One of the responsibilities of a database administrator is to ensure that the database is safe and secure. Today, databases can face threats, such as getting hacked, employee malpractice and even system failure. These threats pose a variety of risks to the data contained in them. It can lose its integrity or even confidentiality. Hackers are well known today for their exploits in breaking into databases so as to steal information and other types of malpractice. Therefore, database administrators (DBAs) must ensure that they put in place adequate security measures in their databases. When a database is well secured, stakeholders such as the compliance and IT departments are comfortable and satisfied. One of the most popular database systems today is Oracle. Thousands of organizations around the world utilize Oracle to store their business information. Here are a number of steps that a DBA can perform to secure their Oracle database.
Security measures to perform during installation
When you are installing the Oracle database, there are a number of settings that you can perform so as to ensure that it is secure. One of these is altering the parameters of initialization. This can also be done in the templates. By using these facilities, you can secure your Oracle database builds. There are a number of security settings that you can accomplish using these parameters. They include:
- Securing the database dictionary
- Privilege management
- Managing passwords
Securing the dictionary of data in your database
A data dictionary is a number of tables that contain information about your Oracle database. This dictionary contains information, such as roles, user names and privileges. Moreover, it contains information about the objects in your database. In an Oracle database system, the data dictionary is the most important facility. Therefore, it should be sufficiently secured. You can accomplish this by using the 07_DICTIONARY_ACCESSIBILITY settings.
The accessibility settings allow remote DBA experts to perform a number of activities. You can restrict access by your operating system to the database using these settings. It is necessary for your operating system to gain access to your database. However, it should not have too much access. Restrict accessibility to your operating system by preventing it from modifying the default files. Moreover, you can prevent it from editing the permissions to specific directories in your database. An example of such a directory is the installation directory. In addition to that, you can set the database such that its files cannot be modified by users that are not trusted. Another strategy is to set limits to the number of users who can easily connect to the local Oracle database. These users can be there administrative accounts. Once you limit them, you can go ahead to cut down their privileges as well.
Managing privileges in the database
One of the security policies in the Oracle databases is the privilege management system. It covers much more than the operating system in your organization. It governs user privileges as well. Using this facility, database administrators can grant or deny privileges to the users. As a DBA, you should only grant privileges that users need to accomplish business processes. Anything more could risk the database. There are many users in an organization. Therefore, keeping track of the privileges that you have set for each one can become extremely difficult. Thankfully, the Oracle privilege management system has a facility known as the roles. Roles are tools that you can use to manage the privileges of an entire group of users. In the capacity of a DBA, you can configure the GRANT settings of a role and then assign a group of users to this role. In this way, you are able to manage the privileges of that group all at once. By handling the users in groups, it becomes much easier to track their activities. It also reduces your chances of granting a user more access than they require by mistake.
Managing passwords is a concept of security that is normally applied in every sector of Information Technology (IT). The Oracle database is not an exception to this fact. Upon installation, this database has a number of default passwords. They are located in the DBA_USERS_WITH_DEF_PWD view of the database. These passwords can be a weakness in your security settings. Therefore, you should always delete them. Eliminate all of them from the database and replace them with strong, purposeful passwords. Ensure that your passwords are alphanumeric in nature and are at least ten characters long. Mix up the letter cases and include some symbols too. This makes your password robust. One of the most helpful activities that you can also perform is to establish a system that tracks your passwords. It should be able to track how many log ins have failed and also make the passwords expire after a given period of time. In this way, the users have to renew them and make them stronger.
Oracle databases are used by many high level organizations around the world. Therefore, they contain very sensitive business information. As a DBA, it is your responsibility to ensure that your database is as secure as possible. The steps indicated above are sure guidelines on how to accomplish this.