The Power of Compliance-Driven User Management for Mainframes

The Power of Compliance-Driven User Management for Mainframes

Mainframes are widely used in many large-scale organizations as it form an integral component of the IT infrastructure of the organization and they handle business-critical transactions as well as maintain important data. Due to the increased focus that the regulators are placing on such systems and given the efforts that hackers are placing in trying to compromise the security of these systems, it is now imperative that the user’s access to such systems is protected and compliant. The first best practice in the mainframe environment is compliance-driven user management because it can significantly manage user accounts, guarantee compliance with security standards, and provide proof of compliance with legal norms.

Larger mainframe systems may store vast amounts of confidential and proprietary data like financial data, and customer data. This means that an attack on such systems will lead to loss of data, financial losses, and loss of reputation for the company. This can be so because, specifying compliance as a way of dealing with users, assists in reducing such risk and also helps to protect the mainframe environment. It ensures that only the right people have the right level of privileges and that all actions performed by the users are monitored and logged.

In addition, legal requirements in the health, finance, and government domains are high and entail the effective regulation of users. This, in essence, implies that if business organizations fail to follow these regulations, they stand high risks of being charged a lot of money, risking legal action against them, and in extreme cases, losing their licenses to conduct business. The compliance-oriented user management may draw attention to your organization’s concern for data protection and compliance as well as protect the organization from the penalties and loss of business that may result from noncompliance.

Benefits Of Compliance With User Management

Improved Security: User management is typically compliance-oriented; enables you to set up and enforce strict security guidelines for your mainframe platforms and applications while limiting access to permitted users. This assists in reducing cases of people who may interfere with the system and get access to information that they are not supposed to access or cause insecurity.

  • Enhanced Compliance: This is clear enough to show that if you wish to demonstrate compliance of your company to best practices and standards in your user management, then you can. It can help avoid fines, maintain a good reputation, and ensure the trust of both clients and shareholders.
  • Streamlined Access Control: Compliance-driven automated solutions for user management can also provide centralized user management and access that enable you to solve some common problems such as the creation of user accounts, permissions and privileges in your main mainframe environment.
  • Increased Visibility and Accountability: These often include advanced logging and auditing that enables you to track users’ activity, notify you of possible security breaches, and offer compliance reports.
  • Reduced Administrative Overhead: You may wish to implement some of the following measures to reduce the amount of overhead incurred in managing users: Create and delete user accounts: This implies that the system should be able to create user accounts and delete them as well.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: Although mainframe user management is a compliance-driven exercise, it is important to make this a strength rather than a weakness in that one can help ascertain that the users have the right level of access and that all work done is properly documented to avoid disruptions in operations and to enhance performance.

Main Challenges In Managing User Access On Mainframes

The mainframe computing system environment is not without its problems when it comes to the management of user access and compliance. Some of the key challenges include: 

  • Diverse User Populations: For instance, mainframes can support internal employees, business partners and customers and each of them may require different levels of access to the systems. Another major concern is the ability to effectively manage and secure these various user groups. Legacy Access Control Mechanisms: Most mainframes today use obsolete mainframe security exits or proprietary access control lists as access control methods. Implementing these legacy systems with newer, compliance-oriented modern user management systems can be challenging and lengthy. Audit and Reporting Requirements: Mainframe systems usually need to track user activities at a granular level under compliance regulations that require auditing and reporting. The preparation of these reports could be a time-consuming and cumbersome task that is prone to producing mistakes. 
  • Lack of Visibility and Control: If for example, there is no centralized user management then it becomes almost impossible to have a broad view of the user access, keep an eye out for any malicious activities or even ensure that there is compliance with the set security policies within the mainframe. 
  • Changing Compliance Landscape: The laws and regulations of an organization and the standards of the industry are ever-changing, and this means that an organization has to keep updating its user management practices to conform to the current standards.

Key Features Of Compliance-Driven User Management Solutions

To address the challenges of managing user access on mainframes, organizations should consider implementing a compliance-driven user management solution that offers the following key features:

  • Centralized User Management: A single solution that enables the creation, administration, and removal of user accounts in the mainframe environment to maintain compliance with security policies and access standards.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): The feature of defining detailed and strict roles and permissions, which grant the users only the necessary level of access to the information or systems needed to work in their positions.
  • Automated Workflows: Efficient identity management of users including on-boarding, off-boarding, and changes in access privileges to minimize time and errors.
  • Comprehensive Logging and Auditing: User activity tracking and user reports to record all the activities of the users to detect suspecting activities, compliance reports, and for investigation purposes.
  • Multifactor Authentication: Improved security measures such as two-factor or biometric for the user to access the system to avoid intruders gaining access to the system.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: The main benefits of the proposed solution are in the ability to smoothly integrate into your existing mainframe security framework, your traditional access control system, and other IT systems to create a unified and efficient system of user management.
  • Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement: Computerization of the compliance and monitoring of the policies to make sure that the management of the users of the system meets the recommended practices and the set legal measures.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: The ability to scale up to accommodate increasing numbers of users and any new business and regulatory demands that may arise without sacrificing either functionality or stability.

With a compliance-driven user management solution that incorporates these key components in its design, you can meet the specific requirements of mainframe user management, augment security, meet compliance mandates, and increase operational effectiveness.


Due to increasing business compliance risks in the current business world, compliance-driven user management has emerged as an essential approach for mainframe business organizations. There is a need to employ a sound user management solution that complies with best practices and legal expectations since inadequate control over users’ access can lead to various issues such as unauthorized access, data breaches, and compliance issues, in addition to enhancing organizational effectiveness and automation of processes.

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Written by Avatier Office