Enhancing Data Security

Enhancing Data Security in an Organization

Database security is crucial in the modern world. It affects us all, whether you work with a database directly or indirectly. What’s more, most companies rely on database security to ensure CIA. That is, data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Therefore, with this aspect out of the picture, most companies that deal with data could suffer significant losses. So what is a database exactly? What does database security entail? And what are the most common vulnerabilities that you should watch out for?

What is a Database, and why is it Important?

A database store, organizes, and manages data which is, in most cases:

  • Proprietary or Confidential
  • Sensitive
  • Protected (by the global, federal, state, or industry regulations)

Databases hold information that is of great value to hackers. Thus, cybercriminals try to infiltrate systems and gain the information found in databases for:

  • Financial gain
  • Cyber espionage or,
  • Disruption

Cyber-attacks have gone up over the past year, making it crucial to institute systems that shield databases against:

  • Misuse
  • Intrusion
  • Damage

Database Security, what does it Entail?

Database security is the policies, tools, controls, and other special measures that companies utilize to preserve:

  • The Confidentiality of data
  • The integrity of data and,
  • Data availability

Database security also shields the database management system plus the apps that access data from the database.

About Database Security

A database security system shields all data aspects plus the broader ecosystem that comes with the data, which includes:

  • The apps that users utilize to access data
  • The server (virtual, physical, underlying hardware)
  • Networking and computing infrastructure that users utilize to access data in the database
  • The DBMS (Database management system)

Why should you take Database Security Seriously?

The most substantial reason why you should take database security seriously is that:

  • It dramatically reduces data breaches – data breaches are pretty costly, and a single breach can cost a firm roughly 4.24 million dollars to fix. Therefore, in this case, prevention becomes better than cure.

However, this is not the one reason why you should take data security seriously. It would be best if you also considered the following reasons:

  • Intellectual property protection – protection against loss or exfiltration (for example, hardware failure).
  • Business continuity – breach costs sometimes get too high for businesses to counter. Hence instead of countering the breach, they simply close the company.
  • Regulation compliance – a company, should ensure data integrity. Therefore if a person wishes to vanish and not exist in the system, that should not be a problem. However, when data is compromised, this factor seizes to exist.

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Businesses that require Database Security more

Cybercriminals do not discriminate. They attack businesses and industries of different sizes, big and small. You cannot predict their next hit. However, some industries require complex systems as they are “better targets” due to the information that they hold. Industries that hold information worth millions when sold on the black market are more prone to attacks. Systems that are not secure are also significant targets, all simply “simple” targets.

Here is a list of businesses that require better database security systems due to their data significance:

Healthcare

Confidential information about a patient is pretty valuable to hackers. It is actually ten times more expensive when you compare it to credit card information. Hence, the health care industry is a more significant target compared to all other industries. What’s more, a healthcare business has the following feature that makes cyber security hard to implement:

  • It receives new medical gadgets every now and the
  • It undergoes acquisitions and mergers
  • Complexities in managing database access for contract and rotating staff

All these features make health care facilities an excellent target for cybercriminals.

Government Infrastructures

Over some years back, various governments have suffered cyber-attacks. Most of these attacks have been undertaken by cybercriminals driven by:

  • Destruction
  • Financial gain and,
  • Desire to undertake spying activities

Financial Services

Besides health care facilities, financial services also face a lot of cyber-attacks annually. Not as much as health care facilities, but enough to cause alarm. The motive, in this case, is financial gain or leverage.

eCommerce and Rental

ECommerce and retail industries hold valuable personal and financial information in their databases. They are hence a pretty significant target for cyber-criminals looking to attain this information.

You should also note that ten percent of the total cyber-attacks that occur annually hit these two industries alone.

Database Security Vulnerabilities and Threats

The most significant database security challenges, threats, and vulnerabilities that you should watch out for include:

Insider Threats

These are threats that immerge from people who can access the company’s system and data. It could be:

  • Current employees or,
  • Past employees (who have access to the system at hand) or,
  • Contractors

In the last two years, there has been a forty-four percent rise in insider threats costing businesses up to fifteen million USD. Moreover, insiders have access to the actual database and the backups. They can hence harm the actual database and then attack the backup.

Human Errors

Human errors are the top causative agents of data breaches that require special attention. Actually, out of all such cyber security incidents that occur annually, eighty-four percent of them have a direct link to human errors.

Human errors that are most common include:

  • Poor passwords
  • Clicking on phishing links
  • Sharing passwords
  • Ignoring patches
  • Unauthorized exfiltration

Human errors sometimes affect physical security. For example, if an employee lets unauthorized individuals enter a secure location.

Cyberattacks

There are many types of cyber-attacks. However, the most popular exploitations and attacks on databases include:

Software Vulnerabilities

Most software, including DBMS platforms, applications, and networks, has vulnerabilities. When companies ignore these vulnerabilities, the system becomes prone to a cyber-attack

NoSQL/SQL Injections

Every database management system out there is prone to these attacks, which ultimately allows hackers to:

  • Execute various instructions in the system
  • Inject some code into the initial commands

Denial of service/distributed denial of service (DOS/DDOS)

DOS attacks bring networks or machines remotely, making data availability hard to achieve.

The Buffer overflow DOS attack is the most popular attack among all other DOS attacks. In this attack, the hacker sends out a lot of traffic toward the company’s server. The traffic overwhelms the servers, making them crash, and the system goes offline.

Malware

Malware programs (malicious programs) intrude the company’s system to:

  • Disrupt the system
  • Steal data
  • Damage the system

Ransomware is the most widespread malware attack. In this attack, the hacker takes over your information, encrypts it, and then demands a payout.

Environmental Pressures on the IT Sector

The IT sector changes every day. These changes put a lot of pressure on the existing database security tools and practices. Unfortunately, some companies never catch up, and they suffer significant losses.

The top environmental pressures on the IT sector include:

Data Volume Development

The development of big data brings about a lot of pressure on the existing database security system. Unfortunately, not all processes and systems are adjusting well to this development.

Distributed Infrastructure

Various organizations are adopting microservice architecture and cloud infrastructure. However, traditional database security systems cannot efficiently handle this type of development. They hence have to advance to catch up.

Conclusion

Database security is crucial in our modern technological age. We all want our personal and confidential data to remain private and not on sale on the black market. Therefore, as the system advance, so should the database security system. We should all take database security seriously and avoid making any errors in this sector.

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Also read: why website security is important

About The Author

My name is Muzammil K & I'm a passionate Blogger, SEO, and SMM. I share ideas and thoughts on Digital Marketing, Websites, Branding & Social Media.