While mainframes are known for being more secure than PCs or desktops, it is still important for businesses that use mainframe to safeguard their systems against attacks.

Mainframes Vs. PCs

Mainframes are far more secure than other platforms. However, there is some truth in the idea that mainframes are more secure because there are far fewer mainframes than PCs in use, and hence mainframes are a less common target. As such, there is still the potential for security to be compromised in a mainframe system, which is why businesses that use mainframes should make use of security functions.

Some mainframes have in-built security functions. When upgrading or buying a new mainframe, look for features such as encryption key management, digital certificates, password synchronisation, data encryption, and centralised authentication and auditing. Some mainframes include alternative security solutions that are considered 'intelligent' in that they help the business review and check security vulnerabilities.

Businesses can look for mainframe systems that comply with the Common Criteria security evaluation1. This is a leading international standard that gives an indication of the products security. A high evaluation assurance level ('EAL') shows that the system has been tested at a high level. The EALs range from 1 to 7, so a very secure product will have a level of 7.

[1] https://www.destinationz.org/Community/Evangelizing-Mainframe/September-2013/Security-Threats-Require-Constant-Vigilance-Even-o.aspx