It is easy to believe that security for databases is the sole responsibility of RDBMS (RDBMS) suppliers. They are experts in their platform and theoretically could be the first-choice source for products that safeguard their databases. But, in reality, RDBMS vendors only provide some of the security picture.
Some essential security capabilities are included in relational databases. Identity management access control, identity management, and encryption for communication are just a few examples. But this doesn’t cover numerous essential services that are essential, like surveillance of users’ activities, SQL injection protection and vulnerability assessment. In some cases, the information offered isn’t enough. For instance, databases-generated audit trails typically don’t contain the necessary information to prepare compliance reports. Likewise, the encryption built into them is usually too slow and complicated to integrate.
Furthermore the security gap in databases gets larger when RDBMS customer needs are considered since organizations typically require protection for more than one kind of database. Single-platform products do not work well when an organization has sensitive data in a variety of databases. Actually, the majority of companies utilize Oracle in conjunction with Postgres and MySQL as well as DB2, Sybase and SQL Server — each of them serving its specific and crucial functions in business.
As problematic is the way the requirements for compliance and security in the enterprise are usually concentrated on the security of the data and not the infrastructure. Data security, however requires more than protecting the database container. the way data is usedand under what circumstances is an issue that is not addressed by databases or its role-based access control system.
This is why databases security tools play an important, if perhaps the major role to protect company data within the database center. Let’s have a look into these security tools, and see how they will fill in the gap in capabilities for data security of databases within the enterprise.
Monitoring the activity of databases
The most important element of security in a database includes activity monitoring which are often referred to as databases activity monitoring (DAM) systems. They track every SQL activities that are logged in the database — which includes administrative actions and then analyze the data for any behavioral, contextual or security-related misuse. These tools are able to detect and alert users to a range of threats. In addition, many of them have the ability to block certain statementshowever, very few companies use this block feature.
The main reason that most companies implement DAM in their security arsenals is not only to identify threats, but also because it’s the most effective way to keep a precise record of events for regulatory reporting as well as to offer data and filters that are not accessible with integrated audit logs of databases. Think about it this way: DAM is to databases in the same way that security information and log management and event management is generally related to IT data security, and report management.
The disadvantage of DAM is that it takes time to set up local agents. Additionally, it can be costly to purchase and requires regular adjustments to policies in order to ensure that alerts are issued for inappropriate activities. Additionally, companies can decide not to block queries from databases, because it can cause unintended impacts on the application’s state or data quality.
It’s important to note that there’s a tiny part in the DAM vendor market that offers more security-focused products, which are commonly known as database firewalls. They are similar to Web Application Firewall (WAF) in that they function as an intermediary that is placed on top of the database — not to the application and is designed to stop malicious traffic. Like WAFs the database firewalls analyze the traffic that comes in and filter it according to specific security rules including blacklists and whitelists for queries.
For instances where databases have an immediate exposure to outside (i.e., Internet) threats, databases firewalls stop SQL injection attacks and block undesirable queries. They are helpful in situations that it’s expensive or time-consuming to alter the software. In addition proxy services are available that can mask or redact results of queries depending on the security of the user’s. They are referred to as data masking. services alter the query results that are provided to a user in the event that the request is deemed to be untrustworthy or if the user is not able to view all the information they’ve asked for.
Assessment of databases
Database assessment tools, often called vulnerability assessment tools for databases examine the configuration settings of the database and patches levels. Contrary to common endpoint and server assessment tools, the database vulnerability assessment tools examine operating system-specific settings and configuration data stored in the database, which is not accessible to assessment tools for servers. These tools that are focused on databases include thousands of pre-built tests for specific configuration errors and the presence of commonly used attacks. They cover not only the vendor-recommended security of databases best practices but also security models that are recommended by industry experts as well.
Some databases have basic security checks integrated into their administrator capabilities. However, the truth of the issue is that third party security analysis tools are essential, because they contain details and offer data that most database companies do not bother to address. Although vendors can inform organizations of specific vulnerabilities in their databases and related patches, third-party vendors also provide solutions, reconfigurations and analyses that which the vendors of databases do not. For instance, they may suggest the elimination of options for databases that are known to pose security risks.
