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Database security refers to the collective measures used to protect and secure a database or database management software from illegitimate use and malicious cyber threats and attacks.
Database security procedures are aimed at protecting not just the data inside the database, but the database management system and all the applications that access it from intrusion, misuse of data, and damage.
It is a broad term that includes a multitude of processes, tools and methodologies that ensure security within a database environment.
Database security covers and enforces security on all aspects and components of databases. This includes:
Database security is generally planned, implemented and maintained by a database administrator and or other information security professional.
Some of the ways database security is analyzed and implemented include:
Restricting unauthorized access and use by implementing strong and multifactor access and data management controls.
Load/stress testing and capacity testing of a database to ensure it does not crash in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack or user overload.
Physical security of the database server and backup equipment from theft and natural disasters. Regular data backups can be planned as part of a database security protocol, and multiple copies can be stored off-site to provide redundancy and emergency recovery.
Reviewing the existing system for any known or unknown vulnerabilities and defining and implementing a road map/plan to mitigate them.
Data encryption can provide an additional layer of security to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data.
Enforcing adequate database security practices is vital for any organizations for a variety of reasons. These include:
Ensuring business continuity: Many enterprises cannot operate until the breach is resolved.
Minimizing financial damage: Once a breach occurs, an organization must sustain significant financial costs to communicate the breach to all its customers, manage the crisis, repair or update the affected systems and hardware, pay for investigative activities, etc.
Loss of intellectual property: If a database is accessed, there’s a chance that a company’s trade secrets, proprietary procedures, and other forms of intellectual property are stolen or exposed. In some instances, this means the complete loss of any competitive edge maintained by that organization.
Brand reputation damage: Once a breach is notified to the customer base, partners and customers may lose faith in the organization’s ability to protect their data. The brand’s reputation will suffer, and many might decide not to buy that organization’s products or services anymore.
Penalties and fines: Organizations must be compliant with a large number of regulations, such as those in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and more. If a data breach occurs because the organization failed to comply with these regulations, fines and penalties can be very severe, in some cases even exceeding several million dollars per violation.