access Reporting: RACF submits detailed reports on the user’s activities, resources and security incidences and this way, it becomes easier for you to identify any security compromises or suspicious activities.
  • Audit Logging: As much as the security events occur in the computer system, such as user logons, resource accesses, and changes to security policies, RACF captures them and provides a convenient means for reviewing and analyzing security incidents.
  • Exception Reporting: RACF has the option of alerting the system administrator and generating reports in the event that there are strange or unlawful attempts to get into the system and therefore it can be used to warn of any security threats.
  • Access Control Validation: One advantage offered by RACF is the ability to check and confirm the accuracy of the rights accorded the users to ensure that only appropriate level of access is granted in compliance to the principle of least privilege and to reduce the risk of gaining access by the wrong persons.
  • Compliance Reporting: Using RACF, one is in a position to develop reports that depict how an organization is capable of adhering to the set regulations and security standards in its operation.

As it was mentioned, with the help of RACF you can conduct security audits and analyze the results to identify the risks, weaknesses, and ensure that all the security rules are being implemented.

Security Policy Implementation and Audit Checklist

To ensure the successful implementation and ongoing effectiveness of your security policies, consider the following best practices:

  • Establish a Governance Framework: Develop a plan on handling security policies and decisions on the policies within the organization by outlining how the security policies will be administered, who will be in charge of the administration of security policies, and how decisions regarding the policies will be made. This will assist in avoidable circumstances where there is confusion as to who is supposed to carry out which of the tasks required.
  • Incorporate Continuous Improvement: Ensure that you occasionally or at times, do a review on your security policies and determine if you have to update them due to changes in threats, technology, or the law. Build the feedback from the security audits and from the users for future usage.
  • Prioritize User Awareness and Training: Security awareness must be conducted at regular intervals and it has to cover the aspects of protection of passwords, security notifications and how to recognize a phishing email and how to report it. It is crucial to constantly remind the employees about these best practices in order to foster the security-focused culture.
  • Leverage Automation and Integration: Use autonomic solutions like RACF for security monitoring, auditing, and enforcement since they are less prone to errors than manual approaches.
  • Collaborate with Stakeholders: Consult IT, legal, and compliance departments to ensure that your security policies meet business strategies and requirements in addition to the current industry trends.
  • Document and Communicate: Make sure that you retain all the records of security policies, the steps taken and the results of the audit of the company. It is always recommended to communicate the change throughout the organization to make the stakeholders aware of the change and to prepare them to accept change.
  • Conduct Periodic Assessments: Ensure that you conduct full security scans at least on a weekly basis and these should include Vulnerability scans, Penetration tests, and Compliance scans. They need to be used to enhance security policies and controls in an organization to ensure maximum protection of its resources.

The following best practices will assist you in improving your overall security policies, implementing them correctly, and having a comprehensive auditing and monitoring framework in place.


Your organization should consider it compulsory to have security policies put in place and it is recommended that you conduct RACF audits once in a while so that your information is safe and the specified regulations adhered to. From the guidelines mentioned in this article, it is possible to formulate and implement security policies that can assist in dealing with the aforementioned risks, make the organizations’ members aware of the issue of security, as well as provide the necessary visibility and management of the security concerns.

Written by Avatier Office