Data Governance VI (Protecting Database)

Data Governances encompasses preventing issues with data, so that the enterprise can become more efficient. Most organizations have formal policies that govern how and when privileged users such as database administrators, help desk members, and outsourced personnel can access database systems. But (There is always a BUT!), organizations do not always have effective mechanisms to monitor, control, and audit the actions of these privileged users. To make matters worse, accountability is difficult to achieve because privileged users often share the credentials used to access database systems.

Monitoring privileged users helps ensure Data Governance in the following ways:

  • Data privacy—Monitoring ensures that only authorized applications and users are viewing sensitive data.
  • Database change control—Monitoring ensures that critical database structures and values are not being changed outside of corporate change control procedures.
  • Protection against external attacks—A successful, targeted attack frequently results in the attacker gaining privileged user access. For example, an outsider in Timbuktu might look like an insider because he has authenticated access, until you look at other identifying information such as the user’s location.

An organization will want to track all database changes to the following:

  • Database structures such as tables, triggers, and stored procedures. For example, the organization will want to detect accidental deletions or insertions in critical tables that affect the quality of business decisions.
  • Critical data values such as data that affects the integrity of fi nancial transactions.
  • Security and access control objects such as users, roles, and permissions. For example, an outsourced contractor might create a new user account with unfettered access to critical databases and then delete the entire account, eliminating all traces of her activity.
  • Database configuration files and other external objects, such as environment/registry variables, confi guration files (e.g., NAMES.ORA), shell scripts, OS fi les, and executables such as Java. programs.

Solution
IBM InfoSphere Guardium Database Activity Monitor offers a solution that creates a continuous, fine-grained audit trail of all database activities, including the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how” of each transaction. This audit
trail is continuously analyzed and filtered in real-time, to identify unauthorized or suspicious activities. To enforce separation of duties, all audit data is stored in a secure, tamper-proof repository external to monitored databases.

IBM InfoSphere Guardium Database Activity Monitor’s solution has a minimal impact on database performance and does not require any changes to databases or applications. IBM InfoSphere Guardium Database Activity Monitor also enables an organization to automate the time-consuming process of tracking all observed database changes and reconciling them with authorized work orders within existing change-ticketing systems, such as BMC Remedy and custom change management applications. For example, a large financial institution set up an automated change-reconciliation process with IBM InfoSphere Guardium Database Activity Monitor.

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