Linux/390 has security functionality, however there are a number of reasons to integrate this into CA TOP SECRET with the CA PAM Client for Linux for zSeries product.
Reasons to integrate Linux Security with CA TOP SECRET using the CA PAM Client for Linux for zSeries product.
- If you use the Linux security, you have to 'pre' create the id/pswd and home directory before a user can logon. With the PAM Server and client from CA, this is not a requirement. As part of the logon, when the id/pswd is authenticated to CA TOP SECRET, the users home dir, UID and GID is extracted and returned to the PAM client code running on Linux/390. This code dynamically adds the user to the /etc/password file (if so configured) and then creates the home dir if needed. The user is then allowed on to the Linux node with zero Linux administrative effort.
- Standardization - Since CA TOP SECRET is controlling the home, program, UID and GID, you will have consistent values across all nodes.
- Source controls - Using CA TOP SECRET's built in source controls, not only can you control which Linux nodes a user can logon to, but the days and time of day.
- Passwords - Using CA TOP SECRET as a central enterprise security repository, you also get standardized password controls. Min/max length, min # of days before a change, pswd history, etc.
- Passwords - Using CA TOP SECRET as a central enterprise security repository, the user has a single password value to remember. The user is not required to 'sync' their passwords.
- Security policy - When trying to create a security policy for an enterprise, there are always the differences in the security of each platform that makes it difficult to have a standard policy. Exceptions are always found. Using CA TOP SECRET as a central enterprise security repository this is no longer an issue.
- The PAM client will be released as open source from CA. This will allow any client of CA to 'port' the PAM client to any platform that has a PAM framework as part of the operating system. This includes Linux on other platforms such as Intel, Sun Solaris, HP-UX and IBM's AIX. Citing all the reasons above, you can truly start to use CA TOP SECRET as a central enterprise security repository.
- Employee's leave the company - When employees leave the company, you don't have to run around trying to delete the user account from every node they every logged on to. Suspending/deleting that account from CA TOP SECRET makes sure that every Linux system using our PAM client is secure and that ID can't be (mis)used.
- Scalable - CA TOP SECRET is very scalable. Using it to control the Linux nodes just adds to it's value.
Just to reiterate reason 1, we worked with a client who was in the process of setting up approximately 1000 Linux/390 LPARs. The administrative effort to maintain user id/pswds in the nodes would require a number of administrators. While a site's organization might not be looking at this many, we will venture a guess and say that we doubt the administrative staff is growing to service security requirements. This alone should be reason enough to add a very thin layer to enhance and centralize the security in a site's environment.
Details on the CA PAM Client for Linux for zSeries can be found at the Support Online web site at: https://support.ca.com; select the "Support by Product" from the Support column to the left, then select "CA PAM Client for Linux for zSeries" from the "Select a Product page" drop down box.