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Thursday, April 13, 2006

TSM Is Not A Security Tool!

I thought I would pass along some of the crazier things I have seen with TSM and get your input to see who has the wildest/stupidest story concerning TSM.  My most recent experience is when I was ask to setup scripts to alert security personnel when a specific file was changed and backed up. Reason? If the file was changed it showed that the servers had been compromised. I, of course, stated without reservation NO! TSM is not a security tool and will not be used as one. That’s what security-monitoring tools are for! Then there was the time we were asked to provide a hard copy list of every file in backup storage. (That means a printed list of every file on tape. I kid you not!) This insane request was from a customer who had no idea what they were asking. When told what the results would be they insisted on having the list provided. We were floored, what idiot is going to sift through the mounds of paper and identify every file? Of course there is always the requests that come in from people wanting data from the 70’s, 80’s, and a lot from the 90’s. If I had a REEL to REEL machine or older tape hardware, I still wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to restore the data since the computers the data was from are long gone and what tools were used to backup the data are probably buried with the person who once used those archaic tools (You mainframe people crack me up!). Have you ever seen Real Genius?  If you haven’t then I suggest it for a good laugh. There is one character in particular that I love, Lazlo Hollyfeld.  Played by Jon Gries, Lazlo is a scientist at a MIT/CIT like school that lives in the closet of the dorm room of the lead characters who suffered from a breakdown and is not quit living in reality. I work with a Lazlo! I swear he looks like Lazlo and when he goes into his cube it reminds me of him. I say this because he is a “Mainframer” and laughs and scoffs at us Open Systems people. Even he didn’t have a clue how data from that long ago could be restored since none of the software or hardware was available. Then there are always the requests where the person needs data restored that is missing. What data? They are not sure! What was the name or do they know some portion of the name or extension? No! How long has it been gone? Not sure! They think it was from 4-5 years ago. These requests kill me! Even if I was willing to go look at the old archives of the systems I still wouldn’t have any idea what the customer was really looking for. These are just some of the things I have run into and I am sure you all have many more great stories! Please share and let others feel your pain and enjoy a good laugh.    

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like people wanted you to custom write an intrusion detection tool using TSM logs as part of the tool. I agree, BAD IDEA, by a tool designed for intrusion detection!

    However, TSM can be used to encrypt on the client before it is even sent along the "wire" and that makes TSM very secure for sensitive data. Don't loose your key of course, but if your data gets stolen on the way to your offsite location, your auditors will be happy that it was encrypted!

    The moral of the story is that even though this blog is entitled "TSM is not a security tool", the features inherent whithin TSM make it a VERY secure, enterprise backup/archive solution.

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