Information management requires increasingly efficient tools. The information that a company manages is so much that a simple spreadsheet is no longer enough. The same is true when it comes to the protection of the data it houses. That is why database auditing is a practice that should be present in the tasks of any organization that has one, of whatever size it may be.
In this article we will tell you everything you need to know to carry out the best audit: from its definition and importance to how to do it and with what software (because without a doubt a good selection of tools will make the task much easier and faster).
What is a database audit?
It is a process with which a company verifies and guarantees that the management of the data it has in its system is free from security threats, flaws or mishandling of information. Through a series of activities, it makes transparent the use that is given to the database, what type of information it has and who can access it.
It is also possible to know the devices used to access and their locations: from where the database was entered, the permissions that users have, the way in which they were modified in each movement, and so on.
Regardless of the size of the information stored, database auditing is a review that every organization is required to do. Above all to comply with current protocols (depending on the territory where the company is located) that are responsible for protecting the handling of sensitive information of people.
The importance of a database audit
In addition to the security that we mentioned above, we can mention that this practice is important because:
- Reduces the risks of data mishandling.
- Avoid data leakage.
- It prevents crashes in the system if it is identified in time where it was corrupted.
- It keeps criminal, internal or external behavior at bay.
- Detect vulnerabilities.
- It guarantees that the information is used only for the objectives established by the company and approved by the laws in force.
- Protects the applications or tools that are fed with the database.
To do a database audit it is necessary to have a person or team responsible for carrying it out. It can be internal or external to the company (depending on the size of the information that is managed) and with the support of software that facilitates the process and classification of data and activity records. Although each company will have different objectives, personnel and tools, we can summarize the steps of an audit of this type in 5 steps that we describe below.
How to do a database audit?
- Set objectives and verify the type of data management.
- Collect information.
- Detect incidents or irregular activities.
- See previous database audits.
- Make a detailed report.
1. Set objectives and verify the type of data management
As with all projects that are expected to be completed successfully, it is necessary to establish a purpose. Although the database audit is a practice that must be carried out at least once a year, it is most likely that it will also be carried out for a particular issue, either due to an incident that violated the information, due to a change in information. personnel in charge of its management or because the base increased considerably in the last quarter. If the latter is the case, it is likely that there is a mismatch in the classification and organization of the data, so it is better to ensure that everything is in order.
When we talk about verifying the management of the data, we mean that you are sure that there is an internal regulation that explains how the information that you keep in your database is obtained, what is the data that they handle, who handles it and what are their permissions current and what they are used for. Along with that, you must have a document that guarantees that you follow the guidelines of the data protection laws of the place where you operate, in order to verify that you do not break any statute.
2. Collect information
Here it will be necessary that you plan interviews with the personnel in charge of the database, that you carry them out and that the auditor or auditors know the data collection and management procedures to be able to make a comparison with what is on paper and what is they will find in practice.
3. Detect incidents or irregular activities
During the entire procedure it will be important that you record in writing all the steps to follow, and of course everything that does not correspond to the legal statutes and good practices. We refer to aspects such as the way in which the information is classified, the transparency of accesses and actions carried out in the database. In this way, it will be easy to locate attempts to steal information or incomplete capture processes that can later turn into a delicate crisis.
4. Check previous database audits
This way you will be able to guarantee that incidents or vulnerabilities have not been repeated, as well as confirm that the people in charge of these tasks have mastered the task without errors. In short, previous database audits will help you create a better picture; Even to record the increase in the size of the information that is stored or to draw valuable conclusions about the performance of the tools, consulting the historical data is essential.
5. Make a detailed report
Information is one of the most valuable assets of companies, no matter what industry you belong to or how much you depend on it for your business; therefore a cursory report may be quicker to complete, but will definitely not add value in the long run. It is important that you include in detail the irregularities that were found, what can be improved, what could be the solutions and the successes that are a good idea to continue replicating.
Now we present you with a selection of software that will help you perform this type of audit.
5 database monitoring and auditing software
Redgate solutions are classified by the industry you are looking for (such as finance, service providers, healthcare) or also by need (standardized development for equipment, monitor performance and availability, protect and preserve data, among others). Help categorize, backup and connect your database to your control system; it also has compatibility with Oracle.
IDERA can make a performance report, management based on established policies, guarantee the quality of the data and protections that guarantee the security of your data. It is ideal to start designing the database or optimizing the existing one, both on the company’s physical computer equipment and in the cloud. If you hire it, you have access to a community that helps you use it to its full potential and to specialized technical support.
Its mission is to simplify database auditing, and one of its most valuable tools is that it helps to verify that its users comply with the data protection regulations of different entities. Automate auditing on files, folders, and servers; allows you to customize reports to deliver up-to-date information on the status of the information and allows you to manage the access of your team as well as the permissions it has authorized from a single site.
Developed by CaseWare Analytics, IDEA has more than a hundred tasks related to database auditing that will be very useful to you. You will have the possibility to detect patterns in the information, create reports with graphs that allow a better understanding of the data and share them with third parties (such as Tableau, MS Excel, ODBC); so you can easily detect irregularities.
Quest has Foglight for database administration. It allows you to manage all the bases to which your company has access from a single console and the best thing is that it is created for hybrid environments (physical equipment and the cloud). You will be able to detect performance problems before they become a hindrance for users, it will give you rich historical data and it will also give you access to a historical overview that will help you better understand the incidents you have.
After this guide, remember that despite the effort an audit will help you keep the protection of your database as secure as if it were your own personal data.