10 Essential Database Security Best Practices for Businesses

“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, said this very popular quote about how important data is. The quote that was said years ago is becoming more and more relevant as the years pass. According to Forbes, In 93% of cases, an external attacker can breach an organization’s network perimeter and gain access to local network resources. Today, almost everything we do is powered by data. From our basic needs, education, medical needs, to advanced research and discoveries.

Another change that digitalization brought to the world, along with the dependency on data, is the threat of an attack that is now everywhere and constantly growing. Regardless of the size or scope of your business, data is crucial to its success. The loss of business data can end up costing your reputation, brand value, the customers as well as money.

The only thing that can sail you through this, is a secure database. Here are some tips to help you keep your database secure and prepared to face various security challenges while consulting with a SaaS development company.

Why is Database Security So Important?

Database security is extremely important for a business to run smoothly and efficiently. It is a methodology to protect the information against unauthorized access, illegitimate use, and malicious cyberattacks, and uphold the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of database management systems, using tools, controls, and processes.

Here are some compelling reasons you should make Database Security your priority –

  • Protects your entire database management system as well as the data present in the databases.
  • Depending on your project needs, select the right database management system.
  • Protects the related applications or integrations by preventing data breaches.
  • Prevents the attacks on the physical database servers and virtual database servers.
  • Last but not the least, protects the hardware from slowing down and crashing due to attacks.
  • No more compromise on intellectual property, such as trade secrets, inventions, proprietary practices.
  • Secure data maintains the brand reputation.
  • Business continuity is maintained.
  • Data compliance can be promised.
  • Prevents the costs of repairing data breaches and notifying customers about the breach.

The easier to access and use a database is, the higher is the risk from threat. You need to increase the protection measures of your database. To do this, here are the most effective measures that you can opt for and make your database secure.

10 Essential Database Security Best Practices

1.    Physical Security

When we talk about the database or data security, the first thing that comes to mind is security attacks and breaches; What we generally do not discuss is its physical security.  Servers and data centers are vulnerable to physical attacks from outsiders or even from insiders. Cybercriminals can steal data from your server, corrupt it, or inject harmful malware to gain remote access if they get access to the physical server.

A database server must be housed in a secure, climate-controlled environment, regardless of whether it is on the premises or in a cloud data center. Be sure the web hosting company you select has a good reputation for taking security issues seriously.

In case you house your own servers, it is highly recommended that you add physical security measures such as cameras, locks, and staffed security. Further, all access to physical servers should be recorded and should only be granted to a limited group of users so that malicious activities can be minimized.

2. Separate Database Servers Based on the Type of Data

Do you keep all of your data on a single server? You have already increased your data risk by 50%. Data stored on the same server as your website, sensitive and otherwise, is also prone to the different attack vectors that are used to target websites.

Although website security measures provided by the hosting service can help you protect against cyberattacks and fraud, taking risks with your sensitive information isn’t a good idea. Any breach of your online store or your site will affect your database. Your database servers should be separated from everything else to mitigate these security risks.

3. Restrict the Database Users

Never allow anyone and everyone to access your database. Make sure you have a well-thought list of the users who can access your database as well as the network.

Ideally, access to the database should be limited to a practical minimum number of users, and their permission levels should be limited to the minimum levels necessary for them to perform their duties.

4.Monitor the Database User Activities

Along with restricting the number of users accessing your database, be aware of who accesses the database and when and how it is used. Make sure the user’s device or account vising the database is secure.

Database monitoring can be extremely useful in this. Data monitoring requires you to keep the track of the users as well the activities performed by them. There are various tools and solutions that you can use for the same.

If data activities appear unusual or possibly risky, a data monitoring solution can alert you. Physical security and access controls should be applied at all times to all network devices connecting to the database.

5. Leverage Encryption

In relation to database security, encryption is a technique for protecting the database itself and backups. Therefore, even when data is compromised, it can still be protected. The use of encryption is not limited to sensitive information but also applies to information that has to be moved or stored.

Companies are reluctant to encrypt their databases, fearing that it will slow down business processes, prevent access to data, or fail to integrate with current technology. However, a tactical approach to managing encryption keys and their appropriate application can prevent this.

When you have to encrypt your data, you must use a high-quality encryption method, and all encryption keys must be maintained according to best practices.

6. Backup your Database Regularly

Backup plays a very important role in database security. It is crucial to create a backup of the database to reduce the chances of losing sensitive information in the event of a malicious attack or corruption of data.

To take the backup of your database, you can replicate the database as well as your database server and save it locally or on the backup server. It is possible to restore data and logs from a backup copy of a database to its original operating state by using the backup copy.

7. Ditch the Outdated Database Management System

Make sure your database management system is always up to date. For DBMS software, release cycles are typically every 18 to 36 months for major releases, with regular bug fixes and maintenance updates being delivered in between.

Inadequate planning can lead to lack of adoption, performance degradation of new and existing applications, and even downtime if you do not plan your update properly.

8. Keep an Eye on the Application and Web Server Interacting with the Database

Make sure the application and the web servers that are visiting your databases are secure as well as updated. According to research, more than 90 percent of websites rely on outdated software products that may expose them to vulnerabilities, be it a WordPress plugin or legacy software.

It is important that you do not become one of them. Keep your plugins, applications, or any widgets you use on your website up to date to prevent attacks and data breaches. Along with this, keep an eye on the applications and web servers interacting with your website or database.

It should be subject to regular security testing and best practice management for any outdated or vulnerable applications or web servers that interact with the database.

9. Good User Authentication

When it comes to data security, it is essential to have a good authentication system. Passwords are the most popular method for securing databases, but they are not sufficient in themselves. A password is only a thin defense against database breaches, as people tend to use easy-to-remember passwords rather than complex, unique ones, which harden the security of their databases.

A better approach would therefore be to implement multi-factor authentication for databases. Even if an attacker compromises login credentials, this safeguard decreases the likelihood of them accessing and misusing your database.

10.Perform Database Auditing Regularly

Having your cybersecurity framework and protocols in place, as well as implementing database security best practices, it’s time to test them. For instance, you can conduct cybersecurity penetration tests and audit your database security.

Maintain a record of all logins and operations performed on sensitive data, and log all access to the server and operating system. As regular database audits bring the loopholes and flaws of the database to the surface, they can prevent several future database attacks.

Is your Database Secure Enough?

Databases pose a number of security challenges. And with the changing nature of cyberattacks, keeping threats at bay gets even more complicated. Security measures that worked last year may not be enough this time around.

In order to avoid losing or stealing your data, you must evolve and learn how to protect your database from such threats. Now that you understand some of the methods to improve a database’s security, you can be more certain that your data is protected and will be less vulnerable to hackers.

At Ace, we have years of experience with database security, so if you have any questions or need assistance in securing your database, please contact us anytime.

Author: Kane Jason

Kane works as a Full-stack developer at Ace Infoway — awarded Web development consulting company. He enjoys developing Software projects with a variety of different technologies and gets involved in content creation as well.   LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kane-jason7/