Enterprise databases contain highly sensitive business and customer information, which needed to be protected from all types of security threats and vulnerabilities. Each organization, which relies on a database to store its valuable information, needs to work consistently to identify and remediate database vulnerabilities using appropriate tools and methodologies. In addition to monitoring the security assessments and protocols constantly, is also essential that the results are properly analyzed, and audits are conducted from time to time to enhance the security measures from time to time to meet up with the changing needs.
Common threats to database security
Almost all organizations now use DBMS systems of various forms to track and store information such as customer records, transaction statements, financial info, and employee records, etc. Much of that info in these databases is sensitive to sensitive can traded for cash and so under threat of being stolen by internal or external intruders. This may result in a significant loss of business reputation and reliability, especially in those organizations that do not follow any industry standards or regulations in terms of data security.
As per a data investigation conducted by a database security agency, the report shows that about 96% of the records stolen from enterprise DBs have breached the database servers’ standards. Out of those, about 55% of exploited records were holding easily guessable or default credentials, and about 40% of those were accessed used stolen user credentials. According to another study conducted among the database professionals, about one-third of the respondents admitted that they had not installed any critical patch updates within three of their consecutive releases. As per this analysis report, the following are the major security threats for enterprise databases.
– Weak passwords or user credentials
– Not changing the default passwords
– SQL injection
– Excessive privileges to users and groups
– Unnecessary enabled DBMS features
– Buffer overflow
– Broken configuration
– Escalation of privileges
– Denial of services
– Unencrypted data
– Un-patched RDBMS
Database security essentials
Further, we will discuss the five key steps to ensure enterprise database security as per the security experts.
1. Isolating sensitive database – To ensure database security, it is essential to maintain an inventory of all the DBs deployed across the organization and identify what all sensitive data reside on the databases. Once done, appropriate measures needed to be done to isolate the sensitive databases with adequate security measures and access controls.
2. Eliminate any potential vulnerability – We should consciously audit, assess, and identify any vulnerability and remediate any possible threats.
3. Implement the least minimum privileges to users – Determine the user privileges for every database and ensure that each user across the hierarchy falls under a correctly defined user access control mechanism to assure that they hold access to just the minimum data necessary for their area of activity.
4. Monitor any differences – Enforce the most suitable policies to monitor for any database vulnerabilities that may not be remediated for any activities which depart from permitted activities.
5. React to dubious behaviors – It is essential to set alerts and promptly react to any dubious or peculiar activities on the database to evade the risk of a feasible initial attack.
To audit your existing database security measures and implement a foolproof security mechanism, you can approach providers from various sites, extending exert support for the same.
Database security best practices to follow
The primary step to ensure database security is to have a proper security plan by taking into account all the regulations and industry standards. It is ideal to have a standard checklist for the same. Organizations across the industries are following many set practices and standards, and it is ideal for developing a security plan based on the same rather than building one from scratch.
While developing this plan, it is also important that the organizations take an inventory of their existing databases within their network environment. This can be done efficiently by using vulnerability management technologies that can automatically discover the DBs and run the scans to identify which contains the most sensitive data. Customer data and financial information are considered to be the most sensitive data sets, whereas the priorities change from organization to organization based on their nature of business.
These scans performed by the technological tools can also help the organization assess the vulnerabilities in existing databases and misconfigurations. These can identify any possible threats like usage of weak or default passwords, missing patches, poor access control, and identifying which of those vulnerabilities may be exploited to prioritize the remediation. Most such tools available will also include some built-in templates that may help incorporate the requirements of best practice frameworks and initiatives for local regulatory compliance. These tools can be used to develop security programs and consistently audit and identify any new threats of vulnerabilities.
This Database Activity Monitoring or DAM tools may also help reduce any database vulnerabilities by offering better visibility into real-time database activities. They also offer tools to gather data, aggregate data, and analyze the same to look for activities that violate the security policies or indicate anomalies. As per a Gartner Group report, the primary reason for deploying DAM tools is to monitor the users’ activities like database admins, system admins, developers, outsourced personnel, and the users who are authorized to use the database.
To ensure that the threats are minimal and the regulatory requirements are complied with, the DAM tools must be used to identify any abnormal activities. Such activities include viewing any sensitive data, altering the log records, making any unauthorized configuration changes, or creating any new accounts using the administrator privileges. DAM tools can compare the activities automatically as authorized by the change requests. As a default, it is considered as the best practice to implement access control based on the principles of least privileges to the users to ensure that no user has access to excessive rights than needed.
Along with these, organizations also need to look closely into the configurations. It is also recommended that you may remove all the database options and functions which not used. To check all the configurations are in a good state, change the available auditing tools to compare the configuration snapshots to provide alerts if any misconfigurations are noted.