Focal Point Emphasizes Security Assessments, Documents In The Cloud
June 13, 2016 Dan Burger
Focal Point Solutions Group, an IBM i-based managed service provider specializing in high availability, disaster recovery architectures, and security monitoring has expanded its services to include security assessments and document management in the cloud.
Slowly but surely the word is getting around that IBM i systems are securable but not inherently secure. The distinction is that it takes skills and knowledge to secure the box. Security doesn’t just happen when you push the power button. More to security than locking down the network. Customers are realizing they need to know that security issues are being monitored and addressed when red flags are raised.
Because implementing security requires skills that a lot of shops do not have, Focal Point is selling the skills it can devote to the job. This on-premise service is provided on a consulting basis and is not part of Focal Point’s cloud-based business.
Focal Point’s security package includes a monthly security report that serves as a security status update. It identifies critical needs, explains the problems, delivers advice on how to fix problems, and what to do next.
Focal Point offers a free, limited assessment to companies that want a quick and easy evaluation of their security status. It involves a questionnaire and, on average, takes a half-day to complete. It points out potential gaps in security and provides some potential fixes. Exit programs, authorities, library uses, password deficiencies, and user profiles are some of the problem areas that the assessment discovers.
Beyond the initial assessment, Focal Point works with IBM i shops (other platforms too) starting with an in-depth assessment. It then matches the shop with what is determined to be the best security solution. Security software by Enforcive Software and the IBM portfolio of security software as well as other third-party software are among the choices. The choice of security software depends on the organization’s requirements, infrastructure and budget.
Enforcive software, for example, includes application access control, auditing and reporting, compliance management, real-time alerts, log collection and distribution, data and object encryption, and password management.
As you might expect, the remediation is far more difficult than the assessment, but remediation is where an IT department maintains it commitments to management that the system is secure and compliance mandates are being met.
“Most shops plan to handle the remediation internally, but find out it can be time consuming and require skills they don’t have, so they contract that to us,” says Ron Venzin, Focal Point Solutions Group’s managing partner.
“This is a lot like what we do with our HA business when we come in and do role swaps,” Pete Elliot, another Focal Point partner, noted. “We’ve standardized that and made a science of that.”
Elliot also indicated that Focal Point is working on delivering online security training that would be bundled into it security services package.
Cloud-based IBM i document management will be offered by Focal Point during the third quarter of 2016. The managed service provider says service will be called Documents in the Cloud. Its features include the capability to electronically capture, separate, index, and deliver documents and reports from a browser-based interface that provides both user access and wizard-driven administrative tools.
The subscription-based software belongs to S4i Systems, a company with a long history of producing licensed document management software for IBM i shops with the desire to streamline their business operations. S4i will provide the customer support.
“The need for fast, safe, reliable and cost-effective document automation is increasing and can provide significant relief,” says Venzin, adding that the benefits that come from cloud-based document management include: better protection for stored documents, continuous document availability, and a reduction in the IT budget compared to on-premise document management.
S4i says Documents in the Cloud integrates with most ERP and CRM applications as well as Web and operating system-based applications, including scanning and workflow apps. It can also create document access filters consisting of any combination of search criteria that return requested results. It also provides customized access rules that can be used to establish permission for selected information.
Pricing will be determined by the number of end users, scanned imaging requirements, and archive disk space. Focal Point cloud service will be priced separately.