Question: I need to design a security best practices
document for secure access to my production database. What are the
best practices for generating a security policy for Oracle production
Answer: While every security policy has different
features, they will all have the same goals, to enforce a policy that
minimizes the risks of unauthorized disclosure of confidential data.
Also see my notes on
best practices. and
When designing production data security policies,
one best practice is to remember the goals for data access. Given
the dual goals of data security and privacy, a security policy must have
the following features.
Authorization best practices - To ensure that
only authorized people are allowed to access production data.
Only people with a "need to know" or a legitimate
administrative purpose should be allowed access to production data.
Background check best practices - To ensure
that only trustworthy people can access production data.
Any criminal violation, even a traffic ticket, can indicate
contempt for authority and dishonesty. Even late payments to
creditors should be a red flag because it indicates possible moral
Data Security best practices - All Oracle
databases must control data access at the most granular level as
possible, using tools such as Kerberos, Oracle wallet security,
Oracle grant security, Oracle virtual private databases, and/or
Oracle grant execute security. For remote database access,
only secure key access will be allowed (secure shell (SSH) or VPN).
Logging best practices - All access to
production databases must be logged with a specific user ID that
maps to a specific individual. No sharing of passwords is
Auditing best practices - Because a DBA must
have access to all corporate data, it's imperative that the DBA be
carefully vetted with a complete criminal and credit check.
Here is a sample best practices security policy for Oracle
All access to the Oracle production database must
be done with a user-specific id (except management access requiring the
OS "Oracle" and "root" users), and all access must be done via a secure
protocol such as ssh or vpn. No anonymous access is allowed to the
Because the Oracle DBA has access to all datafiles
within the database, all DBA's allowed on production must undergo a
through criminal and credit check. Only DBA's with no evidence of
moral turpitude should be allowed to access the production database.
In addition, we honor all existing security
protocols and ensure that the production database access is regulated
using standard Oracle access security tools, and when requested by the
client, we will perform a complete audit, seeking any security exposures
Any printing of production data will be avoided
whenever possible, and when necessary, printed copies of production data
will be kept only for the period when it will actually be used, and
All e-mails relating to production access protocols
will be avoided, but when necessary, they will be destroyed immediately
upon receipt. All passwords will be communicated via telephone,
and never electronically.
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