A data-centric security approach

Trustwave Holdings Inc

By Jason Whyte, General Manager for Pacific, Trustwave
Friday, 06 October, 2023

A data-centric security approach

The perimeters of technological defences are shifting and, in some cases, disappearing altogether. With the rise of multi-cloud environments, databases face an unprecedented level of exposure. Historically, database security measures have often been retrofitted from solutions designed for other threats; however, this approach is no longer a viable solution against sophisticated threats custom-built to exploit database vulnerabilities. Against such intelligent and persistent adversaries, merely scanning the database for threats is akin to checking the front door while leaving all the windows open. Therefore, it’s necessary to take a comprehensive, data-centric approach to security that is purpose-built for databases.

Organisations have traditionally attempted to retrofit existing security solutions to protect their databases to varying degrees of success; however, these makeshift measures often fall short of addressing specific database threats. As the cyber threat landscape evolves and adversaries employ increasingly sophisticated methods to gain unauthorised access, outdated, generic tools become obsolete.

Databases hold vital business intelligence and sensitive customer data, and they demand more than just cursory checks. A robust database security solution, one that probes for vulnerabilities while evaluating other relevant security initiatives, is essential to achieve a holistic view of an organisation’s database defences.

There are four key elements organisations should look for in a strong database defence solution:

1. Robust password policies and user access management: too often, even the most cutting-edge security solutions are compromised due to simple human errors like using weak passwords. Establishing comprehensive password policies reduces the potential for breaches that stem from easily guessable or frequently reused passwords. For more comprehensive security, user access management tools are crucial. By regulating and monitoring who can access what, organisations can prevent unauthorised intrusions and maintain the sanctity of their data.

2. Real-time monitoring and anomaly detection: a competent database solution should continually observe data access and operations, understanding regular patterns and instantly flagging any deviations. This helps organisations swiftly identify potential threats and facilitates immediate action, ensuring ongoing integrity and security.

3. Sensitive data discovery and management: the ability to locate, categorise and manage sensitive data within a database is indispensable. A database security solution should empower organisations to pinpoint critical information, control its accessibility and even lock down environments if any security concerns arise. By diligently monitoring sensitive data, organisations can better protect their most valuable and potentially vulnerable assets.

4. Consistency across systems: organisations often operate across multiple platforms and systems, making consistency crucial. A database solution must ensure that all systems are uniformly configured and synchronised. This approach prevents potential loopholes and vulnerabilities that may arise from overlooked or outdated systems, delivering a seamless and secure operational environment.

Jason Whyte said, “In the rapidly expanding digital ecosystem, the essence of security can’t be constrained to merely erecting barriers: it requires a proactive and all-encompassing strategy, especially when it comes to database protection. Databases are the lifeblood of modern enterprises, harbouring critical business intelligence, trade secrets and sensitive customer data. Every breach or intrusion has the potential not just to disrupt operations but also to tarnish a brand’s reputation, eroding customer trust.

“The evolving digital landscape demands a reimagining of database security strategies. Organisations must move away from makeshift solutions and embrace comprehensive, database-specific measures. The magnitude of this challenge can’t be understated. It’s not just about preventing breaches; it’s about fostering an environment where data integrity and security become integral to an organisation’s ethos. Anything short of that and businesses risk exposing their most valuable assets in an unforgiving digital battleground.”

Image credit: iStock.com/islander11

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