SkyView Goes GUI with i OS Security Tool
November 18, 2008 Alex Woodie
There’s an old adage that says a picture is worth a thousand words. SkyView Partners is betting that a picture–namely, a graphical user interface (GUI)–is worth much, much more than that to the IT managers tasked with maintaining regulatory compliance in System i servers. To that end, SkyView yesterday started shipping Policy Minder 1.4, which includes a new Web-based GUI that should make it much easier to get one or more i OS servers into compliance, and to keep them there.
SkyView Partners launched Policy Minder three years ago to help System i shops automate the process of monitoring compliance with security policies. The product doesn’t create security policies–that’s the job of the systems administrators or security officers. But once a security policy has been implemented that makes a server compliant with a given regulation–SOX, PCI, HIPAA, SB1386, etc–administrators can use Policy Minder to make sure the server stays compliant as the organization adds or modifies users, groups, libraries, data, and objects over time.
Previous releases of Policy Minder lived entirely within the realm of the 5250 interface. Administrators could check the status of a server or run a compliance report with a few clicks of the keyboard. This required a bit of care and attention to interpret the figures and come to a conclusion about how things have changed.
That user paradigm has changed completely with version 1.4. The new product features a Web-based interface that uses graphical clues, such as green check marks and red Xes, to quickly tell administrators whether a given security policy is in or out of compliance. Drilling down into policies will tell administrators which areas of the system are out of compliance. They are even given the option to use Policy Minder’s unique “check it” and “fix it” routines to automatically address out-of-compliance situations.
Another major benefit of the Web-based GUI with version 1.4 is support for multi-server implementations. Previous releases of Policy Minder required a separate copy of the program on each server to be monitored. This limitation is now gone, and users have the options to manage multiple Power System or System i servers from a single Web-based console.
One happy beta tester for version 1.4 is Robin Tatum, a System i security professional with MSI Systems Integrators of Omaha, Nebraska. “With the introduction of the new GUI interface, Policy Minder emerges from the shadows, and proudly presents itself as an indispensable solution in this era of regulatory compliance,” Tatum says. “The power of Policy Minder has really been harnessed by the enhanced interface as it provides a new level of point-and-click usability–even for a green-screen power user like me.”
Other handy Policy Minder features pointed out by Tatum include the product’s nightly self-validation routines and the home page that continually updates the security status of monitored System i servers. “I can’t even imagine having to monitor all of this manually any more,” Tatum says.
Policy Minder 1.4 will help System i shops take the next step in regulatory compliance, says Carol Woodbury, president and co-founder of SkyView. “Most companies that we talk to are way beyond the ‘proving compliance’ stage. They’ve seen the cost associated compliance continue to escalate and they are looking for a way to drive that cost down,” she says. “That is exactly what Policy Minder was created to do. Whether you choose to stick with the ‘green-screen’ interface or use the GUI, our goal was to create a product that automates the compliance process and produces a measurable return on investment.”
New e-mail capabilities were also delivered with Policy Minder 1.4. Users can now automatically send an e-mail report after running a specific command, such as the Check It or Fix It routines. The new browser interface also streamlines the configuration of Policy Minder, by supporting the uploading of user profile and object authority information from CSV files. Support for new i 6.1 (i5/OS V6R1) profile attributes for device sessions and user profiles are also included in this release, among other new features.
Policy Minder 1.4 is available now. Pricing is tier-based and ranges from $3,495 to $9,995. An additional LPAR fee is added for customers running the software in more than one LPAR. For more information, visit www.skyviewpartners.com.