Top steps during the implementation of a project related to Database Security

1.As most of the times, application developers or persons implementing the applications also work as database administrators, it is important that database administration is handled by different persons in the team. For bigger projects, you should have a separate database team. This helps on most of the occasions to have better control on database management and related changes.

2.To prepare a check-list of database security which is very critical for the success of any implementation. Some of the critical issues, which require attention, are as follows:

  • to have strong password policy and users with proper roles
  • all default database users, passwords, roles & settings should be disabled
  • enabling of auditing of database
  • secured remote log-in settings   
  • implementation of latest security patches

3.Database design and also, the design of the entire application & system infrastructure should be given priority while initiating any project with large & critical database. 

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Top implementation mistakes or learning while implementing projects related to the above domain

Some of the critical areas, which are ignored, are as follows:

  1. Access controls are not properly defined during the initial stage and the same continues in the future in production environment
  2. Vulnerability assessment and compliance are given low priority during implementation stage and hence, it becomes a critical issue at a later stage
  3. Always it is better to have a separate UAT area for the database, so that the production area is never compromised or impacted during testing/ changes/ etc.
  4. It is always advisable to have a documented change management process in place for any database related changes
  5. Database monitoring and auditing should be given due importance as these steps will be helpful in the long run
  6. Before going live with critical projects, it is advisable to have a database vulnerability assessment carried out and all major observations are plugged in

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Top challenges faced during such implementation

a. Database encryption and secured communication channel for database access

b. Due to time constraint, most of the times database are not properly deployed and this comes up after going live

c. Segregation of duties between database administrator & power users

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Top parameters based on which the success of a project should be measured

a. Performance of the application on various aspects and less number of database deployment issues

b. Less number of changes at database level after going live

c. flexibility in terms of new requirements and changes as required in the application, which depends on the database design & deployment

- By Subhojit Roy, Head - IT, SBI Funds Management

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