Formed in 1883 in Wes Des Moines, Iowa, The IMT Group offers a variety of personal and commercial insurance products to more than 800 Independent Agencies based throughout Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The IMT Group utilizes an IBM® zSystems to manage their vast amount of sensitive customer data while running IBM’s Resource Access Control Facility (RACF®) to assist with daily tasks such as the protection of vital system resources and the controlling of user capabilities. While RACF has the capability to execute essential tasks, the actuality is often that organizations such as The IMT Group face such a considerable amount of data and user management that they are left with little to no time to learn the proper execution of RACF commands and their associated syntax (CARLa, COBOL, etc.)
“I have found ERQ to be a powerful product that can assist in many of the day to day tasks of mainframe security.”
The need to harness the maximum power of RACF despite limited output resources and RACF knowledge is what led The IMT Group to discover ASPG’s Easy RACF Query™ (ERQ) product. ERQ provides a comprehensive RACF administration and reporting experience without requiring extensive RACF knowledge. Novice and
seasoned RACF Administrators alike can utilize ERQ to easily execute RACF tasks, write custom RACF applications and procedures, and manage and monitor RACF security. Todd Allen, Systems Programmer with The IMT Group, states, “I work in a shop where the system programmers do all tasks from CICS to DASD to RACF and this often leaves me with little time to read up on all of RACF’s abilities. Our RACF solution pre-ERQ was non-existent. I have found ERQ to be a powerful product that can assist in many of the day-to-day tasks of mainframe security.”
Another way ERQ increases employee productivity is by empowering Administrators to write custom applications and procedures more efficiently via its library of sample executable applications. These applications, whether customized or used as is, can be utilized by non-Administrators with little to no training. In fact, Administrators no longer need to memorize, lookup, or store complex RACF commands as ERQ’s Format Commands allow(s) them to easily format, edit, and execute customized and standard RACF commands. ERQ’s ISPF interface and point and click panels allow for improved end-user productivity via intuitive navigation of the product. Allen attests to the ease of using ERQ, stating, “After working with a trial version of the product, it was decided that the product fit our needs. The webinars provide the ability to learn the information needed to use the product effectively.”
“ERQ increases employee productivity, empowering Administrators to write custom applications and procedures more efficiently via its library of sample executable applications.”
In addition to fully utilizing RACF’s functionality, ERQ assists with eliminating RACF database clutter and vulnerabilities created from inefficient or inexperienced administration of RACF. Maintaining the RACF database improves efficiency and security by helping to ensure the data managed by RACF does not include orphaned references to unused items in the database. The IMT Group faced this challenge prior to implementing ERQ. Allen recalls, “Many years of feeding the RACF beast whatever was needed to get users, software, and certificates to work had left our RACF database at a point where it contained a lot of useless and possibly even dangerously insecure permissions. The RACF panels did little as a tool to offer a picture of how cluttered the database was.”
“We have begun the process of cleaning and tailoring the RACF database with ERQ.”
To solve this issue, ERQ includes a RACF Health Checker which assists system operators with the discovery and diagnosing of RACF issues. Additionally, ERQ includes all of the online functions necessary to automate the entire security administration process, including many options not found in other third-party tools. ERQ allows access to live and archived RACF databases, and, with the click of a button, allows clean-up tasks to be streamlined. Allen confirms, “We have begun the process of cleaning and tailoring the RACF database with ERQ.”
ERQ is a fully supported solution from ASPG, Inc., a software vendor since 1986. Cutting-edge product features, extensive product training, and complementary scripting and installation are standard company practices, and 24x7x365 technical support will always place you in touch with a live technical support specialist. When asked about his satisfaction with ASPG and ERQ, Allen stated, “The company reps have been quick to respond to our requests, and with ERQ I feel I can get the most out of the [RACF] product without being an expert.”
Trusted Solutions From Advanced Software Products Group, Inc.
ASPG is an industry-leading software development company with IBM, Microsoft, and GSA certifications. For nearly 30 years they have been producing award-winning software for data centers and mainframes, specializing in data security, storage administration, and systems productivity, providing solutions for a majority of the GLOBAL 1000 data centers. More information about ASPG and its system administration and security products can be found on the ASPG website at www.aspg.com.