What database security services should I offer my SQL Server customers and how often should I test them for security flaws?

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VARs can offer database clients two classes of security services:

  • Monitoring services
  • Best practices analysis

Important monitoring services include the following:

  1. Intrusion detection -- SQL Injection or buffer overflow attacks like SQL Slammer.
  2. Unauthorized object access as part of the larger umbrella of Sarbanes Oxley compliance.
  3. Destructive DDL commands -- drop table statements.
  4. Account rights escalation – guest role account enabling, or adding a low privileged user account to the sysadmin role.

As new exploits are discovered, continuous threat analysis is an important service for a VAR to offer.

Best practices analysis can include the following:

  1. Checks for weak or no passwords.
  2. Scans to ensure that all accounts are running under the least privileges.
  3. Locking down of xp_cmdshell and other features which may expose your SQL Servers to exploits.
  4. limiting use of the guest account and the sysadmin role.

This was first published in May 2007

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