Best practices in addressing the database security concerns in a cloud environment - Made in Safe

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Best practices in addressing the database security concerns in a cloud environment

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How businesses will perform largely depends on how efficiently it can make use of large business data. Since data keeps changing every second and evolves rapidly, the growth opportunities acquire new dimensions and pose new challenges for business. This is true for all sizes of companies and not only for large enterprises which is the reason why it becomes necessary to manage the databases efficiently by availing professional database management services offered by companies like The database management companies become the custodian of the company database and take care of the health of the database as well as its security. Besides ensuring that data remains well protected from breaches, the database management company ensures that should any disaster strike there is a proper data recovery system in place. This is the most critical aspect of data security for ensuring business continuity, which is of utmost importance.

Living with data breaches

Data breaches of all kinds, major and minor, keep happening and organizations have to live with it. Use of cloud computing has increased the need for data security. For smooth business operations, you have to keep such incidences between far and few. Even if it happens, there should be nothing to worry because the security net that you create for protecting databases would take care of the problems. However, if the incidents of data breaches keep repeating frequently, it points to the fact that either the security system is inadequate or the company leadership is not doing enough to protect databases.

Data threats get sophisticated

As the cloud becomes the place for data storage, it becomes evident that data breaches and security failures are not isolated incidents. According to a survey conducted in 2014, among all corporate data assets, databases are most vulnerable and considering its criticality needs the most attention in data protection. Since the information contained in the databases are very important, it becomes the target for hacking by competitors and other business rivals because they know that not all companies pay attention to databases that it requires for secure protection.

The threats to data security are getting more organized and sophisticated, and companies have to act with extra caution to ensure that the incidences of data breaches are minimal. And, even if it happens, it would not affect the functioning of companies in any way. In this article, we will discuss what the security concerns are and what preventive measures you should take.

Make the first move

You must first identify the areas from where data breaches can take place and which are the most sensitive areas. Once you can secure the environments that contribute to data breaches, you would be addressing the problem at the roots that can prevent it from happening again.

The physical environment - Although the majority of data threats originate at the network level, you must not forget that the physical environment also poses a considerable threat to data. Users who want to play mischief can harm the organization by damaging data if the physical devices allow unauthorized access to the system.   It is possible that some disgruntled employee will make some data disappear from the system. Therefore, you have to protect the physical environment by implementing and maintaining proper security measures to ensure that it remains updated regularly. Train the users to develop good security habits that can pay back well in the long run.

Cloud environment – Depending on the nature of the database application and operating system, the information of the database can reflect in other areas such as the log files. Thus, data protection is necessary not only at the database level but it should also extend to other places where the data can appear. This means that you have to ensure protection for every file and folder on the system. The most critical step is to give restricted access to the database so that only the people for whom the data is relevant and essential from the perspective of the organization can use it. Data falling into wrong hands is one of the primary reasons for a data breach. 
Network security – It is the task of database administers to understand how company databases connect. This would help to assess the vulnerabilities that can arise from it. Accordingly, they could deploy suitable anti-virus software for the system, which is the most basic requirement. Also, every server should have adequate firewalls around it for comprehensive protection. Since hackers target the TCP/IP ports, it is a sensible decision to change the default TCP/IP ports that the predators might already know.

Optimize the features – Software applications that add more features and functionality to the system is a soft area for hackers who can target it for accessing the system data. Optimize the services and features of the system so that you can attain the desired functionalities without deploying too many features. More features mean that you are opening more windows and inviting to hackers to raid the system. Avoid the lure of using too many applications and use features that you need instead of overloading the system with features that would hardly help to realize the business goals.

Regular update of database – Databases must remain updated, and it is a continuous exercise just like operating systems.  Vendors keep regularly releasing security updates, service packs and patches. You have to ensure that you track the releases closely and patch the system instantly so that there is no room left for hackers to find their way into the system.

Encrypt data for added security - Not only user data needs protection, but you also have to protect the back-end databases in the same way as you do for other areas. Although backend databases are more secure, you cannot be less concerned about it because the data access happens through the same network.  Encrypting data helps to create an added layer of security that reduces the chances of hacking as all communication between databases and applications remain encrypted.

As more and more organizations deploy cloud storage and applications, advanced database security is a non-negotiable agenda for database management companies today.

About the author: Sujain Thomas is a seasoned database management professional who has spent a part of the career with companies like remote As a database expert, she has extensive experience in database security. Thomas also takes an interest in digital marketing.

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