7 Gold Standard Database Security Best Practices

Database security requires extensive experience handling sensitive data and current knowledge of new cyber threats to databases. Your business database contains important information that cybercriminals often target in an attempt to obtain credit card numbers, personal information, and other data they could use to steal money or information. Below we discuss 7 database security best practices to help keep your company database safe and secure from prying cyber criminals looking to compromise your business and your profits.

1. Keep security controls of database server on maximum

Simple security measures make a big difference, and the tighter your database security, the better.

Always ensure you’re running the most up-to-date version of your database software to remove vulnerabilities. Turn on all security protocols and controls of your database and website server — unless there is a specific and necessary reason that one should be turned off. In addition, be sure to delete or disable any features or services you are not using and do not need. Finally, remember to change all default passwords to prevent unauthorized users from logging in.

2. Separate servers and web servers

Separate your database server from your website server to enhance database security. Keeping your servers separate will increase the cyber security of your database server and website so that even if a hacker cracks your web server admin account, they won’t be able to access your database.

For the sake of security, it’s always best practice to keep unnecessary programs and servers separate from servers that don’t require them to operate. While these servers may need to communicate at times, ensure that their permissions are confined to the lowest level of privilege needed in order for them to operate successfully. This will limit the scope of damage an attacker can implement.

3. Encrypt all files and backups

No matter how solid your defenses, there is always a chance a hacker could infiltrate your system. But, cyber criminals aren’t the only threat to your database security. Your employees could also be a significant risk to your business. There is always the chance that an employee will access a file they don’t have permission to.

Encrypting your data makes it unreadable to both hackers, and employees without an encryption key, therefore making it a final line of defense against unwanted intrusions. Encrypt all important documents, files, and backups to keep your critical data unreadable to unauthorized users.

4. Put a database firewall and web application firewall in place

Firewalls enhance database security by denying traffic by default to minimize the entrance of threats. When set up properly, they should only allow traffic from specific applications and web servers that need to access the data, and should also prevent your database from initiating outbound connections (aside from those that are necessary).

In addition, putting a web application firewall in place helps protect your web servers and increases database security. Without one, web application attacks could be used to delete or collect data from your database. This keeps your database behind a firewall and away from prying cybercriminals.

5. Regularly update patches

If your database or website uses widgets, plugins and other third-party apps, cyber criminals will often target these in order to bypass your database security, especially if they haven’t been patched or updated on a regular basis. Even if your internal defenses are strong, these third-party additions can create weaknesses if you don’t stay on top of them.

Be sure to run updates as soon as they become available to keep all of your defenses strong, and keep intruders from getting in.

6. Hack/audit your database to check your security

If you’re hosting highly valuable information, like consumer credit card data, you could find yourself as the target for hackers. Therefore, once you feel like you’ve implemented all of the proper security defenses and have covered all of your bases, put your work to the test by trying to hack in yourself.

Hacking or auditing your own database is a great way to check your own database security — before someone else attempts to “test” your security measures for you. Searching for ways to hack your own database will put you into the mindset of a hacker and may help you spot vulnerabilities you would have otherwise missed. If you succeed in hacking your database, you’ll know there is more work needed to be done.

7. Keep an encrypted copy of your database on backup

Even with all of these security measures properly implemented, there’s always the chance that something will go wrong. Perhaps your database suffers physical damage, a hackers breaks in, or an employee deletes an important file — you need to be prepared for any and all of these data loss scenarios. Luckily, this is easy to do with cloud backup.

Cloud backup allows you to recover any deleted or accidentally changed file to the version you require. Backup all pertinent databases using a reliable, cloud backup company focused on security. This will mean you always have a copy of all important customer and company information stored away in case of an unforeseen problem and can retrieve the information upon request. Look into cloud backup companies that offer unlimited previous file versions (critical if a ransomware virus strikes) and military-grade security. These companies will offer the most thorough backup and recovery solutions and will keep your data safe no matter what.