Welcome!

Ruby-On-Rails Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Hovhannes Avoyan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, Linux Containers, Ruby-On-Rails

@BigDataExpo: Blog Post

Five Security Features of RDBMS That Help Enterprises

The use of relational databases for storing certain unstructured documents have been recently challenged

Security Strength Of  Relational Databases: Over the  years relational  databases  have been highly  successful  in protecting  the  enterprise  data.  Their  inherent  features  like  role based security,  GRANTS    and  coupled  with  the  fact  that  some one  needs  to  have    a  high knowledge of  the  database  design  itself  to  really  decipher  meaning  out of  a  relational  database.

Unrelated  to  the  above  statement, we  have  seen  a   huge  attack  on   large media enterprise   last month  resulted  in the compromise  of   several  of   confidential  documents  which  are  now  roaming  freely in the public  domain.  While  this  article  is  nothing  about  who has done  it  and  why  they have done it,   it  is  more  about  how    old  school  thoughts  on    Relational  database  design  could  keep  a  company  in a safe zone  even  after   the  network  is  hacked.

Over  the  last  couple of years,    the  usage  of  Relational  databases  for  storing  certain unstructured  documents  have  been  challenged  and    some  architectures  moved  towards  file  system  based  storage  like  ,  HDFS,  Amazon S3,  GFS, Azure BLOB  etc.. While  the  above  mentioned  file systems  are good  for  scalability,  performance  in a  few  situations,  we  cannot  discount  the  value  of  relational databases  in  securely  storing  the  data  and  ensure  that  an  hacker   will not  gain  the  semantics  of  the  data  so  easily  even  if the physical  network   and  server security  are compromised.

The  following  are  some  of  the  points  in  support of this  argument.

RDBMS  Design Is Complex: Most  of  the  File  system  based  approaches  deal  with hierarchical  storage  and  they  don't  do  normalization,  which  means  while  there is  some  efficiency  in  data  storage   they  are  also compromised  much easier.  Let  us consider  a  HR  Database  about  CEO Bonus  for  the  last  year.

In the  file  system  storage.

/Year/Bonuses/Corporate/CEO.xxx.

Consider  a  typical  and  well  thought  out  DB  Design.

Employee Table  (EmpId,......).

Code Table  (Compensation Code  (BONUS)).

Then  the  Transaction  table  which  may  link   Emp Id,  Compensation Code,  and  Value.

Also  if   IT  departments  take  conscious  decision   not  to  use  Friendly  names  for  the  tables  and avoid  foreign  keys  inside  the  database,  i.e   name  the  tables  like T00001(F1, F2...)  instead of  EMPLOYEE_BONUS,  and  don't keep the  metadata  documentation inside the  database,  then  it would be almost  impossible  for any one from  outside to  hack this information,  even  when  given  a   access to the  database.

There is  always  a  trade  off  between  keeping  a  friendly  names  and  meta data  inside the  database  versus  keeping them totally outside  else  where inside a  development  repository,  most  enterprises  would  be  OK  if  a  Developer  struggles  couple  of  days  more  in writing  a  query  versus   compromising  all of their   data  to a  hacker.

RBBMS Storage Is Proprietary: One  of  the  advantages  of  commercial  databases  like Oracle , DB2, SQL Server  etc..  is  that  their  internal  architecture  is  highly  proprietary  making  it difficult for other  third party tools  to  decipher  meaning  out  of  them.  For  example  the  above  databases  support CLOB,  BLOB  storage  types  which are typically  used  for  storing  large  amount  of  character and binary  data,  this  means  that  these  data  can  only  be understood  by  an  application  written specifically  for  them  and    most  times    it  is  not  easily  shared  with the  outside  world  like  the  file  system  based documents  that  are shared  freely  in  the  case  of  recent hack.

Additionally  most  databases  also  support  Encryption  features,  which  makes  deciphering  the  data outside  of  database context  very difficult.  For  example   the  below  are  the  notes  about  Transparent Database Encryption  feature in SQL Server.

