In the era of modern technology, effective database security is more important than ever. Your business stores a range of sensitive information (for clients and employees) all of which needs to be kept safe at all times. Should any of that data get exposed, either by malicious hackers or internal human error on your staff’s part, it could very quickly lead to severe consequences for your business. Loss of business, the trust of your clients, financial damages, lawsuits, compliance infractions, or worse. Don’t let it happen to you.
Why Should Database Security Be Enhanced?
Information stored on your business database is more than likely to be misused – either hackers who want to access, steal or corrupt it, or simply by employees who aren’t entirely sure of what they’re doing. Additionally, the database is at risk of malware infections that may lead to inappropriate effects, unauthorized access, or deletion of crucial data. Data breaches can cause an overload that would result in poor business performance and lower operational efficiency. Besides, if hackers access your private business data, it could lead to data corruption and inappropriate activity that would potentially damage your reputation. That’s why it’s so important for you to enhance database security by employing various strategies aimed at protecting the information from any unauthorized access. These strategies involve physical, administrative, and software controls. They include:
Enhancement of Physical Database Security
It may sound simple, but it’s a vitally important part of database security – make sure your servers are kept protected by physical security implementations. Locked closets, numbered keypads, video surveillance, etc. Similarly, you need to ensure that you allocate different machines from those running the web servers for your database. Given that such servers are publicly accessible, they are at a higher risk of hacking and may help in accessing the database irregularly.
Use of Database Firewalls
A firewall will help to enhance the security of the database by denying access to traffic from unidentified sources and reducing the initiation of unnecessary outbound connections. In this case, it identifies a few web servers of applications that are allowed to access the data. Web application firewalls can also be used to prevent malware such as SQL injection attacks that have a potential to delete database information.
Encryption of Data
Encryption should be a foundational aspect of your cybersecurity practices, but especially those concerning your database. In layman’s terms, encrypted data is formatted in a secret code that would be meaningless if intercepted. It is one of the most efficient ways to secure a database given that decryption can only occur through a key, which is essentially a “secret password”. In this case, there is a need for updated encryption software to ensure that private information is only accessible through the database program.
Use of Secure Passwords
Given that a password grants access to your database, it is imperative that you ensure it is complex enough that it can’t be easily guessed. In recent years, hackers have developed sophisticated tools and systems for identifying simple passwords. Therefore, combining letters, numbers, and symbols are simple ways to ensure your passwords are more difficult for hackers to crack using their standard methods.
Auditing and Monitoring Database Activity
Regular database auditing and monitoring help to detect any unusual activity or login attempts by an unauthorized individual. In addition, doing so can help you detect cases of account sharing or any other suspicious activity. The organization may need Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) software that is important in monitoring such activities automatically and independently. Additionally, auditing the database helps to identify accounts that are no longer in use, which could increase the risk of hacking.
Tight Management of the Database Access
It’s important to limit the number of people accessing the database in order to enhance monitoring. Besides, your administrators should only get the minimum privileges that are necessary for their jobs. In some instances, employees are caught colluding with external hackers to defraud an organization or steal crucial data. Therefore, it would be prudent for your business to consider acquiring access management software that provides temporary passwords to authorized users and more specific privileges when necessary. That way, any attempts to access the database with these credentials after they expire won’t work and will notify you of such attempts.
Segmentation of Database
A large, singular database is at a higher risk of exposing private information because it involves so much data. That’s why it can be useful to segment the data by creating various roles within the database. This help prevents all administrators from viewing all data whenever they like. Were you to segment your database, depending on the roles, your administrators may be classified with different privileges and access to different levels of database information.
The security of a database is undeniably important for businesses like yours. Be sure to follow strict cybersecurity practices in order to keep your database secure from malicious hackers and careless employees.
Published On: 7th May 2018 by Ernie Sherman.