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Database Security

Database technologies are a core component of many computing systems. They allow data to be retained and shared electronically and the amount of data contained in these systems continues to grow at an exponential rate. So does the need to insure the integrity of the data and secure the data from unintended access. At its core, database security strives to insure that only authenticated users perform authorized activities at authorized times. It includes the system, processes, and procedures that protect a database from unintended activity. Database security is built upon a framework encompassing three ideas: confidentiality, integrity and availability.

Database auditing is used to track database access and user activity. Auditing can be used to identify who accessed database objects, what actions were performed, and what data was changed. Database auditing does not prevent security breaches, but it does provide a way to identify if breaches have occurred. Database auditing is implemented via log files and audit tables.

The need to secure computer systems is well understood and securing data must be part of an overall computer security plan. Growing amounts of sensitive data are being retained in databases and more of these databases are being made accessible via the Internet. As more data is made available electronically, it can be assumed that threats and vulnerabilities to the integrity of that data will increase as well. Database security is becoming an increasingly important topic and students need to develop core understandings in this area. The primary objectives of database security are to prevent unauthorized access to data, prevent unauthorized tampering or modification of data, and to insure that data remains available when needed.