Every month a new alert goes out to the public informing us of yet another security breach and that it may or may not have divulged private and/or personal information from current and past customer accounts. The question is no longer if a customer's data will be hacked, but how long until a new breech in security occurs and how best to mitigate the damage.
These lapses in security are, for the most part, not the harbinger of new security flaws or hacker teams for the most part. Many of the most damaging database violations occur because simple security steps are bypassed or warning signs are not acted upon. Four of the worst security lapses are easily remedied with proactive management, basic due-diligence, and are listed below.
Poor Monitoring of People
The users who work most closely with database information have the easiest route to affect, change, and cover their tracks at will. In most business environments, the keys to the database rest with a single employee who controls access to the database and all audit files.
In many cases, tampering can be easily recognized, but more often than not, too late to reduce the damage. With unlimited access to audit data, these same users can cover their tracks leaving little trace of the changes made to a company's database.
Poor Monitoring of Databases
As a company expands, so does its database and the need to automate its monitoring. Many companies do not have the infrastructure to monitor multiple databases adequately without directly interfacing with individual databases.
In some cases, a company will have the proper monitoring tools in place to cover all of their databases but neglect to look at the data generated. To make matters worse, many companies who both monitor all of their databases and verify the information lack the capability to act on security breaches in a prompt manor.
Sensitive Data Location Records
Companies with a number of databases occasionally find it difficult to know which database includes identifiable personal data. Many companies are constantly growing and changing with the needs of their industries and lose track of the specifics of individual database specifics.
With this change comes the need to upgrade and expand information technology services and that requires new database installations. Without proper planning and foresight, identifiable personal data may not receive the level of security needed or required.
Nearly all of the most damaging security breaches in the recent past have come from exploited security flaws well after a patch was released to alleviate the problem. Many administrators do not know that a patch is available or are not aware that security vulnerabilities exist for their database.
Among the administrators that are aware of vulnerabilities, there can be a delay in patch deployment due to heavy workloads and internal pressures from management to work on other more pressing projects.