Best Practices for allowing access to your business databases
At Intuitive IT, we have an in-house development team. Some of our clients have their own developers, and we need to ensure that when we give access to 3rd party developers, we do it securely and according to best practices.
This is becoming more, and more of an issue as data breaches are using weaknesses in 3rd party’s systems to reach their targets.
As a business, ensuring that your databases are secure and protected from unauthorised access is crucial. With the increasing amount of sensitive data stored in databases, robust security measures have become more critical than ever. We will explore the key components of best practices for implementing them to secure access to your business databases.
Why business database security is critical
Securing access to databases is a critical task for businesses of all sizes. Databases store a wide range of sensitive information, including personal, financial, and confidential business information. If unauthorised individuals can access this data, it can lead to severe consequences, such as data breaches, loss of revenue, and damage to the company’s reputation.
To protect against these risks, it is essential to have robust security measures in place to secure access to your databases. One effective way to do this is by using the IAADP framework, which stands for Identification, Authentication, Authorisation, and Data Protection. In this blog post, we will explore the critical components of the IAADP framework and provide best practices for implementing them to secure access to your business databases.
Named accounts – no generic accounts
It’s also essential to use a unique username and password combination for each user account and to enforce strong password policies. This can include enforcing password complexity rules, such as requiring a minimum length and a mix of numbers, letters and special characters.
Review user accounts regularly.
Another best practice is to review and update user accounts regularly. This will help ensure that only active users have access to the database and that users working for the company no longer have access. Additionally, it is best to implement an automated system for provisioning and de-provisioning user access to the database. This will ensure that the access is given and removed on time and will reduce human error.
Once you have identified who should have access to the database, the next step is to authenticate users before granting them access. Authentication verifies a user’s identity and requires users to provide a username and password. However, more than relying on a username and password is required, as they can be easily compromised.
This is where Multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes in. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide a second form of identification, such as a fingerprint or a code sent to their mobile phone. This helps ensure that only authorised users can access the database.
Another critical best practice is to use secure connection methods, such as VPN or SSH when accessing the database remotely. This helps to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker intercepts the communication between the user and the database.
Once users have been authenticated, the next step is to authorise them to access the necessary resources. This is where the principle of least privilege comes in, meaning that users should only have access to the specific resources they need to do their job and no more. Again, this helps to minimise the risk of unauthorised access and potential data breaches.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
The first step in securing access to a database is identification. This involves identifying which users and groups need access to the database and creating and managing user and group accounts accordingly. One of the essential best practices for identification is to use role-based access control (RBAC). With RBAC, users are assigned roles that define the specific resources they can access. This ensures that users only have access to the resources they need to do their job and minimises the risk of unauthorised access.
Review groups regularly
Another best practice is to review and update user roles regularly. This will help ensure that users continue to have access to the resources they need and that no unauthorised access is given.
Data protection is another vital aspect of securing access to a database. It protects data in transit and at rest to prevent unauthorised access or breaches. One of the best practices for data protection is to use encryption. Encryption converts plaintext into a coded format so that someone with the decryption key can only read it.
Encryption (at rest)
Encryption should be used for data in transit as well as at rest. This means encrypting data as it is sent over networks and stored on disk. This helps to ensure that even if an attacker can intercept the data or access the storage device, they will not be able to read the data without the decryption key.
Encryption (in transit)
Another best practice is to use a database management system that supports encryption and other security features out of the box. This will help ensure that your data is protected and that you can easily configure and manage encryption settings.
Data protection is a critical step in securing access to a database. Using encryption for data in transit and at rest and a database management system that supports encryption and other security features, you can help ensure that your data is protected and that unauthorised access is prevented.
Monitoring and auditing
Monitoring and auditing database activity is another crucial aspect of securing access to a database. Regularly monitoring and auditing database activity can help detect and respond to any suspicious activity, such as unauthorised access attempts or potential data breaches.
One of the key best practices for monitoring and auditing is to use automated tools to track and record database activity. These tools can help identify any unusual activity, such as an unusually high number of login attempts or unauthorised access. This allows you to identify and respond to potential security threats quickly.
Incident Response Plan
Another best practice is to create an incident response plan. This plan should outline the steps to be taken in case of a security breach or other incident. This will help ensure that you are prepared to respond quickly and effectively if an incident occurs.
Monitoring and auditing are critical steps in securing access to a database. By using automated tools to track and record database activity and creating an incident response plan, you can help ensure that any suspicious activity is detected and responded to promptly, reducing the risk of unauthorised access and potential data breaches.
It’s important to remember that securing a database is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest security best practices. Businesses can reach out to their IT support providers for help, as they can provide additional guidance and support in securing their databases and protecting their sensitive data. They can also help you review your current security measures, identify potential vulnerabilities, and implement new security controls.
By working with an IT support provider, businesses can have peace of mind knowing that their databases are secure and in compliance with industry standards and regulations.