Database Security: The First Step in Pre-Emptive Data Leak Prevention
By Roxana Bradescu on Jan 07, 2011
With WikiLeaks raising awareness around information leaks and the harm they can cause, many organization are taking stock of their own information leak protection (ILP) strategies in 2011. A report by IDC on data leak prevention stated:
Increasing database security is one of the most efficient and cost-effective measures an organization can take to prevent data leaks. By utilizing the data protection, access control, account management, encryption, log management, and other security controls inherent in the database management system, entities can institute first-level control over the widest range of protected information. As a central repository for unstructured data, which is growing at leaps and bounds, the database should be the first layer providing information leakage protection.
Unfortunately, most organizations are not taking sufficient steps to protect their databases according to a survey of the Independent Oracle User Group. For example, any operating system administrator or database administrator can access the all the data stored in the database in most organizations. Without any kind of auditing or monitoring. And it's not just administrators, database users can typically access the database with ad-hoc query tools from their desktop and by-pass any application level controls. Despite numerous regulations calling for controls to limit the powers of insiders, most organizations still put too many privileges in the hands of their employees.
Time and time again these excess privileges have backfired. Internal agents were implicated in almost half of data breaches according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report and the rate is rising. Hackers also took advantage of these excess privileges very successfully using stolen credentials and SQL injection attacks. But back to the insiders. Who are these insiders and why do they do it?
In 2002, the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) behavioral psychologists and CERT information security experts formed the Insider Threat Study team to examine insider threat cases that occurred in US critical infrastructure sectors, and examined them from both a technical and a behavioral perspective. A series of fascinating reports has been published as a result of this work. You can learn more by watching the ISSA Insider Threat Web Conference.
So as your organization starts to look at data leak prevention over the coming year, start off by protecting your data at the source - your databases. IDC went on to say:
Any enterprise looking to improve its competitiveness, regulatory compliance, and overall data security should consider Oracle's offerings, not only because of their database management capabilities but also because they provide tools that are the first layer of information leak prevention.
Learn more about Oracle Database Security solutions and get the whitepapers, demos, tutorials, and more that you need to protect data privacy from internal and external threats.