Specializing in a few types of Oracle Corp. security products requires an investment of time and money. As an independent consultant specializing in Oracle technologies, I have found the resources expended in becoming an Oracle VAR and gaining Oracle security product expertise pays off handsomely down the road.
Oracle security product review
Most customers who need your help in security areas are familiar with Oracle security products, such as Oracle Advanced Security (OAS), Oracle Database Firewall and Oracle Database Vault, but they may not be sure how to take advantage of the products. They are looking for experts who can not only smoothly implement a product like OAS (which is one of the more complex Oracle security products to implement), but also guide them through a successful implementation.
If you want to specialize in Oracle products, it pays to get an actual certification from Oracle, either as a general Oracle security consultant or as a specialist in Oracle Identity Management, for example.
To take advantage of even greater opportunities based on Oracle security products, you should learn how each of these products helps companies resolve not only their usual security concerns, but also how they address specific compliance regulations, such as PCI DSS and SOX. For example, Oracle's Advanced Security Option, whose primary purpose is to provide encryption capabilities, lets a company encrypt data at rest (i.e., on storage devices, including backups), as well as data flowing through the network . Encryption is a holy grail of almost every regulatory mandate and privacy law out there, and customers’ auditors are often satisfied when they see a sophisticated product such as Oracle's Advanced Security Option in place. Similarly, the Oracle Audit Vault shows auditors the company is serious about auditing itself. By showing your customers how you can help them handle complex compliance requirements easily and effectively with Oracle security products, you can increase your consulting engagements and sales.
The ideal way for you to become a go-to Oracle VAR is to specialize in one or more Oracle security areas. You can capitalize on your security background to move toward an Oracle specialization with relative ease. The table below suggests Oracle security specialization areas based on your current skills and experience.
|Your current skills and experience||Suggested Oracle security specialization|
|Networking, database, SQL language||Oracle Database Firewall|
|Encryption and cryptography||Oracle Advanced Security|
|Auditing and compliance||Oracle Database Vault and Audit Vault|
|Identity and Access Management||Oracle Identity and Access Management|
Oracle VAR training and certification
Once you have decided which Oracle security area(s) your company will specialize in, you or your employees will need to get trained on the relevant Oracle products. Oracle offers training for all its products in a classroom format in various cities around the world. Oracle also offers limited online product training courses.
After formal training is completed, it’s important to stay abreast of product updates, current database trends and best practices for implementing and using Oracle security products. You can learn about these and other Oracle security products right on the Oracle website and in Oracle’s online documentation. This ongoing knowledge will help your company become even more valuable to your customers because their internal staffs often can't keep up with the fast-changing technological developments in the world of Oracle security.
A final consideration for you and your staff is Oracle certification. If you want to specialize in Oracle products, it pays to get an actual certification from Oracle, either as a general Oracle security consultant or as a specialist in Oracle Identity Management, for example. Certifications generally impress clients, and preparing for certification helps polish your Oracle technical skills. Getting certified by Oracle enhances your credibility and will help move you up higher on the short list for winning an Oracle-related project. When you certify, you get the following benefits from Oracle, all of which increase your marketability:
- Ability to use the Oracle Certification Program logo
- Special discounts and offers
- Access to the OCP (Oracle Certified Professional) Member Only website
- Invitation to special events and hospitality at Oracle Open World events
As an alternative to training your own staff, you can hire professionals with the appropriate Oracle skill set. Some Oracle security products (such as the Oracle Database Vault or the Oracle Audit Vault) are fairly easy to implement and anyone with even rudimentary Oracle DBA skills can likely handle them. However, if you want to specialize in Oracle Identity Management, you're better off hiring or contracting with folks who already have some implementations under their belt.
With your employees trained in Oracle security products, on a foundation of other security, networking and database skills, your company will be well positioned to win projects from customers with Oracle installations.
About the author
Sam Alapati, OCP, CISA, is senior technical director at Miro Consulting. He is the author of 8 Oracle DBA books published by Oracle Press, and consults with major corporations on best practice implementation of various complex areas of Oracle technology. He also conducts database and IT security assessments to help companies strengthen their security.
This was first published in June 2011