Additionally, the majority of tools from third parties are created with non-technical users in mind. They provide the necessary separation of tasks among security as well as DBA teams, those who aren’t well-versed in technical details of databases are able to make sure that the proper policy is in effect and are enforced.
Many databases have encryption features, typically to secure certain columns or even cells within the database. These internal features are generally managed by the application. it’s the app that needs to be enhanced to use the database encryption libraries that encode the data or reverse it. This kind of encryption, commonly referred to as”application-layer encryption” (despite it being supplied through the databases) is now out of fashion due to its performance and integration problems.
Nowadays, the majority of customers using databases use what’s known as transparent encryption for their databases also known as TDE abbreviated. TDE is a system that works on every data item, and encrypts data that is transferred to or from the database while it is written or read from the disk. It is also, contrary to popular belief it’s faster than application layer encryption. However, the major advantage to TDE is that it is invisible from the perspective of the client, program and even the database. Therefore, encryption can be added with no modifications to the code of the application or queries to the database. The result is that the disk files as well as all databases are protected from the prying eyes of others.
The flaw of TDE is in two ways It needs a robust key management system to guarantee the security of data, and every authenticated user or application will be given decrypted the data on request. While TDE is able to solve the majority of security issues, it requires assistance to verify access and use.
Masking and tokenization
If an organization isn’t confident in an existing database, or cannot guarantee that the database’s security in the long run, how can it ensure that the data is safe? It can erase the database, but any software that relied on that data will cease to function. There are two security tools based on data have been a hit by achieving Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance and management of test data.
Since these tools for database security incorporate compliance and security information in the policies that are already built and procedures, they ease the load on operations and security teams. This means that companies aren’t creating rules from beginning from scratch.
The two technologies involved are masking and tokenization.
Tokenization replaces sensitive data by using an alternative that appears and behaves exactly like the original the same way as arcade or subway tokens behaves like cash. The applications will can continue to function as usual and there’s no risk that the data goes missing or stolen. Tokens have only significance as a reference to the original value. They are being stored in a differenthighly secure database known as the token vault. It is only accessible to select users.
Tokens can be used to substitute of one data element, for instance the credit card number but what happens when an enterprise has a lot of data that is complex and used to analyze data?
Data masking — also known as static data maskingis a technique used to swap sensitive data sets by masking copies, while preserving the overall value of a database. “A “mask” mask is an effective way of hiding information, for example, shifting values within a salary column and replacing actual names for names randomly pulled from a book of phone numbers, or changing the birth date of someone to be a few days away from the actual value. This way the true data is hidden, but the masking copy has sufficient resemblance to the original data that it continues to produce significant results.
Data masking and tokenization substitute sensitive data with an equivalent, thus removing sensitive data completely, which can eliminate the requirement for security in databases entirely.
Security tools for databases are offered by the database providers as well as third-party security vendors and can be found within open-source distributions. However, with security software for databases the old adage “you are paying for what you get” applies. Log data scanners and vulnerability scanners mining tools are usually cheap, and sometimes free. However, they are typically lacking the full range of functions and features and offer a poor customer experience and can’t allow for the customization required by most firms. Security monitoring for activity is extremely complex security tasks that require the most effective tools developed by security specialists from third-party companies. There are better tools available out of the box capabilities, however at a significant cost.
Support and training
Since these database security tools incorporate the security and compliance expertise in the policies that are already built and procedures, they reduce the load on the security and operations teams, so that organizations do not have to worry about creating rules from beginning from scratch. However, each kind of security software for databases -either software or platform is complex enough for implementation and management that some training is necessary.
In all instances, third-party providers of these security software tools offer trainingthat is typically included into the price of purchase. In the majority of cases, a period of two to five days are enough to become familiar using the platform. Although these platforms require regular maintenance and management they can be managed by staff in-house with no need to hire a experienced, dedicated support staff.
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