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HelpSystems’ 2021 State of IBM i Security Study Reveals Lax Security Controls Continue to Expose Vulnerabilities

Study highlights how many organisations rely on system settings that leave data at risk, while user privileges and access permissions typically far exceed necessary levels

HelpSystems recently released the findings from the 18th edition of its State of IBM i Security Study. Based on insights collated from 247 IBM i servers and partitions that were audited in 2020, the report helps readers understand common IBM i security risks and provides a go-to resource for how to correct them, quickly and effectively. With organisations around the globe waking up to the business impacts of lax cybersecurity, and 75% of IBM i pros ranking cybersecurity as a top concern, this year’s study reveals concrete, impartial data showing the security gaps which remain in IBM i systems.

Cyberthreats grow more sophisticated every year, especially in the newly distributed remote work environment. The weaknesses identified and documented in this study are often caused by poor or missing configurations that can— and should—be corrected.

The 2021 State of IBM i Security Study provides data from seven critical areas of IBM i security:

  • Security Enforcement Level
  • Users with Powerful Authorities
  • Password and Profile Security
  • Access to Data
  • Network Access
  • Detecting Security Violations
  • Malware Protection

“Our study shows that some common, longstanding and dangerous IBM i security exposures still remain,” said Robin Tatam, Director of Security Technologies, HelpSystems. “But in recent years HelpSystems has observed an encouraging trend showing organisations large and small are increasingly prioritising IBM i security. So, while we still have a long way to go, a deeper understanding of the risks and the security controls built into the OS is definitely driving a wave of interest in prioritising these issues.”

The 2021 State of IBM i Security Study offers exclusive insight into the tools and strategies organisations are using to secure IBM i—and where systems are often left vulnerable. For access to the full results, download the report here or watch the recorded webinar here.

HelpSystems State of IBM i Security Study Methodology

The data shared in this study is collected by HelpSystems security experts auditing IBM i systems using the HelpSystems Security Scan. This free software runs directly from any network-attached PC without modifying systems settings, interrogating Power Systems running IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400) across seven critical audit areas.

About HelpSystems

HelpSystems is a software company focused on helping exceptional organisations Build a Better IT™. Our cybersecurity and automation software simplifies critical IT processes to give our customers peace of mind. We know IT transformation is a journey, not a destination. Let’s move forward. Learn more at

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