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Database Security Assessment and Checklist

Database security refers to the measures companies take to preserve the records’ confidentiality and integrity within their business databases. It generally involves assigning access privileges to employees according to the job profile, implementing controls, or using cyber-security tools. Only then can corporate enterprises avert various cyber-security threats which can compromise the confidential information within their databases. Otherwise, malicious cyber-criminals like hackers can use the companies’ vital data to:

  • Commit financial frauds like misappropriating funds from their corporate bank accounts,
  • Earn a considerable sum of money by informing their competitors of trade secrets or potential business plans,
  • Bring their entire commercial operations in the market to a standstill resulting in loss of revenue,
  • To obtain the personal credit information of their stakeholders and use it for their nefarious intentions,
  • Ruin their market reputation by compelling the customers to file lawsuits for not adequate action to safeguard their confidential information, and
  • Acquire deals regarding their intellectual property rights and use them for nefarious activities.

Kinds of cyber-security attacks on business databases

Skilled DBAs in charge of managing databases state the types of attack cyber-criminals generally launch on the business databases of companies include:

  • Insider threats coming from discontent employees or malicious individuals have known the companies who:
  • Intentionally type in errors to make the business databases susceptible to potential cyber-security attacks, and
  • Somehow gain access to confidential data within the databases and uses it damage the companies’ market reputation.
  • Human errors where employees accidentally use weak passwords or share vital informationor unknown malicious individualscreating data breaches,
  • Exploiting the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of cyber-security software applications the companies use to protect their business databases,
  • SQL injection attacks involving the insertion of arbitrary codes in SQL queries by malicious individuals toaccess the database information,
  • Exploiting buffer flow limitations where malicious users type in more data than the memory devices in database servers can contain,
  • Denial of service attacks whereby a malicious individual sends many requests to the database servers causing them to crash,
  • Malware attack which involving running a software program capable of exploiting the shortcomings of the database application or server.

Objective implementing database security control measures

The companies’ objective for formulating and implementing various database security control measures are to protect-

  • The business records and confidential information their business databases contain,
  • The database management system (DBMS),
  • All software applications and programs necessary to run the database servers,
  • Both the physical and virtual database servers, including the relevant hardware components, and
  • The computing platform and network infrastructure their employees use to access the data within the database.

Professionals from esteemed database management and administration company RemoteDBA.comstates that the top officials and employees responsible for cyber-security should be careful when implementing the latest security measures. They need to prevent all kinds of data breaches likely to seriously affect the enterprises’ commercial operations. However, they should ensure other employees and managers have sufficient access to the business information on these databases without hassles.

What is the purpose of the database security assessment checklist?

Companies should periodically review their cyber-security measures to ensure their business databases’ safety and the information within them. Then, they should consider implementing the latest cyber-security technology and adopting the best industry-based practices for its security. To do so, the companies need to chalk out a database security assessment checklist to evaluate the effectiveness of the following controls:

  • Data encryption technique

This security control measure involves converting critical information within the business databases into cipher-text. Employees without the right accessibility privileges might try to get a hold of the data for various reasons. In these instances, data encryption will generate an unreadable text that they will not understand. Only those with the right accessibility privileges can decrypt this data to its original form using the appropriate encryption keys.

  • Input validation and sanitization

Input validation technique involves checking the SQL queries an end-user types into an input field of the database to meet a specific criterion. For instance, the queries should contain special and numeric characters. If this is not the case, the database will generate an error message denying the end-user access to the information within it. Sanitization is the technique of filtering out unnecessary characters in the SQL queries end-users enter into the database. Both these techniques are effective in preventing SQL injection attacks.

  • Installing a firewall

A firewall refers to a network security device that monitors all incoming and outgoing data traffic in a database. It blocks data packets that do not meet a certain set of in-built security rules. The firewall functions serve as a barrier to preventing suspicious data traffic from external sources from entering the database. This helps to stop cyber-threats like malware, distributed denial of service(DDoS), phishing, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting attacks.

  • Inserting a database vulnerability scanner

A database vulnerability scanner is a device that detects vulnerabilities or wrong configurations within the database server networks. It even searches for suspicious data content trying to enter the database using three common methods. These are web crawling, link discovery, and analyzing the data content. It identifies and removes certain potential cyber-threats before any serious damage occurs. These could include spam content, malware, or SQL injection.

In addition to the above measures, companies should include the following in their database security assessment checklists:

  • Reviewing their employees’ accessibility privileges according to job profile frequently,
  • Locking all out-of-date default user-accounts,
  • Installing only database software application necessary to run their network databases,
  • Changing default passwords of administrative end-users frequently, and
  • Enforcing proper password management and data dictionary protection.

Therefore, in this way, the database security will not be compromised and exposed to cyber-threats. It is prudent for a business to resort to skilled DBA experts or experienced remote DBA companies for an extensive database health check. This health check will give the business a custom report when it comes to the bottlenecks present in database security and performance. The company can proceed to apply the relevant fixes and prevent cyber-threats, data thefts, and data loss with success. These database health checks should be conducted frequently for the business to stay protected and safe from cyber-criminals and hackers.

Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.