Raz-Lee Tracks IBM i PTFs, Ships Password Reset Product
October 23, 2012 Alex Woodie
Organizations that struggle to keep track of IBM i PTFs manually may be interested in the new automated PTF tracking function unveiled by Raz-Lee Security last week. The company’s Change Tracker software can now track all PTF “apply” and “remove” actions in the IBM i environment, and report on the status of any PTF and all related objects. In other news, the Nanuet, New York-based company announced the release of Password Reset for IBM i.
Change Tracker, which Raz-Lee launched earlier this year at the COMMON show at Disneyland, tracks changes made to production code at the source and object levels. Raz-Lee developed the software to fill a need left by traditional change management products, which do a good job tracking software while in development, the company says, but often leave something to be desired once the code is deployed into production.
The support for tracking program temporary fixes (PTFs) was a logical extension of the product. IBM PTFs represent some of the biggest changes that organizations will make with their IBM i servers. IBM issues new PTFs almost every day for the supported operating systems, including i5/OS V5R4, IBM i 6.1, and IBM i 7.1.
Keeping track of PTFs can be a real challenge, which is one of the reasons why IT Jungle publishes the weekly System i PTF Guide, which, by the way, is put together by Doug Bidwell and his company, DLB Associates. With regulations like HIPAA, SOX, and PCI-DSS running CIOs ragged, anything that can streamline the slightly overwhelming auditing and traceability requirements is welcome.
Change Tracker will tell an administrator what PTFs were applied or removed, when the transaction occurred, and who initiated it. The software also keeps an eye on all the objects that were involved with the PTF (including name, type, and modules), and records the current status of each PTF in the system as well. This information can be accessed interactively, or generated as a PDF, HTML, or CSV report. Organizations requiring insight into multiple LPARs or machines can get it by pairing Change Tracker with Raz-Lee’s Central Administration product.
“PTFs are changes to the most important production library–the operating system itself,” states Raz-Lee CEO and CTO Shmuel Zailer in a press release. “PTFs can be applied temporarily and then removed, so it is extremely important to be able to know the status of a PTF at a certain time. With the addition of support for tracking IBM i PTFs, Change Tracker can be used by system administrators and IT management to audit the status of PTFs.”
Raz-Lee also last week unveiled Password Reset, a new product that, as its name suggests, enables users to reset passwords all by themselves, without any help from the systems admin, help desk, or daddy.
The software works by using an e-mail-based authentication process. If users correctly answer personal questions, the software allows them to reset their passwords. This approach ensures the integrity of the IBM i user password, while saving the time of IT professionals. (Password reset requests cost about $14 to $28 each, Gartner said way back in 2003. It has undoubtedly gone up since.)
“This new product, requested by many of our current iSecurity customers, is the perfect solution for cost-sensitive organizations to save money while at the same time providing increased benefit and security to their user community, by streamlining user password procedures to the benefit of all,” Zailer says.
For more information on the PTF Change Tracker function or Password Reset, see Raz-Lee’s website at www.razlee.com.