Exploring crucial terminal emulation capabilities

BrandPost By Milan Shetti, CEO, Rocket Software
Oct 16, 20235 mins

These four factors are highly necessary for successful implementation and to maximize ROI.

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Credit: iStock/Credit:megaflopp

As organizations rely on terminal emulation to access and interact with legacy systems, the capabilities offered by terminal emulation solutions become crucial factors in the selection process. Terminal emulation users have specific requirements to ensure a seamless and efficient user experience. 

When considering a new terminal emulation solution, organizations tend to be concerned about the conversion impact — the duration of the migration, the end-to-end skills needed, the productivity outcomes that can be expected, and the impact of a rip and replace on day-to-day operations and employee morale. However, as remote and hybrid work schedules have reshaped how organizations operate, this has necessitated robust and secure technology solutions to support seamless collaboration and access to critical systems, requiring a more robust solution to meet employee needs.

Terminal emulation capabilities — such as solid security features, extensive protocol support, integration into current systems, and maintenance offerings from the vendor — play a vital role in guaranteeing access to essential data points that are necessary for protection from security threats anywhere and anytime. These four factors are highly necessary when exploring new terminal emulation solutions for successful implementation and to maximize ROI.

  1. Security

Robust security features are necessary to protect sensitive data and ensure secure connections to mainframe systems. Terminal emulation solutions with robust security features provide a crucial layer of protection against potential threats and vulnerabilities. Features such as encryption protocols, secure authentication mechanisms, and secure data transmission help safeguard confidential information during remote sessions.

Protocols can include certified TLS 1.3 for various Windows versions, as many businesses are moving to Windows. Because TLS 1.3 is the most common security protocol on the internet, it offers several advanced features, like data encryption, to create a secure communication channel between two endpoints. Security should also include multifactor authentication, which is the simplest way to improve the security of a mainframe significantly, given that some organizations still use only eight-character passwords. Advanced security features provide peace of mind and help organizations meet compliance requirements in various industries. 

By implementing terminal emulation solutions with advanced security capabilities, organizations can ensure that remote employees can securely connect to legacy systems, minimizing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. This helps meet compliance requirements and build trust with users and stakeholders. 

2. Protocol support

Businesses also require good protocol support, as support for multiple emulation protocols allows businesses to connect to a wide range of host systems. This can include TN3270E (for emulating 3270 terminal and printer devices using Telnet), TN5250 (for access to an AS/400, also known as IBM i), VT/DEC (even today terminal emulation software is expected to emulate the VT100 and its successors), SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol, which allows an organization to connect securely with partners, users, and customers), and FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure, which adds an extra security layer to FTP).

3. Integration

Businesses should seek terminal emulation solutions that offer integration capabilities with other software systems and tools. The integration allows for seamless data exchange between terminal emulation software and other applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), or business intelligence (BI) systems. This capability enables streamlined workflows, improved data accuracy, and efficient data analysis. 

In browser-based terminal emulation, there is no software download onto a desktop or laptop, with all the time-consuming administrative aspects of installing and maintaining the client software. This also helps reduce costs because no hardware (or even software if the emulator is provided as a service) investment is required.  

4. Maintenance

Before choosing a terminal emulation system, businesses should evaluate a vendor’s support and maintenance offerings. Organizations need solid support with their terminal emulation solution migration, including tools for a seamless transition, a comprehensive library of best practices, and deep expertise capable of handling technical and logistical surprises. The vendor should provide reliable technical support, ensuring prompt assistance when issues arise or when questions need clarification. Regular software updates and bug fixes are crucial to address security vulnerabilities and compatibility.

Terminal emulation users have specific requirements when selecting a solution to access and interact with legacy systems — and the best solution can ensure organizations maintain data confidentiality, productivity, and compliance. Enhanced security features, integration capabilities, vendor maintenance offerings, and protocol support tools are some of the critical capabilities that users seek. By understanding these requirements, terminal emulation solutions can empower organizations to maximize productivity, streamline operations, and ensure a seamless user experience in their interactions with legacy systems. 

A highly configurable and flexible terminal emulation is essential to providing the data businesses need to meet customer needs and improve the employee experience. Learn more about the Rocket Terminal Emulator to see how it can enhance your business operations while saving time and resources. 

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