Database security

What is database security?

Database security is a broad-spectrum approach to managing one or several database environments, protecting both the information stored within them and the data management process itself from cyberattacks and other malicious actors.

Why is database security important?

Database security helps companies protect their data from a variety of threats, including external attacks (e.g. hacking, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and malware) and internal threats (human error and malicious/negligent insiders). By protecting the information contained within the database, companies avoid losing access to sensitive or proprietary data – or losing that data entirely – and preserve their reputation as a reliable business that protects its assets, people and customers.

What are the challenges of database security?

As more data is generated, collected and analysed, it becomes harder to adequately protect it, requiring more visibility and scalability as volumes increase. The prominence of edge computing and its accompanying distributed infrastructures increases complexity even further. The less centralised a network is from the data centre, the more potential access points to that database there are, along with cloud and multicloud environments for specialised workloads. Regulatory compliance and guidelines also demand extra procedures and precautions, which often require frequent infrastructure updates and ongoing IT training.

How do you secure your database server?

Protecting a database requires security at the physical, virtual and operating system (OS) levels. Effective security at every level is sometimes called “hardening”.

Physical security is twofold: keeping the hard-metal data centre secure with locks and security cameras, helping prevent and deter unauthorised direct access. Virtually speaking, physical security looks like removing sensitive information from public access, which can include backups, temporary partitions, cloud storage buckets and web folders. In general, unless a company is providing database storage, databases should not be publicly available.

As an extension of physical security, authorised access to the database should only include essential workloads for daily operations. And each account should have a password that is strong and unique.

All files and backups should be encrypted, so only those with an encryption key can read that information. All virtual security measures should have the latest updates (e.g. patches) and software to prevent viruses, malware and hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities.

What are database security best practices?

All companies should abide by rigorous password creation and management protocols. In addition to requiring strong passwords, organisations should eliminate password sharing and conduct regular password reviews. For instance, whenever a staff member’s clearance changes, because they either change position or leave the company, those accounts should have their permissions adjusted or deactivated.

Cutting-edge databases will rely on some form of real-time monitoring that observes all user behaviours within the environment and that identifies anomalous behaviour using tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Teams can be alerted to any potential cyberthreats and take immediate action.

Database security overall should be tested regularly for unforeseen or unknown gaps in firewalls and physical security. Such testing can be done by internal teams or by trusted third-party providers.

HPE and database security

HPE is a leader in enterprise-grade security solutions across the database infrastructure, providing both the hardware to enable high-performance databases and the tools to protect them.

HPE security solutions help companies secure the database physically and virtually – from the supply chain to the cloud to the BIOS level. HPE solutions enable data availability, maximising data value and optimising business results throughout the technology life cycle. These solutions also include Zero Trust technologies and solutions that dynamically authenticate data and applications. By continuously learning, adapting and evolving, our security capabilities maintain the integrity of your environment.

HPE GreenLake for Database supports high-performance databases with a more robust infrastructure, eliminating the time- and cost-consuming manual processes and siloed operations that traditional IT requires. The HPE GreenLake platform delivers the pay-per-use pricing, point-and-click self-service, scalability and flexibility of the cloud experience with the security of dedicated, on-prem IT. Pre-sized database-optimised configurations provide superior uninterrupted operations for mission-critical environments. HPE storage options offer benefits including AI-driven predictive analytics to speed troubleshooting and enable uptime for business databases, including guaranteed data availability.