14 Tools Every Security Admin Should Have in Their Back Pocket

Staying on top of the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape is challenging, but there are options that can help secure your infrastructure and corporate data. These tools help you accomplish more in less time and help you proactively prevent intrusions, monitor your networks, lock down user access, and more. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of each of these options to determine how you can supplement your existing security posture—and stay out of the headlines.

1. Firewall

Firewalls are often the first stop on the journey toward tougher cybersecurity. Although there are different types of firewalls and new capabilities available with next-generation versions, they essentially provide a trusted barrier between secure internal networks and external entities. If you have IBM i servers in your environment, an exit program solution functions as a firewall by going beyond standard menu security to protect network access points and close back doors to the environment.

2. Password Vault

Chances are, there are many, many password-protected entry points to your network and your sensitive information. Password vaulting tools (also known as privileged account and session management solutions) are commonly used for managing privileged user accounts in an effort to control access to the system. This is often carried out via single sign-on for organizations that want to reduce or eliminate passwords. Companies may leverage password vaults as a first step toward rigorously managing privilege. However, as an organization and its user base grow, additional solutions may be required to keep speed and security front and center.

3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Unfortunately, it’s gotten difficult to determine that the user you think is logging into your system is indeed that person. Using multiple factors to validate the identity of each user at the point of login adds much-needed trust to this process. Multi-factor authentication is essential not only to protect your data from being compromised by hackers, but also to keep internal users from accessing unauthorized information. In addition, this level of protection helps your business comply with relevant industry mandates, including HIPAA, the GDPR, and PCI DSS. Powertech Multi-Factor Authentication is a great solution for this when it comes to protecting the IBM i platform.

4. Vulnerability Assessment

Here’s where the famous expression “You don’t know what you don’t know” comes into play. Virtually every business has vulnerabilities hiding in their infrastructure. The key is to locate them and prioritize your action plan for remediating the weak points based on potential impact. Using a vulnerability assessment is an important step toward a more secure enterprise overall as well as a compliance mandate for many security standards. Having a solid outline of the risks you face is an excellent way to get executives, managers, and IT staff on the same page when it comes to putting budget dollars toward correcting problems. And for organizations that want to go a step further, penetration testing (or pen testing) allows real-world attack scenarios to be carried out against your business in a controlled setting.

5. Antivirus

Your antivirus efforts should be multi-faceted. It’s important to protect user workstations from malware, but your server environment is vulnerable, too. Unfortunately, many believe the spread of viruses is a “Windows problem.” This simply isn’t the case. IBM i, AIX, and Linux operating systems are all vulnerable to viruses and malware. Virus scanning solutions that run natively on your operating system are the most effective way to protect business-critical data from malware and avoid downtime.

6. Encryption

Encrypting your data both at rest and in motion provides an extra layer of security that can significantly reduce the impact of a data breach. It renders any information accessed by hackers or unauthorized employees completely unusable because they cannot decrypt it. How does this work? It turns plaintext information into a secret code called ciphertext, which requires the right keys to make sense of the data. Encryption is generally considered the last line of defense. Even if an attacker gains access to the data, the ciphertext will be meaningless to them unless they have the key to decrypt it. The best encryption tools also feature advanced key management systems

7. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

The goal of a data loss prevention strategy is to make sure employees don’t send sensitive information to external entities, whether the intention is malicious or benign. Doing this requires tight controls over what can and can’t be transferred, denying permission when appropriate.

8. Intrusion Detection System (IDS)/Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

Every corporate network is a potential target for attack. This is an unfortunate reality we cannot change. However, solid methods for protecting your network are fully within your reach. An IDS/IPS solution gives you visibility into system traffic while enabling you to guard sensitive information. It provides you with the tools needed to identify, block, and log unauthorized activity as well as speed your threat response to protect sensitive or valuable data. See which IDS/IPS solutions best fit your business.

9. Network Monitoring

Downtime and the resulting loss of productivity are the bane of many IT professionals. Downtime that’s a result of a breach is that much more problematic and potentially disastrous. Today’s networks are virtually impossible to manage via manual methods; they require 24/7 monitoring to keep track of every single device being connected as well as those times when unusual activity such as bandwidth spikes show up. Auto-discovering devices on your network and displaying them on an intuitive diagram go a long way toward taming the wilderness of your network. Intermapper is a great way to start.

10. Unified Interface for Monitoring and Managing IT

With multiple cybersecurity solutions and other IT efficiency tools in use across your organization, it becomes increasingly important to have a single dashboard view for high-level monitoring of key metrics and processes. This should highlight items that require immediate attention, such as potential intrusions, solutions ready for upgrade, or unusual activity. HelpSystems Insite® provides this type of single-pane-of-glass view of your operations, enabling you to simplify administration from anywhere in a mobile-friendly format.

11. Threat Detection

Many IT pros now find themselves collecting vast streams of security data, only to find they can’t interpret it easily. The latest security information and event management (SIEM) solution offerings are a powerful ally in making sense of information from multiple threat detection systems and determining which threats are real, and which are just noise. Your ability to escalate and respond to true security events quickly can mean the difference between a devastating breach and a low-level incident. Powertech Event Manager reins in the chaos, logging all security situations and responses for your next audit.

12. Privileged Access Management

Rigorously controlling who is allowed to access which parts of your network is crucial to your cybersecurity efforts as malicious insiders are increasingly successful in their attempts to seize sensitive information. In addition to using identity and access management to exert full control over accounts, access, and privilege, make sure you make use of privileged access management solutions to temporarily elevate privilege when required.

13. Baseline Monitor

Business continuity depends largely on the uptime of your servers. Baseline monitoring helps you keep an eye on how your servers are performing in real time around the clock. This means you can respond proactively to any emerging concerns that may affect the system, disk, network application data, or availability, protecting users from productivity challenges related to essential infrastructure resources. Particularly for IBM i, Robot Monitor solves these situations by evaluating Power Server performance and reporting back on issues.

14. Database Monitor

Do you know which changes your users are making to your system? Are you sure? Database monitoring helps you stay on top of any modifications to mitigate the risk of corrupted data. A solution like Powertech Database Monitor for IBM i empowers you not only to receive notification of changes, but also to leverage filters so you only get alerts when data deemed sensitive is altered. This helps you meet compliance requirements while establishing a view into intentional or unintentional system changes that could affect business down the line.

 

With this list of cybersecurity tools, you can investigate what’s right for your business and build an advanced fortress around your organization and its sensitive data. Having the right solutions in place will make it that much harder for hackers and even employees to disrupt your operations and force you to deal with the ramifications of a data breach.