IBM i: The Backbone of the Banking Industry

March 21, 2017
Banks depend on AS/400 for security


Highly regulated organizations such as those in the banking industry have a strong history with IBM i, and for good reason—the platform offers an unprecedented level of security. As an IBM i security report from Powertech noted, more than 16,000 banks use IBM i to run mission-critical applications, leaving the platform responsible for a wide range of sensitive data.

However, IBM i is not just a safe place to keep information. It’s a powerhouse for sophisticated financial, CRM, and transaction software that keeps operations running smoothly. That reliability speaks for itself. And IBM i users have reported running a high percentage of their core business on IBM i, which speaks to the platform’s scalability and raw computing power.

Transforming Operations Across the Globe

The computing power and security available to IBM i customers has also made the platform more popular among banks worldwide. As IT Jungle has frequently reported over the years, the operating system has been widely adopted in US banking organizations. Around the world, IBM i has been instrumental in improving financial services throughout India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Ghana in recent years.

For example, Bank Ekonomi Raharja in Indonesia invested in two Power Systems servers equipped with PowerHA. One of the primary motivations for the investment was improved reliability for the organization’s email, data, and ATM services.

Optimized Staffing

Most financial institutions do not support the size of staff required to manage the day-to-day operations of a computing system. IBM i has historically required less staff to manage and has a DB2 built into the operating system that requires very little maintenance.

A single server can keep the entire banking infrastructure going, removing the burden on network administrators to connect all the servers together and reducing complications associated with monitoring 100 servers like in the case of Windows. On IBM i, this is just one physical box, and perhaps a distance HA box for replication.

The takeaway is that IBM i does not fill a single role in the banking sector. Instead, it serves as a backbone for driving multi-faceted strategies, improving security and facilitating business growth for these organizations worldwide.

Securability for a Highly Regulated Industry

Whether operating in the U.S. or abroad, banks both large and small face a multitude of regulations, many pertaining to securing sensitive customer data, maintaining an audit trail and protecting its integrity, and reducing opportunities for fraud. IBM i has a distinct advantage because it is a highly securable platform.

IBM i security expert Robin Tatam often explains that IBM i’s default settings are configured in an open, “allow all” state. Anyone responsible for security on IBM i needs to be aware of this, but the situation can be corrected effectively and efficiently. Once your IBM i security configuration receives the attention it deserves, this platform will repay you in reliability and scalability for many years to come.

While IBM i security is simple, it’s not always easy, depending on your organization’s size, complexity, vendors, number of users, etc. This is particularly true for IT pros who are not yet cybersecurity experts or who are new to the IBM i platform.

If you’re in one of those categories (or simply unsure of where to start), a Security Scan is a quick, low-commitment way to identify the areas of vulnerability on your system, including the areas where your configuration might be out of compliance with SOX, FDIC, or other common requirements. Another option is to work with a security expert on a specific project or on an on-going basis.

There are many different paths toward security and compliance. HelpSystems has worked with members of the financial industry facing all manner of data protection concerns. If you’re concerned about your organization’s security posture, schedule a Security Scan. Or, if you have a particular question about securing data on IBM i, compliance reporting, or preparing for an audit, contact us today.

Get Started with IBM i Security

Is your sensitive data vulnerable? Could your system be out of compliance? Find out with a free Security Scan.

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