What’s so unique about The Library of Alexandria? Well, this is reputed to have been one of the most influential centers of learning database security in the classical world. So influential was it that scholars from all over the world would flock the library. The great works contained here included mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural sciences, and poetry but that was until Julius Caesar’s fire during his civil war in 48 BC set everything burning. This is regarded as one of the earliest examples of the devastating effect of data loss with over 500,000 irreplaceable scrolls reportedly lost.
The advent of digital data storage was supposed to increase the level of data security but this is not so. The volumes of data being generated today are hard to manage but luckily, there are databases designed specifically with big data in mind. However, database security still remains a big concern today even with advanced technologies to mitigate the risk.
That major governments and the largest private companies can suffer data breaches goes a long way to demonstrate the threat that still abounds. Among such major databases, breaches include those at JPMorgan, Microsoft and T-Mobile, DreamHost, British Home Office, Yahoo, MySpace, LinkedIn, Verizon, Target, Equifax (EFX), Sony, and eBay among others. If you are a business owner, it goes without saying that you need to rethink your database security.
The Impact of Data Loss in Numbers
To appreciate the impact of data loss on any business or organization, you just have to look at some numbers. A survey published by the Boston Computing says that 30% of all businesses that suffer from a major fire go out of business in 1 year. This is attributed to the irreparable damage caused by data loss. The same study says that 90% of businesses that have lost their data center for 10 days due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within 1 year of the event. A similar report published by Small Business Trends says that 60% of small businesses that lose their data will shut down within 6 months.
The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s 2014 Annual Report tried to quantify data loss and the findings were shocking. 3 out of 4 companies failed in disaster recovery preparedness as they have suffered some form of data loss. The study shows that 20% of the companies suffered $50,000 to $5 million in losses due to data outages caused by a combination of factors, among them database breaches.
Database breaches cause devastation including loss of business, financial loss, business collapse, lawsuits, loss of brand trust and ultimately business failure. Previously, loss of data was a concern for only big businesses but with the digitization of most processes, even small businesses need to be worried. For instance, a pizza delivery service might lose personal data leading to a debilitating lawsuit.
Database Security Threats
Among the database security threats you should be worried about are:
- Excessive, inappropriate, and unused privileges
- Privilege abuse
- Excessive privileges
- Unsecured storage media
- Weak audit trails
- Insufficient web application security
- Database injection attacks (NoSQL/SQL Injection)
- The exploitation of vulnerable databases
- Backup storage media
- Denial of Service (DoS)
- Lack of security expertise and education on the part of DBAs and users
How Database Security Relates to Web Security
There is no denying the opportunities that abound in the internet marketplace. Both small and large brands can now compete favorably and leverage the growing numbers of internet users. To do business online, consumers need to share their personal information including banking details. This is where web security becomes a big issue.
Many vulnerable business websites have been hacked in order to steal such information. If your web processes are not backed by a secure database, you risk exposing your customers to data loss and can bring your business to its knees. A secure database is a crucial component in guaranteeing the safety of users.
Enhancing Database Security
If your business is harnessing the growing power of the internet marketplace, you need to invest in database security. While modern age technologies increase efficiency and boost business performance, you have to appreciate the risk posed by a breach of your database. A database is the backbone of your organization with sensitive information including employee information, transactions, customer information, financial data and so much more.
With hackers seeking to cause as much damage as possible, your database becomes a much sought after prize. Even a few minutes in the hands of a hacker are enough to cause untold damage to your business. The records were stolen, for instance, can have a long effect on your brand, hence the need to focus more on database security, especially if you are just now migrating your systems to the digital platforms.
In the simplest sense, database security should center on:
- Confidentiality –This is best enforced through encryption and is the most important aspect of database security.
- Integrity –Through a User Access Control system, you are able to ensure only the selected people are able to see privileged business information.
- Availability –Databases need to be up and available for use at any time they are needed. One of the most frustrating things for users is trying to access information from a company’s website or an online store and being told they can’t access it.
There are many available solutions to database security threats but it is advisable to integrate the input of a database administrator (DBA) in the process. For small companies without an in-house DBA, hiring a qualified expert from RemoteDBA.com is crucial in enhancing database security. Other considerations include:
- Isolation of sensitive databases by segmenting your database
- Elimination of vulnerabilities which expose the database
- Enforce least privileges
- Continuously monitoring for deviations and auditing your database
- Encryption of your database
- Implement updates and patches
- Backup to prevent potential data loss and deploy a plan for disaster recovery
- Fast response to suspicious behavior
- Use parameterized queries to avoid database injections
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to guarantee the availability of the database at all times
Database security is essential for any business today. By protecting your data, you will, in turn, boost your customers’ trust in your brand while at the same time protecting your legacy. More importantly, you will avoid financial loss which comes in various forms during a data loss disaster.