A database security checklist defines a list of actions for database administrators (DBAs) to take to protect an organization’s databases from unauthorized access. It should also include specific steps DBAs can take to minimize damage caused in the event of a data breach.
Database security checklists usually cover several different areas of security, starting with physical safeguards such as gated buildings, keycards, and biometrics. From there, other sections of a checklist might include personnel guidelines, installation procedures, configuration steps, communication protocols, backup, encryption, and maintenance.
Depending on the type of database and how it’s managed, a database security checklist may be created by the database administrator, by a database management system (DBMS) vendor, or by a third-party educational institution or non-profit organization.
For example, Oracle is the creator of a popular DBMS, Oracle Database, and it provides a free ebook about database security. Likewise, the University of California Berkeley Information Security Office also publishes free educational content on cybersecurity, which includes security best practices and checklists for database management.
Any organization that works with databases and has a dedicated database administrator should use a database security checklist to ensure sensitive information remains as safe as possible. Smaller organizations that typically outsource database administration responsibilities to third-party companies should also perform due diligence in making sure a partner follows security best practices.
Failure to do so can result in accidental or intentional data leaks by internal or external actors. This can lead to undesired outcomes such as disruption of business processes or, in the case of a data breach, costly lawsuits. Ransomware attacks are an increasingly relevant threat to company databases that can be even more expensive for organizations that don’t properly secure their databases.