Database security is the controls, measures, and software tools companies implement to protect computer systems from potential cyber threats. Their objective is to preserve the confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity of information within their databases. They focus their attention on addressing and safeguarding the following:
- All of their business database management systems in their IT infrastructure,
- The software applications necessary to run the database management systems,
- Both the database server and its mandatory hardware components, and
- The network infrastructure the companies use to access their business databases.
Companies often find it difficult to maintain a reasonably high level of database security for their businesses. On the one hand, they need to ensure their employees can easily access their databases. Only then can they carry out all of their respective duties diligently and efficiently. However, it also makes the data more vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks from nefarious criminals. Implementing measures to make their database impregnable to these threats restricts employees’ accessibility to the data. As a result, employees cannot discharge their responsibilities fully. Companies need to adopt information security technologies and qualified DBAs for database performance tuning, which provide the ideal balance of accessibility and protection.
Keep data breach at bay
A data breach is a failure on the companies’ part to preserve the confidentiality of their business information. They collect, sort, and retrieve this data from the physical and virtual database server network in their IT infrastructure. This negligence can result in substantial losses for the companies and seriously damage their market reputation. The level of damage a potential data breach can inflict on the companies can result in:
- A compromise to their intellectual property rights critical for them to maintain the competitive edge,
- Adversely affect the confidence of their stakeholders, trading partners, and customers,
- Inability to continue their commercial operations until the resolution of the breach,
- The imposition of financial penalties for failing to comply with statutory cybersecurity regulations, and
- Incur the costs of investigating the data breach, taking necessary action, and notifying customers.
Common data security threats companies face
The breaches threatening the companies’ computer systems, databases, and network servers can come in many different forms. These include software mis configurations, system application vulnerabilities, employees ‘carelessness, or misuse of data accessibility privileges. The common forms of cybersecurity attacks which companies need to protect databases and IT infrastructure are:
- Inside threats where resentful and discontent employees with data accessibility rights try to:
- Financially harm the companies for wrongful treatment or termination of their services,
- Intentionally type in syntax errors to make the databases susceptible to cyber attacks, and
- Gain confidential information on the databases using some other staff members credentials.
- Human errors resulting from unintentional accidents, password sharing, careless behavior, and inserting weak passwords by employees,
- Hackers exploiting the software application vulnerabilities companies use to operate their database management systems,
- SQL / No-SQL injection attacks resulting from their failure to follow safe coding practices when using web applications.
- Exploit buffer overflow vulnerabilities when cybercriminals overwrite the memory of software application running the databases.
- Denial of service attacks where the cybercriminals make the databases inaccessible to top management and employees,
- Malware where potential cybercriminals write and execute software applications to damage the databases, and
- Backup attacks when they fail to store confidential information in their databases multiple cloud-servers with stringent controls.
According to a leading name in database administration and management, the above cyber security threats the companies have to deal with can blow out of proportion when:
- They have to collect, store, process, and retrieve exponentially huge volumes of data in their databases,
- Their physical and virtual database network servers in IT infrastructure are becoming extremely complex,
- They do not have enough professionals in their staff with expertise in the area of cyber security, and
- It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to comply with stringent cybersecurity regulations.
Best cybersecurity practices companies can implement
Companies have to make their business databases accessible to their employees and top management for obvious reasons. However, they need to take the necessary steps with skilled DBAs in database management to protect the repositories from cyber security threats. They can achieve this objective by adopting and implementing the following practices:
- Ensuring the on-premises or cloud-based database servers are in a safe climate-controlled environment,
- Limiting the number of employees and managers who have access to information on the databases,
- Running a thorough background check on the personnel with permission to access the databases,
- Using the latest software monitoring devices to avert unauthorized access to the databases,
- Using strong encryption keys to protect confidential business and client information on the databases,
- Acquiring the latest database management software applications with adequate security features to run the databases,
- Installing firewalls and continuously scanning for vulnerabilities in the web servers connected to databases,
- Managing password changes and access permissions to employees to operate the databases,
- Backup, encrypt, and store the confidential information on the databases in multiple secure locations,
- Isolating sensitive business and customer information on the databases to prevent it from becoming compromised,
- Conducing data security awareness and education programs for the benefits of the employees, and
- Conducting an audit of all data servers’ log-ins and operations employees perform on sensitive business information.
Data security controls companies should implement
Companies should even consider imposing the following controls in addition to adopting the best data security practices:
- Administrative controls on the installation, configuration, and up-gradation of data management software platform,
- Preventive controls to regulate accessibility rights, tokenization, masking, and encryptions,
- Detective controls to keep track of database activity, identify suspicious access attempts, and data loss.
Database security is a primary concern for companies of all sizes. These corporate enterprises need adequate steps with professional and qualified DBAs to protect confidential information on their databases. Otherwise, they might end up suffering huge financial losses and damage to their market reputation. In this scenario, their stakeholders and customers might lose their confidence and refuse to do business with them.
Fortunately, there are several best practices and security controls they can implement to avert cyber threats. These include adopting stronger passwords, encryption codes, cybersecurity education programs, and monitoring employees’ accessibility rights.