The Importance of Recovery Planning for Mainframe Security: Ensuring Business Continuity

The Importance of Recovery Planning for Mainframe Security: Ensuring Business Continuity

Mainframe security can be further enhanced by recovery planning because it enables organizations to minimize the effects of disruption and maintain access to their essential systems. Disasters include natural disasters and man-made disasters such as power failure, cyber-attacks or any other event that hinders normal mainframe operations can be very disastrous for business if not well handled.

When organizations are not completely prepared with a good recovery plan, they end up experiencing a long downtime, loss of data, and even a loss of their reputation and the trust of their customers. In the modern world of intensified competition and globalization, even a moment’s disruption in services may lead to many negative outcomes, such as revenue loss, deadline miss, and share loss.

Recovery Planning Is One Of The Most Important Solutions In Mainframe Security

Since the mainframe serves as the central nervous system of numerous enterprise applications and databases, it is a primary target for cyberattacks. Mainframe systems usually deal with critical information like; monetary transactions, customer information, clients confidential information, patents and trade secrets among others. Such attacks may result in data leaks, financial damage, or non-compliance with the requirements of regulatory authorities.

Such threats have to be addressed through recovery planning to reduce the impact on the organization. Through the creation of a detailed process showing how mainframe functionality can be reinstated in case of a security breach or any other occurrence, it is possible to reduce the time that an organization loses and safeguard critical information that may be of immense value to the business.

Some Of The Disaster Types And Effect On Business Continuity

In mainframe security, there are so many kinds of disasters that an organization has to face and each case is handled separately with different consequences. Some of the most common types of disasters that can impact mainframe operations include:

  • Natural Disasters: Disasters of natural and manmade origin such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires can also pose a threat to the main hardware components of mainframes and influence the electrical power and communication services and jeopardize the availability of critical applications.
  • Cyber Attacks: Ransomware, data breaches, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are some of the common threats that cyber-actors can employ to target mainframe systems and disrupt operations and data.
  • Human Error: Besides intending to harm, mainframe breakdowns and data loss can also be caused by simple errors made by employees such as deleting files and settings, or incorrectly configuring systems.
  • Equipment Failures: Mainframe hardware and software may at times undergo some operational problems because of their age or breakdown or other causes which may lead to service hitches and loss or damage of data.

These disasters can be very detrimental to business activities leading to lost revenues, opportunity costs, tarnished image and reputation, fines and penalties among other effects that are more worrying is that business organizations will not be in a position to meet the needs of their customers. These risks have to be prevented through a proper recovery plan to ensure that the mainframe system of an organization is protected from worse-case scenario.

Mainframe Security And Its Recovery Plan: How To Get A Deeper Insight

To come up with a recovery plan for the mainframe systems, one has to come up with the following general and specific plan. Here are the key steps to consider:

  • Risk Assessment: However, the first thing that needs to be done is to carry out an extensive risk assessment which will enable you to identify the risks and threats that are likely to face your mainframe systems. This is done based on the evaluation of the risks and all the possible outcomes that may be faced in case of various disasters and also the risks associated with data and system unavailability.
  • Recovery Objectives: Set clear and quantifiable goals for recovery that are realistic, relevant to the organization’s objectives, aligned with industry requirements and time-sensitive. This may involve quantifiable targets that include RTOs and RPOs for important applications and data relating to the business.
  • Backup and Restoration Strategies: Ensure that online backup and recovery strategies are secure and effective for access to information and applications. These may include multiple storage arrays, copy and restore of data at off-site locations, and backup and restore processes with the use of automation.
  • Incident Response Procedures: Describe how your organization expects to respond to a security breach or disaster involving mainframes. Some of the things that should be covered include; communication strategies, process of escalation, and division of responsibilities.
  • Alternate Processing Capabilities: Locate and identify other processing capacities such as a redundant system for use in case the main processing system is an issue, for example, failover systems, cloud-based disaster recovery solutions, and so on.
  • Testing and Validation: You should always confirm that your recovery plan is as effective as you want it to be by checking for some of the weaknesses it may contain. This may involve performing mock disaster events, backing up data disasters and evaluating backup processing procedures.
  • Continuous Improvement: Make it a practice to review and update the recovery plan from time to time to make sure that you are in tune with the new threats, technologies, or business requirements. As a result, incorporate the testing experience and real-life case scenarios into the enhancement of the primary security concept for the mainframe level.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to develop a contingency plan to safeguard your mainframe and continue your business irrespective of the situations that are potentially hazardous to your organization’s market position

Recovery Strategies And Their Implementation And Testing

Disaster recovery planning is important and an effective testing and implementation of your mainframe recovery plan is vital. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Establish Governance and Accountability: Ensure that you have a team or a person in charge of the recovery plan from its development, and deployment, to maintenance. Be very clear about the roles and responsibilities that are assigned to each and make sure that there is senior management commitment towards the project.
  • Integrate with Business Continuity Planning: Integrate your mainframe recovery plan with your company’s business continuity plan so that all mainframe dependencies as well as other systems and processes are considered, and all recovery initiatives are synchronized with other organizational initiatives.
  • Implement Robust Backup and Replication Processes: Use secure solutions for data and application backup and replication for the mainframe. Periodically check the backup’s reliability and ability to be recovered to assess its efficiency.
  • Develop Comprehensive Incident Response Protocols: Specify measures that should be followed in case of a mainframe security incident or disaster to minimize damages. It is also important to ensure that such protocols are clearly described, shared with all the interested parties and updated regularly.
  • Conduct Comprehensive Testing: It is recommended to perform the mainframe recovery plan as often as possible using various types of simulation, ranging from natural disasters and hackers’ attacks to equipment breakdowns. It is also important to engage key stakeholders including IT departments, security and the business to ensure that the plan covers all the areas of concern.
  • Leverage Automation and Orchestration: They should use automation and orchestration tools that help them recover data quickly and avoid human mistakes. This may consist of self-recovery protocols, scripted recovery procedures, and centralized management and supervision systems.
  • Ensure Compliance and Regulatory Alignment: It is also important to ensure that the mainframe recovery plan is under the governing legal rules and regulations of the industry, which may include HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR. This will be beneficial to your organization because you will be ready to respond to any regulator or audit when it occurs.
  • Foster a Culture of Preparedness: Promote a culture of readiness at your workplace through conducting training and awareness sessions for the employees. Ensure that your team is involved in the active creation, evaluation, and enhancement of the primary mainframe recovery plan.

Through the above best practices, it is possible to improve the robustness, efficacy, and sustainability of a mainframe recovery plan, thus enabling your organization to sustain its business operations irrespective of any impending or unfolding calamity.


As the business environment continues to change, the protection and stability of your core mainframe platforms are essential to the health of your organization. With the help of the following guidelines for building a disaster recovery plan, you will be able to minimize the risks of all types of disasters, effectively protect your vital data and applications, and maintain the credibility and market position of your company.

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Written by Avatier Office