Lock the Safe—Secure the DatabaseNov 14, 2019 / Posted By:Robert Buda
You are going away on a much-needed vacation to Aruba. You will only be gone for a week. But you understand the importance of security, so you make sure you lock the windows and doors. You put the lights on a timer so would-be thieves think there is some activity in the house. You cancel the newspaper so they won’t be piling up outside and you ask your neighbor to watch the house in case he sees anything unusual.
Before you leave, you go to the bedroom where you keep the safe. All of your important papers are in there, and that watch that Dad left you, and your wife’s favorite earrings. Oh, and that brooch from Grandma. Not really your wife’s style but she would never part with it because Grandma was her favorite.
You grab some cash and the passports out of the safe, and you start to lock it up… But whenever you close it up, it is always such a pain to remember the combination, and you have to turn that knob so many times before you get it right. Besides, you locked all the doors and windows, and you have your neighbor watching the house. The perimeter is secure. So is there really any need to lock the safe?
You have made arrangements for your nephew Tommy to walk your yellow lab Miles while you are gone. Tommy is such a fine young man and always willing to help.
The Double Trouble
Tommy hits a double down the first base line the day after you leave and breaks his ankle sliding into second. Tommy asks his friend Joey to walk Miles for him, because it’s hard to walk a dog on crutches.
He hasn’t mentioned it to Tommy, but Joey has been losing at the poker table lately. He borrowed a couple of thousand from that guy Rocco down the street, and took it to the tables thinking his luck would turn around. But now he’s just deeper in debt, and he doesn’t know how he will ever pay back that much money.
When Joey opens your front door with Tommy’s key, he walks in and sees the beautiful furnishings in your home. He walks upstairs and peeks in the bedroom. He sees the safe, walks over and tries the handle. He thinks “How lucky am I?” as the door swings open. Seeing all of the cash that you left in the safe, Joey thinks, “If this money was really important to them, they would have locked the safe.” After grabbing the cash, the brooch and the watch catch his eye and he can’t help himself. He grabs it all and closes the safe, not worrying for the moment what happens when you get home. At least he can get Rocco off his back.
Of course, you would never really do this! You would be crazy to leave valuables in an open safe just because you locked your windows and doors. You know that securing the perimeter is not good enough. Right?
But this is exactly what many IT groups are doing every day. They spend lots of time and money securing their network’s perimeter. But they neglect the security of the safe holding all of their jewels—the database.
By strongly securing the database (locking the safe), you can protect your data assets from bad actors who get through the perimeter security. This may be hackers who break things for fun, criminals intent on gathering data they can sell or exploit, or disgruntled employees who didn’t even have to break through the perimeter in the first place.
The Action Plan
Don’t leave your safe open! Your database has many vulnerabilities just waiting for a guy like Joey to find. Have a thorough security assessment performed today, take action, and make sure Joey goes home empty-handed.