25 Nov 2018

Security in the Database Design Process


Database designers and engineers are always concerned about speed and performance. However, during the database design process, performance concerns sometimes undermine security issues. In today’s data-driven world, that’s dangerous. Cybercriminals and hackers are no longer hacking for fun. They have discovered massive profits in data breaches. Highly skilled hackers are launching sophisticated cyber attacks that affect millions of people every day.

According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, in 2018, the average cost of a data breach stands at $3.86 million for an organization. So every database developer should prioritize security in database designs. The systems should be able to withstand attacks like SQL Injection, buffer overflow vulnerability, authentication exploitation, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Otherwise, businesses will end up paying the price.

Aspects of Securing Databases

DbDesigner.net suggests users start with the general data security issues. A database designer needs to ensure the security on these three levels:

Data: Hackers can create security threats by corrupting, manipulating and stealing data. So database designers have to look at all possible scenarios where the information can be compromised.

Systems: Database depends on various software and hardware systems. These systems play direct and indirect roles. Developers and DB engineers need to evaluate the systems to find out vulnerable endpoints.

Users: Database customers can be internal or external to the organization. The database models should account for access control and authorization processes. It will prevent hackers from taking advantage of broken authentication.

Using the CIA Triad Concept

The following three concepts should further clarify what’s at stake:

Confidentiality: Databases need to keep private information secure. Even internal servers should have some form of encryption. So if hackers get physical or network access to the databases, they wouldn’t be able to use the data.

Integrity: Corrupted data will deteriorate customer trust. So data integrity is a priority for database designers.

Availability: Data that can’t be reached is useless. An impenetrable wall that cuts off the data from the rest of the world is not the goal. Rather, the objective is to use proper access control to make the data available to the customers.

The CIA Triad concept dictates that you have to find a balance between these three things when you are designing your information security system.

Practical Steps to Ensure Database Security

Even though every organization is different and your database design will differ significantly from another company, here are some practical steps every organization can take to keep their data safe:

Secure Servers Physically

Use physical locks and bolts for database servers. Monitor datacenters with security cameras. Moreover, make sure your data is encrypted, so hackers can’t use the data even if they gain access to it.

Set Up Proper Firewalls

System and database administrators are often guilty of forgetting to close unused ports. Set up firewalls to prevent unwanted incoming traffic. Monitor traffic with network tools to find suspicious activities before they become huge problems.

Keep Systems Updated

Unpatched software applications and operating systems can create an opportunity for hackers to get access. Make sure any systems attached to databases are regularly updated with the latest patches.

Identity and Access Management

Cybercriminals often use simple access management vulnerabilities to get into your database system. If your systems administration password is “admin” or “password123”, you have a problem on your hand. Also, make sure proper procedures are in place to keep track of what users are accessing. Identity and Access Management (IAM) principles can help you.

Use Change Management and Database Auditing

Databases are fast evolving entities with changes happening in multiple directions. Sooner or later, you have to use change management and DevOps principles to automate the monitoring of logs and security breaches. The sooner, the better. Also, incorporate regular database auditing into your process. It will help you find breaches faster.

In Conclusion

Today users are entrusting organizations with their most private and crucial information. So organizations have a moral duty to provide the best security support for their customers. By understanding the fundamentals, database designers can provide higher quality security for their customers.

Using DB Designer online database design tool makes it easier for you to ensure security of your data. Visit https://www.dbdesigner.net to start designing your databases securely.