How to Determine if Your Database is a Security Risk

An unsecured database can be costly to a business whenever security breaches with regard to personal and other sensitive data occurs. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to implement and follow proper database risk management techniques.

The challenge many Australian small business owners face is not having the expertise in database management solutions with important security features to protect data driven websites. As a result, here are five important signs that can help point out if your database is at risk:

1. Not using separate database and web servers

A database installed on a web server makes it very easy for potential attackers to gain access to data. Once they break through the basic security controls such as administrator passwords, the data becomes accessible. To avoid this sort of breach from occurring, ensure that your data is stored on a separate database server hosted behind a firewall with its own redundant backup system.

2. Stored files are not encrypted

The minimum database security standards require that files be encrypted to reduce their vulnerability in the event of a hack attack. This is because stored files of web applications contain proprietary information concerning database connectivity. If an application configuration file is stored in a plain text format, proprietary database keys can become accessible to hackers who can then steal sensitive data or enter erroneous data inside the database.

3. Database backup is not encrypted

Database back-up files should always be encrypted. Some intrusions are not always orchestrated by outside individuals, but also by those who have access to inside information. For maximum protection, database backup files can be stored offline or in a secured remote location. Also, be sure to permanently remove database and web access to any individual who longer needs them including former employees, associates and vendors.

4. No web application firewall

Some business owners are under the misconception that protecting a web server doesn’t have anything to do with the database. On the contrary, in addition to helping to protect against cross website scripting and related vulnerabilities, a good applications firewall can also help in thwarting SQL injections and related attacks. Having a strong applications firewall is a powerful database risk management procedure.

5. Existence of outdated patches

Outdated patches provide an easy environment for hackers to penetrate your business database. Especially in scenarios where there are many third party applications such as add-ons, widgets and a wide range of other plug-ins, hackers can easily exploit them to gain unauthorised access to the database. Make sure all systems and applications are regularly patched and updated.

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