By Preethi Menon, Vice President and Head, Practices, Clover Infotech
Database security is an important area of concern for all businesses as database contains sensitive enterprise as well as customer information. Furthermore, increased digital presence and footprints have opened new channels for cyber criminals to exploit loopholes in data security. This poses a grave need for advanced measures to ensure database security.
We live in an age where businesses are continually being crippled by data breaches. For instance, one of the biggest data breaches of 2018 is of Aadhaar, where personal information of almost 1.1 billion Indian citizens was leaked. The JPMorgan Chase hack in 2014 compromised data associated with over 83 million accounts – 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. It’s evident from these examples that data security breach is not restricted to any region or nationality, it is posing a threat to businesses across the globe.
All organizations must work toward periodical identification and remediation of vulnerabilities in their database security. It is vital to conduct monitoring and security assessments on a continuous basis. In addition, the results should be properly analyzed and audited, so that any corrective measure can be implemented immediately.
Here are five measures a company can undertake to enhance database security and secure confidential customer information:
- Limit Data Access – Companies need to limit the data access given to their employees. It’s very important for companies to determine which employee should be given access to what data. In addition, they should have their administrator determine the type of access that each employee, department, operation and management should be authorized to.
- Data Encryption – Encryption is defined as, “the translation of data into a secret code.” Data encryption is an effective way of securing data. To read an encrypted file, one must have the access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Since hacking and selling of corporate data is a very lucrative prospects for hackers, leaving your corporate data unencrypted on company servers is like inviting robbers into your house.
- Data Masking – Data masking is a method of creating a structurally similar but inauthentic version of an organization’s original data. Data masking is helpful when performing real-world testing. In testing environment, there is a risk of exposing sensitive data to non-production users such as applications developers and external consultants. However, in order to perform accurate testing, non-productions users need to have access to some of the original data but not all. Hence, data masking provides a functional substitute for the original data.
- Data Redaction – For safeguarding sensitive data in a production environment, redaction is used to easily disguise it using different styles. By definition, data redaction is the process of suppressing sensitive data such as any personally identifiable information. Thus, redaction allows you to transform sensitive information into patterns that aren’t comprehensible. For instance, one could replace Aadhaar numbers with pattern like XXXX-XXXX-XXXX.
- Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) – Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) is the process of observing, identifying and reporting database activities. DAM has the ability to independently monitor and analyze configured activities without relying on the database management system auditing or logs. These tools use real-time security technology in detecting unusual or unauthorized internal or external activities. In doing so, companies are able to ensure the prevention and protection of sensitive data from intruders.
In conclusion, database security is more than just essential, it’s vital to any company with any form of online presence. Adequate database security not only prevents a company’s data from being stolen or compromised, but also enhances its reputation.