Mainframe: investment, innovation and integration are the keys to success

Platform security is a top concern as organizations try to develop new services and open up more of the host.

Consumers are increasingly using digital products every day, and in doing so, they are yearning for user-friendly, always-accessible, error-free digital experiences. As a result, development teams are under greater pressure than ever to innovate at high speed and produce high-quality services and applications.

In this context, the host cannot be seen as a component synonymous with rejection or slowness. To thrive, organizations must instead evolve their processes, tools and cultures to effectively respond to market demands and emerging business needs.

The key to moving towards faster, more responsive, and higher-quality development is to take a left-shift approach to testing—doing it as early in the process as possible. Organizations cannot afford to submit software development to operations for testing and wait for bug reports before they can fix problems.

By bringing testing closer to the development team and integrating it into the automated continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, new code can be tested quickly, resulting in more flexible release cycles while improving overall quality.

For example, our recent research found that 92% of businesses believe the mainframe is a platform for long-term growth and new workloads, while 86% of the largest consumers of technology expect an increase in MIPS (millions of instructions per second) in the next year. . This is not surprising given the disruptive nature of the modern digital economy.

Additionally, we’ve seen “mainframe champions” – organizations that are increasing their mainframe investment or expecting MIPS growth – to incorporate mainframe into their agile development and DevOps. In doing so, they have improved the stability of their IT infrastructure, the quality of their applications, and the efficiency of their development processes.

Mainframe security remains essential for businesses

Platform security is a top concern as organizations try to develop new services and open up more of the host.

Specifically, we found that 61% of companies place security as their top priority for the second year in a row, with mainframe champions emphasizing proactive security, real-time visibility, and Mainframe integration into Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).

However, while the mainframe is inherently secure, the dazzling transition to teleworking in 2020 has only shown once again that the traditional network perimeter no longer exists and a proactive approach is required to ensure mainframe protection. In fact, more than three-quarters of companies that have conducted an internal security audit in the past two years have identified an unpatched vulnerability; the most common is operating system and configuration related.

After the company’s periphery disappeared, it is clear that controls are no longer sufficient to guarantee protection against threats. The host should also be proactively secured with real-time visibility and SIEM integration to support rapid detection and response from security operations center (SOC) teams.

This approach is also necessary to move towards the Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE) model. To sustainably protect against vulnerabilities, malicious activity, and data theft, organizations should consider:

> Enhance capabilities to block known suspicious and malicious activity before systems are compromised. This task can be accomplished through automated protection, detection and response;

> Provide real-time visibility to security and operations teams so they can quickly neutralize opportunities for attackers. This approach can mean the difference between a secure platform and a malicious attack;

> Gather actionable intelligence to respond to events. To do this, it is important that data is correlated across multiple systems and translated into a common security language for clarity and context.

Innovate to meet growing digital demands

Businesses are changing rapidly to meet the growing demand for new applications and services, and to deliver a superior customer experience to both their employees and customers, which is ADE’s core tenet.

We’ve also seen the most advanced companies update their host applications more frequently and want to speed up delivery even more. They have based the company’s development on the Agile/DevOps strategy, including mainframe-only environments, and the ROI is fast. Identified benefits include:

> improving the stability of IT infrastructures and the quality of deployed applications;

> Automation of manual tasks to reduce errors and allow development staff to focus on high-value initiatives;

> Leveraging modern development tools to attract new talent to create new innovations on the platform.

Faced with the rise in digital activities, from remote work to online banking, commerce and entertainment, companies have been able to rely on their mainframes to cope with new levels of unpredictability.

As businesses continue to evolve, this technology will help organizations become Autonomous Digital Enterprises that can differentiate themselves from the competition through agility, customer focus and actionable insights.