The importance of database security and integrity

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When we talk about database integrity, we mean integrity, accuracy and consistency of the whole. data from a database. We can have a perception of this integrity in the database when we see that between two instances or between two updates of a data record, no alteration, which means the data is intact and unchanged.


Photo credits: JohnDWilliams

We lay the foundations for the integrity of the database during the database design stage, through the use of standard procedures and rules. From there, We can continue to maintain the integrity of the database through the use of error verification and validation procedures..

The concept of integrity in the database guarantees that all data in a database can be tracked using traceability techniques, as well as connected to other data. This ensures that everything is searchable and retrievable.

Have a single database integrity system, well defined and well controlled increases stability, performance, reuse and easy maintenance.

What is information security and what does it have to do with the integrity of the database?

Information security is responsible for protecting confidentiality, the availability and integrity of the database of all knowledge assets of the organization.. The way to achieve it has to do with:

  • Confidentiality– This is the most important aspect of database security. This objective is achieved through the encryption that must be applied to the data at rest., but also to the data that, for one reason or another, are in transit.
  • Database integrity: seeks to ensure that only persons authorized to do so will be able to access privileged information of the company. The integrity of a database is enforced through authentication protocols, internal policies (like the ones that boost password security) and a user access control system that establishes the permissions that determine who can access what data. . You also can't forget to take steps that help get unused accounts locked or deleted.
  • Availability: refers to the need for databases and all the information they contain to be ready for use. On one side, must guarantee its functionality and reliability while, Besides, it is advisable to plan downtimes outside of business hours.

Guarantee the integrity in the database, as well as its availability and reliability is decisive for the correct operation of the business. Despite this, the threat does not stop and, today, the attacks are multiplying, both in frequency and in target. Hackers no longer just covet the informational assets of large multinational corporations, but they are directed to all types of companies, regardless of its size, purpose or industry.

Types of attacks on database integrity

It is clear that the risk involved in this type of malicious action varies from one organization to another, even though among the most common attacks are those that have as their objective:

  • Personal data of clients, credit card and social security numbers.
  • Strategic business details.
  • Financial information of the company itself and its partners.
  • Sensitive data on workers.

You could say that they are most of the active databases in the company directories, at least all those that, somehow, are relevant to the business. Exactly for that, it is necessary to maintain good security practices and defense strategies to face this type of attack, also in its most recent and sophisticated versions, like phisinig, spear phishing, SQL injection, DDos, advanced persistent threat or ransomware.

According to Ponemon's SQL Injection Threat Survey, “The 65% of surveyed institutions had experienced such a successful attack in the past year.”. Between the The causes that could have motivated the violation of the integrity of the database are the lack of scanning of the database or its irregular scanning, a common mistake in the 47% of the cases.

This is amazing, especially considering that the 49% of respondents rated the threat level of SQL injection in their organization with a score of 9 O 10.

Despite this, you shouldn't go that far, weak authentication is the most common threat to database security and integrity. The same password used for different purposes, shared between users, never updated or obvious, facilitates the work of a malicious attacker in his mission aimed at steal a user's identity legitimate. Once you know those 8, 10 O 12 digits, you already have access to confidential data, you already have the organization in your hands.

Security best practices that help ensure the integrity of the database

One of the more effective ways to ensure integrity in the database is implementing some of the best security practices. Among them are the following:

  • Resort to data masking o Allowing users to access certain information without being able to see it helps maintain confidentiality even in test environments.
  • Minimize extras and limit yourself to services, apps and functionalities that are truly indispensable to ensure the normal functioning of business operations, thus reducing the risk.
  • Make sure database administrators understand the importance of ensuring its protection.
  • Keep databases up to date and delete the unknown components.
  • Use tools like static code analysis, that help reduce SQL injection problems, buffer overflows and configuration issues.
  • Take frequent backups and use an uninterruptible power supply or UPS to ensure that a power outage does not cause data loss.

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