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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Database Security Risks Run Amok Without Oversight

Posted February 1, 2012    Peter McCalister

As you can imagine, databases are in a class of data storage, organization, and management unto themselves. As such, the inherent security vulnerabilities in which a least privilege solution can help mitigate are also relatively unique. I’ve uncovered six that should be explored:

Misconfigurations: Database schemas can be very temperamental and any misconfiguration error can cascade into a huge problem or be so subtle that it may be difficult to uncover the impact. A frequent challenge here is the ambitious developer who somehow gets access to the production system instead of just their development sandbox.

Updates: Out-of-cycle patching can cause major disruption in operation and potentially lead to lost revenue if done on the primary transaction database. Here is where the ambitious tech support technician or developer believes that blindly trusting that your database vendor’s testing capabilities keep current with their latest patch is a good thing.

Application Attacks: Sometimes the easiest way to attack your database is to attack the outward-facing applications that are connected to that database, especially if those application are web-based. This can also come in the form of database access through non-approved channels such as open source tools capable of bypassing normal admin dashboards.

Transaction Monitoring: Sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can trip you up when looking to satisfy compliance or track down data theft or damage, so monitoring every transaction can be very important. However, it can also drown your data stores in amounts of information too voluminous to even interrogate.

Data Awareness: What is perceived, or in actuality is, confidential data can be subjective in some organizations and very clearly identified in others. Being aware of what class of data is stored where will be another critical success factor.

Privileged Users: My favorite, of course, is the privileged user. As discussed previously, the DBA’s omnipotent access to your database must be managed through a least privilege solution in order to ensure your governance and compliance policies are met as well as protect against the misuse of that privilege—intentionally, accidentally, or indirectly.

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Additional articles

Troubleshooting Windows Privilege Management Rules with Policy Monitor

Posted August 21, 2014    Jason Silva

When defining and testing PowerBroker for Windows rules for production or pilots, customers sometimes tell us, “I don’t think this policy / program is working.” This is usually a case of the policy not properly triggering because of the way the rule was created. A unique feature of PowerBroker for Windows compared to other solutions is a client-side…

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BeyondTrust Webcast: Darren Mar-Elia’s 4 Active Directory Change Scenarios to Track

Posted August 20, 2014    Chris Burd

In our latest webcast, we joined Darren Mar-Elia, CTO at SDM Software, to discuss best practices for Active Directory (AD) change management. Here are some key takeaways from the presentation, followed by a link to a full-length video of the presentation. Mar-Elia kicks things off with a critical insight: that the best AD change management…

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New IT Security Best Practices for Maintaining “Business as Usual” Despite Evolving Threats

Posted August 13, 2014    Morey Haber

It’s time to get back to business. Here in the U.S., summer vacations are wrapping up and businesses are looking forward to closing out 2014. Over the past year, we’ve seen several incidents that warrant changes in the ways consumers make purchases and businesses conduct transactions. Consider last week’s theft of a whopping 1.2 billion…

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