5 Dangerous Database Mistakes to Avoid
As a data security specialist, you’ll inevitably come across data breaches from time to time. Though most breaches are due to human error or technical failures, there are still instances where sensitive data has been exposed.
If your organization suffers a data breach, you may need to mitigate the consequences and make sure sensitive information is kept confidential and secure. However, doing so could also have negative consequences.
Not properly planning for and mitigating a potential breach increases the chances of a future one occurring.
Top 5 Database Mistakes To Avoid
To keep you informed on common data security mistakes that other companies make, we’ve compiled this list of some of the most common:
1. Failing to Keep Up with Patches
Unlike other software components, the source code of a database server doesn’t change automatically. When a data security issue is discovered, you need to check the relevant GitHub repository and apply the appropriate patches. However, if the developers don’t keep up with the latest security patches, you may have a compromised database.
Most database server vendors include security patches as part of their regular monthly updates. Installing these updates regularly will help ensure that the patches are up-to-date and valid. You should also ensure that your development team uses the latest security patches when working on new code.
2. Disabling or Misconfigured Firewalls
Firewalls are one of the most significant security threats facing data centers today. They allow you to create a virtual wall between your data center and the internet, reducing the risk of an outside party accessing your data.
However, these virtual walls can be effective only when the firewalls are working properly. If a firewall is misconfigured, or if you accidentally bypassed the firewall, your data is at risk.
If you have unauthorized personnel on your computer network, they could easily access your firewalls to connect to your server. It’s critical that you understand your firewalls and how they’re working to protect your data. If you aren’t familiar with your firewalls, you may want to hire a professional to help troubleshoot issues and configure your network properly.
3. Not Inspecting Outgoing Traffic
When connecting to or sending data to or from your server or database, you must specify the correct address. Your software will use this address to determine where the data should be transmitted. If you’re unsure whether or not to send data to the correct address, you may use the ping command to determine the network’s topology.
It’s also good to monitor which IP addresses are being resolved by your computer and associated services. This can help you identify problems with your network infrastructure and guide you in the right direction.
Read: Top 10 NoSQL Databases
Many companies don’t track which IP addresses are connected to what services. This is a common mistake among small businesses, who may not realize the impact of not monitoring these addresses.
4. Failing to Control Privileged Accounts
Like network connections and firewalls, privileged accounts are one of the most common causes of data exposure. These accounts, including root, sudo, and otherwise-privileged accounts, are often left unsecured.
If an employee has access to these accounts without your knowledge, that person can potentially create a large number of problems. For example, that employee could connect to your server as a superuser and delete data. Or, that employee could simply log into a root account and browse the web.
A couple of things you can do to help prevent privilege breaches are:
Limit the number of accounts that have access to sensitive data
Maintain a log of who is logging into which accounts and what they are doing
Use unique passwords for each account
Remember that you don’t have to close these accounts once they’re no longer needed completely. You may want to keep a log of which accounts are still necessary for business operations and which ones should be closed.
5. Ignoring Database Performance Issues
When you build a business model around a database, it’s important to understand how well your software and its key features run. If you notice performance issues, it’s crucial to contact the development team to discover what’s causing them.
Data held in the database should all be within reasonable limits. Without these limits, your software is likely running too slow. Sometimes the performance issues are due to DBMS bugs or the hardware. If the issues are significant, you may have to replace the hardware.
If you notice issues with software components, you can do a few things to help ensure they don’t become larger problems. First, if the issues are significant, you may want to consider using a different model of the same software to determine why the performance issues are occurring.
You may also want to check the support and documentation pages of the software to see if there are any threads related to these performance issues.
There are several common data security mistakes that businesses make. The information security team is often rushing to check a database or file system and doesn’t take the time to ensure the data is properly protected. By following these tips, you can improve your chances of avoiding data security problems in the future.