Do you know who all access your most critical company and customer data? Do you have any procedure in place to ensure that only authorized access to your data is permitted? Are there any alerts set if any external party tries to access or tamper with your data sets? How do you ensure that those who access the data are granted access? Under which situations do you deny access to someone from accessing the data?
There are many questions to be asked and answered satisfactorily if you are keen on protecting your sensitive and critical enterprise data. To protect your data effectively, an organization should have a strict and foolproof access control policy, which must effectively address all the above questions. Here, we discuss some of the basic aspects of ensuring a proper access control mechanism, what it is, why it is important, and how to ensure proper database security.
The approach of proper database access control
Access control ensures that the users who have appropriate privileges as specified only gain access to the company data. At a higher level, access control is a selective restriction model to access data. Access control consists of two major components as authorization and authentication.
- Authentication: It is the access mode used to verify that someone is who they claim to be. However, authentication is not fully sufficient to protect data access. What is needed to ensure end-to-end protection is an additional layer of protection, which is authorization.
- Authorization determines whether a user needs to be allowed access to data or execute the transactions they are attempting to do.
Without authorization and authentication, you cannot ensure data security to its fullest. In each data breach attempt, access is among the primary policies investigated. Whether it be a simple inadvertent exposure to sensitive data that is not securely properly by the end-users, access control is still a key component to ensure data privacy. If not properly implement and maintained, the result of this careless approach can be catastrophic.
Any organization where the employees connect to the internet or other internal or external networks needs to be compliant with any data access control level by default. There is no such organization now where is no computer or internet connectivity. This means all types of organizations need to have a proper data security plan in place. This is especially true in the case of businesses that have employees working at different geographical locations.
In the times of the global pandemic, many of the people are in work from home, which makes data security an even more important topic to be addressed. For any support regarding data security and remote database administration, you can approach RemoteDBA, which offers reliable and higher-end database administration services to enterprises of all sizes.
Access mining – another fine reason to have access control in place
Gathering and selling of the access descriptors are very common in the dark web. For example, the latest report from Carbon Black shows that how Smominru, a crypto mining botnet, had mined sensitive information like IP addresses, usernames, passwords, and other identification details of cryptocurrency transactors on the web. The report says that it is highly plausible that these hackers sell such information on the access marketplace to those who do not want to launch such attacks independently.
These kinds of access marketplaces on the dark web provide an easy way for cybercriminals or even business competitors to purchase access to business systems and organizational data. The same report says that there are credentials for sale on such access marketplaces at an average cost of $6.75 per each credential. It is evident that the cybercriminals are largely making use of these avenues by targeting their soft-spot enterprise databases, which do not have any access control mechanisms in place.
Key considerations for access control
Most of the experienced security professionals fully understand the criticality of access to their organization systems. But not everyone is aware of or agrees to the ways to how access control needs to be enforced. Proper access control demands enforcement of consistently updated policies in a dynamic world of technology changes without setting any traditional borders. As most modern-day enterprises work in hybrid database environments where data tends to move from on-premise to cloud, there are hotels, homes, and even coffee shops with wi-fi access. Having a comprehensive control of access control is challenging.
In the beginning, the access control methodologies remained very static. However, now network access needs to be more fluidic and dynamic, supporting application and identity-based use cases too for access control. Based on the available technologies and possible access requirements, organizations can now adopt dynamic access control models to evade the risk factors.
For access control implementation, enterprises must first ensure that their access control is ideally supported across all their cloud assets and business applications. They should also be able to migrate access into a virtual environment like a private cloud smoothly. Access control rules for an organization must keep on changing based on changing risk factors and threats. To comply with this need, organizations need to deploy various security analytics layers by using machine learning and AI capabilities layers using to sit on top of the existing two-dimensional security configurations. One also needs to check out and identify the threats involved in real-time data management and automate access control rules as per its functioning.
Various types of access controls
- Discretionary access control (DAC) – Data owner decides whom to access the data and who is not.
- Mandatory access control (MAC) is based on a nondiscretionary model, where the people are granted accesses based on information clearance. MAC is a policy with access rights and is assigned based on a unique central authority’s regulations.
- Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) grants access based on user roles and not based on the people. There is a scope or restricted database access to the bare minimum to ensure the work-related data access privileges for each role.
- Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) –Each user and resource in ABAC, each resource and user are assigned a series of attributes as location, time, and preferences, etc. In this dynamic mode of access control, a comparative assessment of the attributes is done.
There is also a wide range of technologies that support different access models. You can try out multiple technologies to ensure the optimum desired level of data access control in many cases.