Editor’s note: Read on to get some useful database security tips for keeping your databases under maximum protection. And if you want to check your database for security holes, check out our offer in penetration testing.
Business organizations collect enormous amounts of data in the course of their day-to-day operations. Storing this data safely and sharing it with employees in case of need is invariably a challenge for system engineers entrusted with database security. Even a small error can lead to the hacking of the system holding the database and the organization may face huge losses.
Let’s look through the best practices to adopt for databases to remain secure.
- Use separate servers.
Your organization may have a robust and highly interactive business website. You may choose the best hosting server for that site. But for storing the company’s database, you must choose a separate server, possibly with even stronger security controls than the web server. It’s also advisable to create a couple of blocks or permissions needed to enter the database and retrieve information.
- Protect servers.
Once you have the database tucked away in a separate server, make sure it is fully protected. You must check the system to ensure that the firewalls are up and the server has the appropriate anti-malware installed on it, which is capable of repelling any attempt by hackers to make a break in.
The access to this server should be very limited and even if the company employees need to access any data, it must be monitored. It also helps to generate one-time passwords on a temporary basis.
- Implement encryption.
Although you may take several steps to protect your database from any kind of threat, hackers will always try to be a couple of steps ahead of you. You should have to outsmart them by encrypting the data on your database. This can be an automated exercise, where once the data is entered into the database server it gets encrypted or left to a system administrator to handle periodically. The key to decrypt the data can be held in confidence and this way you can be sure your database remains intact.
- Install solid database management software.
Software specifically created for database management come to the aid at keeping databases secure in organizations. This kind of software is known as a Database Management System (DMS). It helps to sort and arrange the data and enables better retrieval methods. Many of the security elements required to protect the database come with the DMS package.
- Back up data on a regular basis.
Creating a backup of your important files, preferably cloud-based, is another best practice in database security and management. Whether you keep raw data or the encrypted version on the database server, a mirror backup to the cloud is an added insurance. Even in the worst-case scenario of the server getting damaged, you will feel relieved knowing that copies of all the documents can be retrieved.
- Delegate the responsibility of keeping software updated.
The significance of the database server security must be felt at all levels in the organization. If there is an IT department, there must be a designated individual or a team to keep a close watch on the different antivirus and anti-malware programs installed on the database server and renew them before they expire. More importantly, this person or the team should ensure the program updates are downloaded and installed.
- Conduct security audits.
You may arrange for a mock hack to be attempted on your database to know it is completely secure and you may feel safe. This can be done on a scheduled basis and internal resources can be used to carry it out. It’s also a good idea to turn to third-party security service providers for a security audit.
Cooperative effort helps to maintain databases in an organization under maximized security. Employees who create data, use it and deal with its security should work together to make it happen.