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Database Security

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Database security has been the most disturbing task bearing in mind that any data security system has limitations and bugs. It is due to the fact that any database security system can be configured and cracked, resulting to massive damage to an organization’s reputation. Such cases of sabotage have been reported in several organizations, and most of them are inside job arrangements. Therefore, database protection should be fully effective since a single crack in a system can allow hacking and the protected data are at a threat. The attacker can inspect packets and decompile codes in a bid to gain access to the data. Authentication is seen as the best method to data security. This is the use of methods such as tokens, passwords, smart cards, digital certificates, biometrics, SSI, and PKI (Natan, 2005). Such methods authorize the user to apply a limited amount of resources. Data security administrators focus on integrating the administration and management of privileges and permissions. There are system software products that allow the user to access multiple applications and resources through a single point of ingress. One of such methods is firewall.

Firewall is a security system that hardens corporate network perimeter to protect important information in connections such as extranets and internet. This is achieved using multiple security domains. This ensures that only authorized users can gain access to the corporate network. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are used together with firewalls in bridging remote offices, thus allowing workers to access the company’s intranets. According to Natan (2005), VPNs are flexible in that they allow users to work from any places such as from home or while travelling. They can also be used in remote offices and, at the same time, access the corporate network securely. Although firewalls provide a defense to a system, they are somehow not effective unless intrusion prevention and detection are done. This helps in addressing and detecting threats within the network perimeter as well as the intranets, inspecting the communication lines and patterns intensively, which are liable to attack. In addition, patch management and assessing the vulnerability are essential. This helps in the auditing of the applications and servers comparing them with vulnerabilities and flaws. This process hardens the infrastructure and improves the configurations.

Security has become a major concern; thus, security management is becoming a mandatory task to all companies in a bid to secure confidential information. Software products are designed to manage the security system and centralize important information in a single point of access. One of such software is the Security Information Management that helps in aggregating information, data correlation, and reporting. Data is not prone only to users but also to malware. A malware is a malicious code such as viruses, Trojans, and worms (Natan, 2005). Malware can lead to malfunctioning of the system; and thus, its security becomes a risk. Antivirus is the best and most visible security product in protecting the security system. In addition to antivirus, other technologies filter information helping the user to control the content that is traversing the networks. For instance, filtering of e-mails provides system security through prevention of spam and inspection of content, thus preventing distribution of restricted materials to the unauthorized users.

Databases are very complex and specialized systems. Communication within this system uses SQL which is a complex procedure where it uses generic software like generic IPSs, Firewalls, and Intrusion detection systems (IDSs). It is just a partial system protection (Natan, 2005). IDS collect data from different sensors within networks and computers and analyze it to indicate security breaches. They go together with firewalls in detection of signatures and patterns rather than security rules (Natan, 2005). They are able to detect a wide variety of events before a decision is made. Database security is looked at both market and ownership points of view. The reason is that this application keeps on evolving and the system attackers’ keeps on upgrading their malicious technologies to gain access to such a system. Application security is crucial to applications such as web pages. This system recognizes URLS, HTTP, HTML, and cookies as well as providing assessment of vulnerabilities and application firewall (Natan, 2005).

According to Raj (n.d.), security management in Information Technology consists of four pillars. These include confidentiality, availability, integrity, and authenticity. Confidentiality pillar ensures that information is only accessed by authorized persons and protects such information from being accessed by any unauthorized user. Availability pillar ensures that information should be always available to the intended user when it is required. The system should as well defend the available information against attackers. Integrity pillar ensures that information must be accurate, complete, and protected from the hackers. Authenticity pillar falls in enterprise and partners trustworthy as afar as information security is concerned.

Raj (n.d.) states that various organizations differ in their security pillar requirements. For instance, in comparison between military and learning institution needs, confidentiality pillar is used in the military to safeguard information regarding the coordination of missiles, which should not be disclosed to the public. On the other hand, in a learning institution, confidentiality is used to safeguard information regarding student information such as transcripts to any unauthorized user. In military, integrity ensures that coordination of missile targets is conducted accurately while in learning institutions, student information such as transcripts must be correct. In military, availability pillar ensures that missiles should be launched when commanded, while in learning institutions, student information should be available anytime it is needed.

In every organization, achieving security is a key target which is a difficult task to attain. As observed by Raj (n.d.), to achieve this, policies are put in place that governs the use of security systems within an organization. Rules, statement of laws, and practices are laid down to monitor how an organization protects, manages. and distributes its crucial information. Security mechanisms should be protected and assurance of how effective the protection is given. There are different types of protection mechanisms. These include preventive mechanism, forensic mechanism, recovery mechanism, and mixed detection/protection mechanism (Raj, n.d.). Preventive mechanism is used to control machine attacks and limits access privilege. Forensic mechanism detects auditing, logging, and intrusion detection while recovery mechanism is involved in attacking and repairing of damage assessment. Mixed detection/protection prevents login after various attempts of password failure.

Protection mechanisms are implemented in several ways such as software and hardware mechanisms, physical and administrative mechanisms. Software mechanisms ensure authorization, which involves protection against malicious and accidental damages by regulating writes/ execution/reads of programs and data. As observed by Raj (n.d.), authorization requires correct user identification which means that information on access rights are not adjustable. Authorization management involves the overall decentralization and centralization administration where management works in a hierarchy manner. That is from security officer – to department administrator – to local administrator.

Authorization management can also be ownership based where data owner can allow others to access data. It can also be cooperative where a group of users has access to the data. Access authorization consists of four specifications namely: data dependence, time dependence, history dependence, and context dependence. Data dependence limits on accessed data value while time dependence limits the duration of accessibility time. Context dependence limits the combination of data that are accessible, and history dependence constraints on data that have been previously accessed. 

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