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Category: Security

A Power BI Report for Power BI Report Access

Gilbert Quevauvilliers sets up an infinite loop:

In this blog post I show the final part which is how I created the Power BI report which takes the previous 3 steps and then creates the Power BI Report.

I am going to show you how I got the data in using Power Query and then created the Power BI report.

Read on for the process. But now I want a report to see who has access to the report for who has access to reports. And I think I need a report for that layer. And that layer. And…

(Shh, yes, I know you can get that all from the same report but it’s so rare I get to make a “Turtles the whole way down” reference).

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Azure Databricks Security Considerations

Craig Porteous provides some advice on configuring Azure Databricks:

Azure Databricks is an analytics platform and often serves as the central compute component of a data platform, to process ETL/ELT data pipelines and data science workloads. As Databricks is a third-party platform-as-a-service offering securing it works differently to most other first-party services in Azure; for example, we can’t use private endpoints. (More on these in the Azure Storage post)

The two main approaches to working with Databricks in our secure platform are VNet Peering or VNet Injection

Click through to learn the difference between these two, as well as a few other factors to keep in mind as you’re deploying Databricks.

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Keeping Secrets in Azure DevOps

Kevin Chant has a secret:

In this post I want to cover how you can keep your Azure Synapse secrets secret in Azure DevOps. Because you need to do this if you are working with production deployments.

With this in mind, I want to raise more awareness about it and make sure others avoid putting secrets directly in their pipelines like in the below example.

Read on to understand what options are available to you. My preference involves Key Vault references but there are alternatives available.

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SQL Audit for STIG Compliance

Tracy Boggiano has proof of existence:

Recently I spent months of my lift working on STIG and CIS compliance at my job and one of those tasks was setting up SQL Audit for STIG.  Now, that might seem like a trivial task after all don’t you just have to create an audit and audit specification and let it run.  If only it were that easy, some of the specifications can have a significant performance impact on your system depending on the type of activity happening and if you happened to lucky enough to have a monitoring software setup your will be logging even more data that doesn’t make sense to log.  In addition, on my system we are using SQL replication and that activity due to volume doesn’t make sense to log.  So, let’s walk through my setup and how I got there, the how I got there being the most important part so you can figure out how to use filters to setup a SQL audit that does that kill your performance.

Read on for the audit specification and server audit scripts, as well as some details on how to read from server audits.

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Securing Cloud-Native Applications

Samir Behara has some advice:

Enterprises are rapidly adopting cloud-native architectures and design patterns to help deliver business values faster, improve user experience, maintain a faster pace of innovation, and ensure high availability and scalability of their products. Cloud-native applications leverage modern practices like microservices architecture, containerization, DevOps, infrastructure-as-code, and automated CI/CD processes. 

Cloud-native application security is a cloud-first approach used to deploy applications securely at scale by embedding security into the software development lifecycle to detect vulnerabilities earlier. This article will walk through the critical challenges of cloud-native application security, demonstrate how to build security into the CI/CD pipeline, and introduce the core practices of cloud-native security.

This stays at a fairly high level but provides good information to act as a starting point for deeper research.

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Role-Based Access Controls in Redshift

Milind Oke, et al, describe RBAC in Amazon Redshift:

Amazon Redshift is a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud. With Amazon Redshift, you can analyze all your data to derive holistic insights about your business and your customers. One of the challenges with security is that enterprises don’t want to have a concentration of superuser privileges amongst a handful of users. Instead, enterprises want to design their overarching security posture based on the specific duties performed via roles and assign these elevated privilege roles to different users. By assigning different privileges to different roles and assigning these roles to different users, enterprises can have more granular control of elevated user access.

In this post, we explore the role-based access control (RBAC) features of Amazon Redshift and how you can use roles to simplify managing privileges required to your end-users. We also cover new system views and functions introduced alongside RBAC.

Read on to learn about system-defined roles as well as creating user-customizable roles.

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Thinking Azure Data Platform Security Architecture

Craig Porteous begins a new series:

Reference architectures are great! You’ve got all of the key components in there, nice and clear. Colourful lines showing how data moves through each stage, product, or service. Great for a slide deck or a proposal to get rid of that old creaking data warehouse and into a shiny new Data Lakehouse.

Not so great for the finer details demanded by security operations teams however.

This promises to be an interesting series.

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Reviewing SQL Server Logins

Lee Markum takes a look at logins:

You know you need to be thinking about SQL Server security, but maybe you’re not sure where to start. Topics like firewalls and ports and port scanners and such may be dancing your mind. Those are good things to think about, but they are not under your sphere of influence as a data professional in charge of SQL Server. So, what can you do?

Your first place to start is by looking at the Logins, which as I’ve explained in a previous  post, are at the level of the SQL Server instance level.

Read on for two approaches.

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Replacing PWDENCRYPT with HASHBYTES

Randolph West does a switcharoo:

Dave is referring to the Microsoft Docs page for PWDENCRYPT(), which has been deprecated for some time. Unfortunately, although the recommended replacement is HASHBYTES(), there isn’t an example on either page of how to replicate the functionality of PWDENCRYPT().

So, borrowing from Sebastian Meine who wrote an article titled Hash Algorithms – How does SQL Server store Passwords?, this is how you can replicate the functionality of PWDENCRYPT() to create a login, using the HASHBYTES() function instead:

If this is what you have, so be it…but an algorithm like bcrypt or scrypt would be so much better for this purpose than SHA2 or SHA3. That means using a third party library for it but there are plenty for React, .NET, Python, etc.

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