For banking, ecommerce, finance, and IT sectors, database security is of utmost importance. Each transaction hinges on the security of the database since it contains every detail, including usernames, passwords, and credit card information.
Safely and securely storing this information and making it accessible to employees when needed is usually a challenge for system engineers tasked with handling database security right practices. Even a minor mistake can cause the database system to be hacked, and the organization may suffer enormous losses.
How to Secure a Database?
When it comes to securing the database, you can opt for many practices. However, here are some of the best practices for data access security that can be implemented to ensure databases remain secure:
#1: Monitor and protect databases
Keeping your data secure where it’s stored is essential for data security. You can improve the security of your digital and physical data by following these practices:
- Keep track of who has access to the information you store. You can restrict access to sensitive information based on a user’s ID, ensuring that only those who need it are granted access.
- Always encrypt your data. Safeguarding data with encryption is one of the most important things you can do. Despite your best efforts to protect your database from all sorts of threats, hackers are always one step ahead of you. However, by encrypting the data in your database, you will be able to outsmart them. And hackers would be unable to use your information even if they get a hold of it.
- Ensure that user data is protected at the point of entry. Use strong authentication practices – such as social login – to verify and secure the information of customers and employees when they log in for the first time (or repeatedly). Not only does this simplify the process and reduce friction, but it also helps facilitate the organization’s sensitive information in one place rather than scattered among multiple databases.
#2: Secure the endpoints
The endpoints on your network remain vulnerable. Therefore, you must implement a strong endpoint security strategy to limit the risk of data leaks. Some measures you may consider are:
- Antivirus software. Ensure that your computers and servers are equipped with antivirus software. Keep your system healthy by running regular scans and watching for threats such as ransomware.
- Antispyware. A spyware program is computer malware that installs itself without the user’s consent. The purpose of this tool is typically to gather information on user behavior and to gather personal information. Install them. You can remove or block spyware and adware with anti-spyware software.
- Pop-up blockers. Unwanted programs, known as pop-ups, are unwanted programs that run on your computer without any apparent purpose except to damage the system. Block pop-ups by installing pop-up blockers.
- Firewalls. Most experts recommend installing a firewall as one of the best data security practices since it protects your data from cybercriminals. Additionally, install firewalls internally to enhance data security.
#3: Be prepared for adverse events
Hackers are always searching for ways to exploit the weak points in your security systems, so cybersecurity threats are always evolving and changing. Therefore, data security isn’t something you set and forget about – it’s something you need to do daily.
The following are some of the best ways you can prepare for threats (and the aftermath of an attack):
- Test the system. It’s best to have a proactive approach to prevent data loss from happening in the first place. Although automation can help you keep an eye on your systems, it cannot compete with human creativity when trying to break in. Therefore, either hire an external company that tests systems or create an internal team to do it.
- Train your employees. In most attacks on data security, staff members are unaware and let down by malware-laden emails and USB traps. Implementing executive training can significantly reduce these risks.
- Establish an incident response plan. In the case that your data is hacked, it is crucial to have a comprehensive response plan in place. In addition to making IT aware of what needs to be done, you must also provide management with guidelines, let employees know, and discuss recovery plans.
- Prepare a backup plan for the secure recovery of your data. In the event that your important data is corrupted, lost, or compromised, it’s a good idea to be prepared to handle it. That means maintaining a backup copy of all of your sensitive data. You should protect the backup and keep it separate from your other data.
#4: Remove old files that aren’t used
Eventually, your data will become outdated and can no longer be used. When this occurs, it’s crucial to get rid of that data. If it were to be hacked, it could still cause harm to your users.
These are two best practices for deleting unnecessary data:
- Know when and how to let go. You must properly dispose of digital information when it’s time to get rid of it. When you erase information, make sure it is gone and that it isn’t left somewhere that could come back to haunt you.
- Do not forget to destroy physical copies. Don’t forget about any backups you have on paper, microfilm, negatives, X-rays, or other media separate from your digital files. Whenever you delete unnecessary data, ensure that you double-check if it has a physical counterpart and, if it does, destroy it.
#5: Install patch updates
Most organizations utilize third-party software to supplement their in-house database tools. In addition to enhancing security, collaboration, synchronization, visual rendering, and data editing, these widgets and plugins also have many other benefits.
However, using third-party programs also increases the database’s vulnerability. Sometimes, hackers can access databases through outdated or vulnerable plugins or widgets. That is why third-party tools regularly release updates and new versions to improve performance and security. So, update your third-party software as soon as the new patches are released.
Also, don’t forget to update your database management software and applications and your operating system frequently. Microsoft, for example, regularly releases updates to SQL Server. When your system is set up to download updates automatically, it will always be current.
There are a lot of moving parts involved in a comprehensive data security plan, and they all work together in real-time to keep your data safe. The practices we have discussed ensure the confidentiality of your company’s databases. However, the success of your plan will be determined by the size and structure of your company’s computing infrastructure and how well you implement these practices.