Over the past decade, Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offerings have experienced a massive rise in adoption, becoming one of the fastest-growing cloud services globally. DBaaS is the term used to describe software that lets users establish, operate, and also scale databases using the cloud without the need to install software, manage physical hardware, or carry out performance-related configuration.
This makes it the perfect service for small-to-medium sized businesses, without dedicated IT departments – although plenty of much larger organizations use DBaaS as well. That’s because its business and operational model frees up time, saves on cost, and can be used to automatically scale according to requirements. The results are increased developer agility, greater productivity for IT departments (where there is such a department on staff), improved reliability and performance of applications, and more.
With DBaaS, customers simply need to focus on using databases and controlling their content. The bulk of the other pieces associated with traditional solutions – whether it’s installation, configuration, maintenance, managing performance and availability, carrying out backups, performing disaster recovery, and assorted other time-consuming tasks – is provided by the service provider. The rise of DBaaS accompanies the move to cloud-native applications for many organizations, largely due to the convenience that they allow. These apps typically use DBaaS solutions for data storage.
What’s the catch?
So far, so great. But security remains a grey area for many when it comes to the cloud. Cloud services offer speed, agility, and secure infrastructure. However, the security of the data itself is the responsibility of the customer when a shared responsibility model is employed. With many cloud vendors, the agreement is that they will take responsibility for security OF the cloud. Meanwhile, the customer takes responsibility for security IN the cloud. That means that the vendor must make sure that they are providing a secure environment for cloud operations, but the customer is responsible for the security of the data itself. That’s why cloud data security measures are needed.
One of the downsides of the frictionless, virtual world of cloud-based databases is that it can be easy to lose visibility of databases that have been spun-up in the cloud. Many security and compliance teams simply do not have the right tools and resources that are needed in order to keep up with the oftentimes rapid speed of change concerning cloud database environments. That lack of visibility can make it challenging to pinpoint the exact location of sensitive data, with manual solutions being both time-consuming (with time-saving being, as noted, one of the principle advantages of moving to the cloud to begin with) and prone to errors.
Nonetheless, organizations must take steps to properly protect their databases – even if this can prove a challenge. Failing to do so is a major risk, and that risk is, in 95 percent of cloud security failures, one that can be put at the feet of customers rather than cloud providers when it comes to blame.
The four pillars
What is required is selecting an automated solution that conforms to what we might term the four pillars of DBaaS security and compliance. These are four “must haves” when it comes to choosing to adopt a solution for offering additional security on the cloud. The four pillars are as follows:
Data discovery: Data discovery should be automatic, providing ongoing discovery that makes it easy to maintain an inventory of all databases that’s both accurate and up-to-date.
Data classification: Does your solution allow for the real-time classification and discovery of sensitive information (think: Personally Identifiable Information (PII), social security numbers, health record information, and more)?
Data protection policies and alerts: Does it offer a unified set of security policies that cover all your databases? It should also provide notifications in any instances in which policy violations occur.
Data compliance and audits: Major legislation such as Europe’s GDPR and industry specific rules like the privacy rules laid out according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mean that data regulation compliance rules are both more numerous and strictly enforced than previously. Any solution you adopt should offer compliance reporting out-of-the-box that supports all major relevant regulations.
Choose the right protection
The good news is that such tools are, indeed, in existence. Choose a tool that conforms to the above specification, providing you the right visibility and continuous protection, and you get to enjoy the numerous advantages the cloud has to offer – without having to worry about any of the associated risks. Doing so is an investment that every organization needs to make.
When you consider the potential reputational and financial cost of failing to secure a database, the alternative (not protecting your data) simply isn’t worth pondering for a single solitary second. Just make sure you pick the right cyber security experts to assist you.