Database Security: Why Data is the New Gold

16th August 2022BlogAnjela Ubogu

Are you ready to get in touch?

Request a Call back

Co-authored by Pete Finnigan, Founder & CEO Ltd, and Anjela Ubogu, Client Manager, Northdoor

Data collection and analysis will become the future of all service offerings by 2030

Today data is the new gold. Data is precious and highly valuable, and organisations must safeguard and keep it secure. And just like gold, data quality is important, but data needs refining to get the most out of it. However, data isn’t only valuable, it is everywhere, and its value is in the insights that it can provide.

According to Deloitte, by 2030, data collection and analysis will become the basis of all future service offerings and business models. But not only must data be secure because of the value it delivers, but secure data also ensures organisations are meeting their compliance obligations.

However, that same data is also extremely valuable to cyber criminals, and over the last few years, the escalating threat landscape has created record levels of cyber threats and data breaches. Identity theft, personal data theft and database breaches are worldwide problems and everyday occurrences.

a man and a woman standing next to either other looking down at something below the camera

Data breaches can expose sensitive PII and damaging information

Data targeted for theft is often the sort of data that will be used by any business and is usually stored in databases. We are not just talking about financial or credit card data; personally identifiable information (PII) data is just as important. PII means any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, or biometric records. It could also include any other information linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial, and employment information.

Recent surveys also highlight that internal data breaches have increased to the point that internal breaches are often viewed as more of a threat than external malicious attacks. For example, between 2018 and 2020, there was a 47% increase in insider threat incidents. This includes malicious data exfiltration and accidental data loss. The latest research from the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report suggests that employees are responsible for around 22% of security incidents.  Likewise a 2021 report from Cybersecurity Insiders also suggests that 57% of organisations feel insider incidents have become more frequent over the past 12 months.

Database security: traditional firewalls and network security are no longer enough

This all means that the data an organisation holds must be secured at the database level. However, traditional firewalls and network security are no longer enough to secure the data held in databases. Therefore, specific and focused efforts must be made to minimise the risk to databases and the gold held within them.

However, unfortunately, companies and employees often treat databases like a mystic black box and make the mistake of thinking they are ‘somehow’ secure. But like any technology, databases have their vulnerabilities and can be exploited; therefore, it is imperative that the data within them is locked down.

In most instances, superusers are highly privileged with access to everything. There is little access control, and often companies don’t have security at the database level and, worse still, don’t have a security plan for their databases either.  Going back to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), privilege misuse is listed among the top reasons for data breaches. Likewise, there is usually a lack of visibility around data security controls and a lack of audit measures when a potential breach event occurs.

A 2021 report from Cybersecurity Insiders highlights that 57% of organisations feel insider incidents have become more frequent over the past 12 months. Click To Tweet

So, what can and should an organisation do to ensure they have the right procedures to protect both their database and the sensitive data contained within?

Minimise risk with pragmatic database security and access controls

Organisations need to create pragmatic and cost-effective data security and access controls. They need policy-driven database security that is easy to manage and efficient audit trail controls. They need context-based security where appropriate, combined with encryption and data masking of critical information with SQL code obfuscated, to protect the intellectual property invested in their database code.

Businesses should focus on automated compliance scanning, using products to automatically discover the security issues that could make a database vulnerable to attack and to the potential loss of data. Likewise, they should seek help and advice with securing the data in their databases in a compliant, planned, and structured way.

If they are unfortunate and suffer a data breach, they should seek a forensics tool to undertake a detailed live response to a breached database and then carry out a detailed forensic analysis of the data gathered.

Likewise, if they are deploying their database and data to the cloud, they should seek specialist help with cloud security, whether in the Oracle cloud, AWS or any other cloud service.

Webinar: The challenges of securing data in databases

If you are interested in finding out more, you can watch the replay of our webinar that was held on the 13th of September.  You will learn more about the challenges organisations face around securing data in databases, data discovery and data masking.

Watch here

Anjela Ubogu All Author's Posts
Interested in securing data in databases?

Request a demo or contact sales on: 0207 448 8500

Contact us

Our Awards & Accreditations