How to Protect a Database: All About Data Security Today

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Click to learn more about author Thomas Lanigan.

The protection of databases is essential to various industries and sectors, such as finance, banking, eCommerce, and IT. Most of your transactions are based on your database’s security because it holds vital details, such as passwords, usernames, customer credit card details, etc.

Data security as a term entails the numerous measures that are put in place by service providers to proactively protect the database and information management software from malware, malicious threats, DoS (denial-of-service), and phishing attacks. You can achieve data security with automation, streamlined processes, trained experts, and security tools working around the clock.

Different Levels of Protecting a Database

Database protection has different levels to it. Here are some of the standards for protecting a database:

  • Data-Level Security: This is the process of securing data from getting tampered with or stolen within the server.
  • User-Level Security: When they attack a server, they do so from the user level. This is why organizations look towards real-time protection software for monitoring transactions and restricting users from visiting unauthorized websites or downloading from untrusted sources.
  • System-Level Security: This is to protect network servers, hardware, and other outbound/inbound communications from working as the channel for distributing malicious software.

Most Common Types of Database Attacks

There are different types of database attacks, but the ones that most threaten the security of the database are:

  • DoS attacks
  • Privilege escalation
  • Buffer overflow vulnerability
  • SQL injection threats
  • Weak authentication

Data Security Best Practices: There are some best practices recommended by experts to ensure data security. Some methods that are most trusted and widely used to ensure data security are:

Physical Security: This is one of the first methods to secure physical servers. It mainly requires digital locks and the use of CCTV cameras to continuously monitor the data and secure the premises 24/7, preventing unauthorized entry.

Establish Policies for Security and Compliance: You have to define your standards and security policies clearly. This will ensure that your enterprise won’t have to struggle with assessing compliance or measuring the progress against its benchmarks. Most times, organizations develop strong security policies for their data because it moves through the network. However, they fail to map these policies back to their database by themselves.

When weaknesses in security are remediated, this is mostly a reaction to the incident instead of being a proactive response as a result of policies. Businesses always have to review their policies after patching the vulnerabilities or installing a newer version of the software. This is so that they can account for settings and configurations that they have updated. When establishing standards and policies, the data security team has to ensure that they address how they update their policy regularly, who is in charge of the updates, what is meant to trigger a change of policy, and the process of approving a policy change.

Use a Strong Database Software: You can use an open-source database software or a version paid for and supported by a vendor. This software will run on only active devices, but on inactive devices, it will be unplugged, and the default accounts that are not in use will be periodically removed. Security patches should be applied timely.

You also have to look closely at the vendor of your software to determine how they are keeping the code very secure.

Database Auditing and Change Management: A security measure is essential for keeping track of change management to log into database activities. All the login data is maintained at least yearly for security audits, and all the accounts that face the maximum attempts of failed logins will trigger an automatic notification to the database administrator, so the necessary steps can be taken.

Implementing Application Code: The DBAs will ensure that the source codes and configuration files are accessible through authorized accounts of the operating system. Application codes should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are not vulnerable to the injection of SQL.

Establishing Server Firewalls: You can set all connections to your database to ensure it denies all incoming traffic using a firewall. This means that it will block access for direct clients and give access to only authorized applications. The database administrators (DBAs) and system administrators (SAs) strictly maintain and monitor firewall rules. They are also responsible for performing ISP scans and network scans for strengthening the server machines.

Role of DBAs and SAs: The role of SAs and DBAs are vital as they play a significant role as strict administrators. Only selected people have proper authorization, and they all sign an NDA after a background check.

The DBA staff are allowed to use personal accounts to access the server and not share accounts. These people have to build and maintain a very strong password to meet all the necessary safety and security guidelines.

The Three Concepts of Database Security

Three main concepts are essential for database security. These are:

1. Confidentiality: It is vital to maintain confidentiality. You can do this through enforced encryption of data that you’ve transferred and those stored within the database in case of a breach.

2. Integrity: The control system for the user system is to make sure that only authorized personnel are allowed to access the data, and the log is maintained so everybody can access it. This will ensure that there is no breach of data caused by errors.

3. Availability: The data stored within the system is available to both the administrators and users, reducing downtime. The servers are updated periodically to ensure maximum security while also boosting the job through continuous service.


When the administrator of the database is aware of the most common threats, they implement these different methodologies for data protection and make sure that they store the data in servers that are extremely protected. These best practices will ensure that the data recovery and backup are able to safeguard the data against ransomware.

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