Here in this article, you’ll learn about the best database security practices you should follow to keep your data safe.
In a connected world, data is something that needs to be protected at all costs. Today, the world is burdened by cybercrime costs of $3 trillion per year, which will increase up to $15 trillion by the end of 2025. If data is lost or tampered with, the consequences can be devastating. Hence, keeping the database secure is an important task.
Today, every website or application is connected to a database, and databases form an integral part of businesses. Managing large amounts of data can be challenging without the database, and security can become a question. Having an extensive database that is secure is as essential as breathing for some companies.
Databases hold all sorts of information ranging from personal information, business insider data, application data, and even medical information. Such information should be protected at all costs because the results of such breaches can significantly impact any individual or company.
Here Are the 5 Best Practices of Database Security:
1. Keep Operating Systems Updated
One of the easiest ways to keep your database secure is by keeping the operating systems updated. If your database server uses a mainstream OS like windows, you should keep updating it frequently to stay away from attacks.
Hackers try to exploit OS vulnerabilities, and if they find one in your database server, it can be problematic. But you can minimize such problem occurrences by regularly updating your database server’s OS.
OS developers regularly roll out security patches and updates for their OS to keep it secure. If there is any vulnerability in the OS, it can be fixed once you update the OS, and there is no more straightforward option than this.
2. Backup Your Databases
While this may not be a perfect idea, backing up your database is essential. If there are any problems or attacks, regular backups will preserve your data, and you won’t lose it all.
As a business owner, having data available is the most significant advantage, and you should not oversee this thing. Today, taking backup of databases is very easy. You just need enough free space and other drives to create local backups.
You should schedule automatic backups and store them at different database servers and locations to keep data secure. While creating a backup, keep a checklist of operations you perform and note down the dates from which you’ve completed data backup.
This way, you can recover your database if you encounter any database security issues. But to get your data back, it should be stored on separate servers. If the backup is stored on the same server, there is no meaning in creating a backup.
3. Setup Proxy Servers
Proxy servers are middlemen in online communications; they help separate and protect your database servers from clients. Clients cannot communicate with the database servers directly, so the database is secure from client-side attacks and many other third-party cyber attacks.
Proxy servers aim at reducing threats to a database by gatekeeping every request made to the server. Whenever a client requests some data from a database, it goes first to the proxy server, and the proxy server does the further handling of requests and responses.
Many people rely on simple HTTP servers to get their work done, but you should always go for HTTPS servers if you are building an enterprise-scale application. Data on any HTTPS proxy server is encrypted, and it cannot be decrypted during transit, making it the best for database applications and operations.
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4. Don’t Use Default Ports
Default ports are the primary cause of database breaches, and this is why you should not use them. Default ports are OS-specific and are known by everyone. So if you run your database application on a default port, the chances of data compromise are more, and you can have a potential security breach.
Instead of using the default ports, you should set up your database servers on different ports. You should swap the default ports with some other responsibility and run the database server on some shady port on the server. Doing this will provide you with some more security, and you can run your database tension-free.
5. Use Firewalls
To enhance your database security, firewalls are a good way. Firewalls keep the system secure by disallowing all other traffic than the one in the safelist. This safelist can contain your internal servers and applications through which you want to connect to the database.
Using firewalls is simple, and almost all OS comes with pre-installed instances of the firewall. Firewalls obstruct unauthorized access to the database, which is a great way to safeguard from cross-site scripting attacks. Moreover, firewalls blocked 56.1% more attacks every day in 2017.
One of the key benefits of using a firewall is protecting the database from SQL injection attacks. Databases rely on SQL for communication, and if the unauthorized SQL query is run on the database, it can cause blunders. But using firewalls, you are secure as it restricts access to such direct actions. Any SQL modification needs to come from the web application connected with the database or won’t be executed.
6. Keep Access Limited
Another critical thing in database security is access to a database. The more people have access to a database, the less secure it becomes. Hence, keeping access limited is crucial to secure a database.
If you want to serve a large number of users from a single database, you need to create roles and permission schemes to prevent unauthorized access and tampering with any database. You should assign specific rights to a group of people and create role groups to distinguish them.
For example, if you have many users, you should provide just viewing access to users. Manipulation and deletion access should be given to a few administrators only. Not providing limited access according to positions costed $2 billion to Boeing till 2006.
Moreover, when an employee or user leaves the application, their database access needs to be revoked immediately to prevent mishaps. If you keep prolonged access to users who no longer need it, you put your database and its data at risk by waiting for a security blunder to happen.
7. Keep Testing and Fixing Security Issues
No one can create an impenetrable security perimeter in the first go; hence, it is good to keep testing and fixing your database’s security issues. To do this, you’ll need some skilled, ethical hackers and penetration testers to attack your database server and find out vulnerabilities in it.
Even there are many free antivirus software are available which help you keep data secure.
As soon as any security issue is found, remedial action should be taken. Testing and fixing is an iterative step, and you should never stop doing it. If you do it regularly, over time, you’ll have a secure and impenetrable database server that you’ll be proud of.
Coming to an end, always keep your databases physically secure because chances for physical attacks are also on the rise. Hence, apart from following all these database security practices, you should appoint security persons to keep the database protected from physical attacks too.
Follow these security practices, and you’ll stay safe from shameful data breaches. Always be proactive in security measures, and never be a reactive person. Security begins when you start taking care of your databases right from the start.