How to Efficiently Secure Your Database

By CIOReview | Tuesday, December 20, 2016
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Amidst the frequent cyber attacks, securing organizational assets and information has made it a tough time for the database administrators. The fear of cyber attacks has also made a tremendous change in the security solutions market in the recent decade. McAfee reported that according to a recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, more than 92 percent of records breached involve a database. Annual research by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) indicates that up to half of those breaches are caused by internal users.

Security Threats

Similar as in the other IT sectors, databases face numerous threats that are common to normal computer systems. Large databases in organizations are vulnerable in particular as they often contain sensitive information with shared access among several users. The basic threat that every database faces is partial or complete data loss. As the data stored might be even highly confidential, the consequences of a data loss can be severe.

Data loss can not only be caused by cyber attacks, but also physical damage caused by fire, water or human error to the storage device. Unauthorized access to the data base containing confidential information can be a security threat. Hackers have also developed sophisticated techniques to collect data from databases that can be used for their personal gain or to harm others.

Another category of security threats are the viruses and malwares that can gain unauthorized access to databases without the user’s knowledge. Most of the modern viruses are capable to get into the databases, replicate themselves, and hide inside the system, transferring confidential information to malicious sources. Once a virus gains access to the database, it can corrupt the data or even completely remove the data from the storage medium. Other malicious programs like spyware, malware, adware, and Trojan horses are security threats as well. While spywares are capable to collect information from databases, adware and Trojan horses can create unauthorized access.

Solution Providers

Today, every single computer system is vulnerable to security threats, however protected they are. A common strategy employed by administrators to protect data is to create multiple backups on different computer systems. So if one system fails or is attacked, the data is still secure in another machine.

There are numerous database security solutions available in the market today. Some of the leading database security solution providers are:

1. Oracle

Oracle claims to provide a comprehensive portfolio of security solutions to ensure data privacy, protect against insider threats, and enable regulatory compliance for both Oracle and non-Oracle databases. Oracle's powerful preventive and detective security controls include database activity monitoring and blocking, privileged user and multifactor access control, data classification and discovery, transparent data encryption, consolidated auditing and reporting, secure configuration management, and data masking. With Oracle solution, customers can deploy reliable data security solutions that require no changes to existing applications, saving time and money

2. McAfee

McAfee database security solutions claim to protect against external, internal, and intra-database threats. McAfee Data Center Security Suite for Databases offers a complete visibility into an organizations database landscape and security posture to fully align database security policy administration while efficiently maintaining regulatory compliance. According to the company, the solution requires no architecture changes, costly hardware, or database downtime. The suite includes McAfee Database Activity Monitoring, McAfee Vulnerability Manager for Databases, and McAfee Virtual Patching for Databases, and provides single-pane manageability for database security alongside other security solutions.

3. IBM

According to IBM, Guardium is a comprehensive data security platform that provides a full range of capabilities – from discovery and classification of sensitive data to vulnerability assessment to data and file activity monitoring to masking, encryption, blocking, alerting, and quarantining to protect sensitive data. The security solution claims to help secure sensitive data across a full range of environments from databases to big data, cloud, file systems and more. Guardium also provides automated analysis to quickly uncover internal and external risks to sensitive data. The solution is also said to easily adapt to changes in your IT environment.

Even though there are numerous database security solutions available today, selecting the right solutions satisfying an organizations requirements is not easy. As databases are the core components of an organizations functioning, securing it with the best possible solution is important. 

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