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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle Security Best practices

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonAugust 16,  2015

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 data?

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 Oracle best practices. and Oracle worst practices.

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 turpitude.

  • 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 allowed.

  • 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 production data:

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 production database. 

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 and vulnerabilities.

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 destroyed afterwards. 

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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