"Our long history with Attachmate (now part of Micro Focus), going all the way back to coaxially connected computers and the fact that we use their software internally gave us the confidence to commence the project with Verastream."
Senior Technical Operations Consultant
Professional Business Services
NorthgateArinso (NGA) provides human resources software and services to employers of all sizes, including Global Fortune 500 companies and public-sector organizations. One of NGA’s key clients is an international pharmaceutical and health care company with major research centers in the UK, USA, Belgium, and China. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, this client was facing regulatory compliance, data security, and application integration challenges.
A long successful history with our company inspired NGA to solve the problems with Verastream integration software.
NGA’s client faced three big challenges:
From the client’s perspective, having direct access to mainframe data was important for several reasons: They wanted to remove latency potential, use existing mainframe-based business rules, and complement the architecture with new routines required for compliance. To meet these goals, NGA wanted to introduce a single middleware solution that would enable business rules for existing and future compliance requirements, strengthen security outside the mainframe, and facilitate integration between similar and disparate systems.
As satisfied users of Reflection® terminal emulation software, NGA was confident that we could provide the right solution. “Our long history with Attachmate (now part of Micro Focus), going all the way back to coaxially connected computers—and the fact that we use their software internally—gave us the confidence to commence the project with Verastream,” said Simon Davis, senior technical operations consultant at NGA.
Verastream solutions help organizations remove host-system barriers and unlock legacy information for reuse. Verastream also supports SSL, so putting secure tokens in place was one of the first elements of the project. This enabled the internal UniConnect client to safely interact with the host and conduct authenticated, encrypted conversations. A secure Telnet protocol provided a key component for meeting compliance rules.
Using Verastream as a middleware tool, Davis and his team built business models that worked with the existing processes on the mainframe. The resulting solution provided a familiar application view for experienced staff—letting them interact natively with the payroll system via existing business rules. It also provided an intuitive web interface for less-experienced employees. Verastream locked down communications between users, middleware, and hosts. Information can’t reside anywhere but on the mainframe—a big security improvement over the store-and-forward system it replaced. Data not needed by users is not transferred to client devices. Furthermore, information that needs the host data stream is retained on the server, where filters control access to it, rather than being sent to user workstations.
An unexpected benefit of this implementation is Verastream’s ability to act as a web services hub. This gives the client a previously unattainable level of flexibility. And the Verastream services architecture provides a platform for both NGA and its client to meet new demands in the future.
With Verastream, NGA was able to meet its client’s compliance, security, and application integration challenges. In fact, the client was able to automate processes, which controls costs and enhances auditability; gain greater granularity, which improves reporting; and completely track transactions, which strengthens data security.
What’s more, Verastream’s ability to support native integration with mainframe applications and enable continuous development of business rules made it possible for NGA to deliver the client’s solution quickly, within budget, and with exceptional flexibility. “It was critical to deliver a supportable solution to our client,” said Davis. “Moreover, it was critical to know we were in turn supported at the other end, and Attachmate (now part of Micro Focus) was always there for us.”