Database security, and data protection, are stringently regulated. Although the law struggles to keep up with the constant changes of an evolving digital world, there are regulations in force which demand certain standards from any business with an online component. Users across the globe expect their privacy to be taken seriously and modern commerce must reflect this wish. If your company has an online component, then you must consider database security as a priority.
Examples of recent regulatory changes
In the EU, regulations pertaining to database security and data collection have been completely overhauled. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on May 25, 2018, places onerous new burdens on companies which collect and store data involving customers or vendors based in the EU. These Regulations have, as a result, affected businesses the world over.
In Australia, we have the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme (NDB), which affects reporting requirements and penalties for data breaches including loss, unauthorised access or unauthorised use. Although this scheme doesn’t affect businesses with annual turnovers under $3 million, the global trend is clearly towards enhanced regulation.
That’s why it’s critical that you understand your database security requirements.
What is database security?
As a general rule now, if your company collects any data about customers, suppliers, or the wider community, it is stored on a database somewhere. This data may be sensitive and private, and can be subject to strict privacy agreements including those referred to above. For example, your customers may provide you with an email address, postal address, and phone number when they purchase something from you. However, if this data is accessed without authority, sold to third parties, or otherwise misused, you could be subject to strict legal action from the people whose privacy has been compromised.
Basically, database security is any form of security used to protect databases and the information they contain from compromise. Examples of how stored data can be protected include:
- Software – software is used to ensure that people can’t gain access to the database through viruses, hacking, or any similar process.
- Physical controls – an example of a physical component of database security could be the constant monitoring of the database by company personnel to allow them to identify any potential weaknesses and/or compromises.
- Administrative controls – this refers to things like the use of passwords, restricting the access of certain people to certain parts of the database, or blocking the access of some company personnel altogether.
Why is database security important?
Database security is more than just important: it is essential to any company with any online component. Sufficient database security prevents data bring lost or compromised, which may have serious ramifications for the company both in terms of finances and reputation. Database security helps:
- Company’s block attacks, including ransomware and breached firewalls, which in turn keeps sensitive information safe.
- Prevent malware or viral infections which can corrupt data, bring down a network, and spread to all end point devices.
- Ensure that physical damage to the server doesn’t result in the loss of data.
- Prevent data loss through corruption of files or programming errors.
As you will see, database security places an obligation on you and your business to keep sensitive data stored correctly, and used appropriately. Complying with regulations and the applicable law not only reduces the risk of information being mishandled, but it protects you from both costly legal ramifications and lost customer confidence. Investment in Database security will ensure you have done your due diligence in terms of data protection.