Traditional Database Security Doesn’t Protect Data

Alex Yates has a controversial topic and some interesting thoughts:

Unfortunately, traditional database security has failed us.

Developers need access to the dev database to do their work. They need to be able to use appropriate test data to test their code. Traditional security features (logins, roles and users – even encryption technologies, dynamic data masking and row level security, etc) can be used to manage who has access to the data in production systems, but if a dev or test database already has the sensitive data these fundamental security features are worthless with regard to data protection. Even encrypted data only remains secure if the keys remain safe.

Sure, traditional security features protect the data in the production system – but not if it has already been copied to a less secure environment. And most people don’t track that with anywhere near as much rigor as they should.

To protect data effectively, we need to think much more consciously, not just about the production database, but also about all the other databases and backups that make up our database lifecycles, including dev and test systems and dev workstations. We need to know exactly where our security perimeter lies. Any copy of sensitive production data needs to live within the security perimeter and not outside it.

Read the whole article.

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