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IOUG Database Security Survey Highlights Challenges

An annual survey released recently by the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) highlights the successes and failures of database security.

An annual survey released recently by the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) highlights the successes and failures of database security.

The survey, which was performed by Unisphere Research, included responses from 353 IOUG database security managers, database administrators and others and was sponsored by Oracle. The full survey is only available to IOUG members; however an executive summary is available here

According to the survey, while enterprises are increasing funding to deal with risks to data, efforts to protect databases are failing short in key areas. While the majority of respondents view human error (81 percent) and insider attacks (65 percent) as the greatest risks to enterprise data, many indicated they have relatively few protections in place to guard against accidental or intentional staff abuse.

Many respondents also reported concerns about abuse of privileges by IT staff (54 percent), as well as malicious code and viruses in their systems (53 percent). Still, almost 40 percent of those surveyed admitted to not knowing which of their databases had sensitive or regulated information, and 71 percent either lacked safeguards to combat accidental harm to database and applications or were unsure if there were safeguards in place.

“This survey is a powerful tool for both learning and educating, putting a fine point on the key security issues that keep superhero DBAs and their management awake at night,” said John Matelski, president of the IOUG, in a statement. “Exercising extreme data security diligence and data breach readiness is no longer an optional concern but rather a cost of doing business.”

Just 18 percent of respondents encrypt data at rest on all their databases. In addition, only 46 percent of said they were redacting sensitive application data. Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents admitted to using copies of production data for test and development, and 41 percent said they have three or more copies of production data.

“We are in the age of mega-breaches—where breaches in the millions are becoming commonplace,” said Vipin Samar, vice president of database security at Oracle, in a statement. “For most organizations, it’s no longer a matter of if an attack will occur, but when. This survey highlights that many enterprises lack proper database security controls, and under the current heightened threat environment, they simply cannot afford to wait. It’s more important than ever for organizations to have actionable data security strategies in place to properly manage sensitive customer and organizational data.”

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