Transparent data encryption (TDE) performs real-time I/O encryption and decryption of the data and log files. The encryption uses a database encryption key (DEK), which is stored in the database boot record for availability during recovery. The DEK is a symmetric key secured by using a certificate stored in the master database of the server or an asymmetric key protected by an EKM module. TDE protects data "at rest", meaning the data and log files. It provides the ability to comply with many laws, regulations, and guidelines established in various industries. This enables software developers to encrypt data by using AES and 3DES encryption algorithms without changing existing applications.

RDBMS Security is De-Coupled  From OS, Network: Most  times  it  is  the  network  and  server  security  are compromised  first  before  the database  is  conquered.  In  a  good  RDBMS  design  even  the DBAs  can  be  prevented  from  accessing  the  data, if  they  are  carefully abstracted  with the role  based  security,  fine  grained  access control  and  other  features like  views.  This  means  that  the  data  can  fully  secured  even  if  the   network  and  server  are compromised.  Having  said  that  most places  there is a  OS LEVEL  authentication  which  gives   complete  control  of  database,  but  if  thought  out  well,  this  link can  be de-coupled  and  make  your  enterprise  data  more  secure.

RDBMS Are Audited: Most  hacks  don't  happen  in  one  hour  or  even one  day,   it  is  a  fact  that  once  hackers    gain  control  of the  system  they spend  some time in navigating  between  servers  and  data  to ensure  that  they  get what  they  wanted.  Leading  RDBMS like  Oracle, SQL & DB2 have  rich  auditing  features  that  we  can  even  track  whether  a particular  column  is queried  from  certain tables.  For  example  if  there is  a  credit  card  number  column  we can audit for  any  access outside of the application  and  immediately  alert  the  entire  system  about  it,  which  may    help  in  avoiding  the   hacking  activity  to continue  for  all the sensitive  data.

The  below  are  some  notes  from  Fine  grained  Auditing  in  Sql  Server.  The example creates a database audit specification called Audit_Pay_Tables that audits SELECT and INSERT statements by the dbo user, for the HumanResources.

CREATE DATABASE AUDIT SPECIFICATION Audit_Pay_Tables

FOR SERVER AUDIT Payrole_Security_Audit

ADD (SELECT , INSERT

ON HumanResources.EmployeePayHistory BY dbo )

WITH (STATE = ON) ;

Similar   features  are  available  in Oracle  and  DB2  databases  also.

RDBMS Are Protected Against Human Errors: If  we  have  noticed  the  hack  story,  there  was  also  threat  to  delete  the  data  completely  after  is  stolen. This  is  even  a worse situation because  not  only  the  data  is compromised  but  it  is  no longer available  also.   While  the  backup  policies  can  help  in this,  it  would  be  still better  if  the   data analysts  can  go  back in  time  after  a   hack & delete  has happened to figure  out the  real  state as it exists before the  hack has happened.

Leading  RDBMS like  Oracle  has  got   a  concept  of  flashback  database   that  let   to view the past  states of  database  or   to return  database objects  to a  previous  state.  SQL Server  too has a  snapshot  concept  which  is  more  or  less   provide  this functionality.

This feature  cannot  be implemented in  a file system  which does  not  support  transactional  integrity.

Summary: While  there  is some  merit  in terms  of   scalability , performance  and  TCO perspective  in   tempting   the enterprises  to  utilize  file  system  based  storage  ,  however  it  has to  be considered  from  case  by  case  basis  and  any  mission  critical  data  is  highly  secured  when  gets  stored  in a  relational  database  with  proper design principles  behind  them.  After  all the  cost  of  a   hack  and  subsequent  loss  of  face  is  much bigger than  the licensing  costs  these  proven RDBMS  may  incur.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

@ThingsExpo Stories
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that App2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. App2Cloud is an online Platform, specializing in migrating legacy applications to any Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infrastructure throu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...