Concept of Database Security

What is Database Security?

When it comes to information security, the triad of confidentiality, integrity and availability are key. Database security refers to a wide range of measures that help preserve these three aspects.

The purpose of database security is largely to address the following aspects:

  • The data

  • DBMS or database management system

  • Database server and hardware

  • The infrastructure, be it computing or network, that is used to access the database.

Needless to mention that with so many areas to safeguard, database security is a challenging and complex job. Ross J. Anderson, in what is now popularly known as Anderson’s rule, expressed this complexity best. Essentially the rule states that if a large system is designed for ease of access it becomes insecure, while if it is made watertight, it becomes impossible to use. It is important to maintain a balance between the two, primarily as a data breach is known to bring with it a host of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Impact on your competitive advantage as your intellectual property could be compromised

  • Irreplaceable damage to reputation

  • Cost of repairing breaches, fines and penalties

Common causes of data breaches

Some of the common causes of data breaches include:

  • Malicious intentions- These may be manifested both by an internal source who is privy to information as well as an outsider who gains access to the database. With hackers targeting vulnerabilities, it is prudent to ensure security patches are applied on time.

  • Inadvertent errors- These may be caused accidentally, on account of weak passwords and more.

  • Injection attacks- These involve the insertion of SQL or non- SQL attack strings into database queries.

  • Buffer flow- This occurs if you attempt to write more data to memory than it can take. The excess data, in turn, can be used to launch the attack.

  • DoS attack- DoS or Denial Of Service attack involves the attacker inundating the database with innumerable requests, so much so that the server crashes.

  • Malware- A software written to cause damage to the database.

  • Attack on backups- These may be caused on account of several factors such as increasing data, shortage of cybersecurity skills and more.

Data Security Best Practices

There are many aspects to be considered when it comes to developing data security best practices. These include:

  • Ensuring that the database is physically located in a secure, climate-controlled space.

  • There need to be stringent network access controls with necessary permission layers.

  • Data monitoring solutions can raise alarm if there are any unusual activities.

  • All data needs to be encrypted.

  • All security patches need to be applied without any delays.

  • Web servers need to be subject to security testing.

  • Backups need to have adequate security provisions.

  • Robust auditing of database security standards is imperative.

  • There need to be adequate controls for database access. These span administrative controls, preventive controls as also detective controls.

  • Also, you need to deploy data protection tools and platforms which have the capabilities of:

    1. Classifying vulnerabilities across databases

    2. Monitoring the data activity across databases and alerting you in case of any suspicious activities as also enforce rules and policies.

    3. The tool that you choose should also have the capability to have flexible encryption capabilities that can safeguard data in multiple environments.

    4. The tool should also be able to generate insights for risk analysis, optimization, reporting and more.

With the above comprehensive approach towards database security, you can ensure that data breaches are controlled and that the triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability are adhered to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *