As we move into 2022, it’s essential to look at the latest security risks and how to mitigate them. One of the most common attack vectors is SQL injection, which continues to be a popular way for hackers to gain access to sensitive data.
This blog post will outline eleven steps you can take to secure your SQL Server security, installations, and protect your data. By following these tips, you can rest assured that your systems will be safe from malicious actors in the coming year. Let’s get into it.
1. Isolate the Database Server
The first step in securing SQL like Microsoft SQL server is to isolate the database users. It means creating a separate environment for your databases and ensuring that they are not connected to the internet. If possible, keep the database server on a different network than your business applications and other servers.
2. Tailor the DB Installation
When installing or upgrading your DB, be sure to download the latest service packs and security patches. To limit your exposure to vulnerabilities, download software only from official channels and only use the minimum necessary privileges required for installation.
3. Keep Database Updated
Make sure that you are always running on the latest version of SQL Server instance. By keeping your system updated, you can protect yourself against software bugs and security vulnerabilities, reducing or eliminating your risk of attack through SQL injection or ransomware attacks.
If possible, make patching a priority in your organization by scheduling automatic updates for crucial business applications, including SQL Server, at times when they won’t disrupt users or cause problems with other services that run on the server.
4. Restrict the DB Processes
Restricting access to critical processes is another crucial step in securing SQL. You can do this by configuring your firewall to limit access to the database server only from authorized IP addresses and by restricting access to the operating system and other applications running on the server. You can also use SQL server management studio or related SQL server tools in this regard.
5. Restrict SQL Traffic
One way to help secure your SQL Server databases is by restricting the amount of traffic that can access them. You can do this by limiting who can connect to the server and what kind of traffic is allowed. This will help to prevent unauthorized access and protect your data.
You can also restrict access to SQL traffic by implementing firewalls and intrusion detection systems that monitor for malicious activity. In addition, you can use application-level proxies to control access to specific applications and resources.
6. Use Least Privilege When Assigning Permissions
Giving users too many permissions can be dangerous, as they may access sensitive data they shouldn’t have access to. When assigning permissions, it’s essential to use the principle of least privilege, which means granting users only the permissions they need to do their job.
The least privilege is the concept of giving a user or group of users only those permissions that are necessary to accomplish their assigned task. This ensures that the damage will be limited and quickly discovered if those authenticated credentials fall into the wrong hands (or get accidentally deleted). The SQL server authentication for users is quite essential and you need to ensure transparent data encryption.
7. Set a Strong Admin Password
As with most systems, the administrator should have a strong and unique password to login for SQL server resources. This password should not be easily guessed and should be changed periodically.
It is essential to use strong login passwords. A strong password should be 8 characters long and include special characters, numbers, and letters. It should not contain your name or company name; if possible, it ought to be different from the domain administrator password (which you should know. You can use tools like password generators or the ones included in most Linux distributions or Microsoft’s Secure Password Creator to check whether your new passwords are valid.
8. Audit DB Logins
Regularly auditing DB logins is a good way to detect any suspicious activity. You can use tools to track login activity and see who is accessing your database. Use SQL server security best practices to protect SQL database servers.
It’s important to audit database logins regularly to ensure that only authorized users access your data. SQL Server offers several audit features that allow you to track login activity, failed logins, and more. You can use these features to help track who is accessing your data and whether they have the appropriate permissions.
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9. Secure Your Backups
Backups are an essential part of any disaster recovery plan, but they can also be used as an attack vector if not appropriately secured. It’s vital to secure your backups so that only authorized users can access them. This could mean encrypting the backup files, using restricted user accounts with permissions, or other similar methods.
10. Protect Against SQL Injection
Attackers are always on the lookout for stored vulnerabilities in applications and databases; they know where attacks are most successful and what types of software are under-protected. SQL injection is one such attack technique attackers like because it targets weaknesses within the database.
Attackers use the technique to exploit vulnerabilities in the SQL code of a web application to inject illegitimate SQL commands that can run havoc on the database server. To protect against SQL injection attacks, you should use parameterized queries instead of directly executing user input in your SQL code. Additionally, you can use an intrusion detection system to help you detect and prevent SQL injection attacks.
11. Continuous Visibility
To have a complete picture of the security posture of your SQL Server, you need to have continuous visibility. This means having real-time insights into who is accessing the server, what they are doing, and the system’s overall health. You can achieve this by using a tool like Splunk, which will provide you with actionable insights into your SQL Server environment.
Securing your SQL Server is critical for protecting your data and ensuring that your business runs smoothly. You can keep your SQL Server safe and secure by following these simple steps. We hope that you find it helpful. Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Maryam has been teaching IT as a school teacher for over a decade, and her main subject of choice is Internet safety, especially helping parents keep their families safe and secure online. When Maryam is not teaching or writing she is a big fan of the outdoors, the complete opposite of staring at a computer screen for hours.