What is Database Security? Here’s All You Need to Know

by Precious Nwakuba

We are in a generation where data is the new money, and cyber attacks lurk in the shadows like a thief in the night. So, it’s no secret that keeping your data safe and secure is a given. It doesn’t matter whether you are in business or tech; one crucial thing you shouldn’t brush off is database security.  

If you’ve been wondering what database security entails, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn all there is to know about database security and the techniques for maintaining the security within your database.

What is Data Security?

Data security is the process of using proactive security measures to safeguard your data from unauthorised access, hacking, leaks, manipulation, and possible damage. Data security is a significant part of information technology and cyber security that sets the seal on your information’s availability, integrity, and security. 

​​Think of data security as intentionally locking your digital storehouse to stop outsiders from getting in and messing with your belongings or stealing from you. You can secure any data, from personal files, company files, and financial records to sensitive business and user information.

This means that data security covers the protection of data at different levels and across different environments, including measures to secure data in transit (data being transferred), data at rest, and data in use. 

Data Security in Nigeria

In light of new findings, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu passed the Nigeria Data Protection Bill into law on June 12, 2023, now known as the Nigeria Data Protection Act, 2023 (NDPA). The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) and a Governing Council were also established due to the new Act’s immediate replacement of the existing Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) of 2019. 

The job of the NDPC is to protect data rights, enforce compliance, encourage database security best practices, defend the rights of data subjects, regulate data processing, and strengthen Nigeria’s digital economy. 

What does Database Security Mean?

Firstly, let’s find out what a database is before getting into database security. In a general sense, your database is a set of data that has already been arranged to enable adequate storage, management, and retrieval of your data. 

Picture it as a large online filing cabinet where you keep your important files. In other words, it is the digital storehouse that easily manages and retrieves data by keeping it organised. 

Database security refers to the collection of defence tools, measures, and best practices implemented to protect and maintain your database’s privacy, integrity, and availability. This involves securing the database management software and your database from cyber threats, attacks, hackers, and unauthorised access.  

Database security is undoubtedly responsible for covering and enforcing security in all aspects of information security technologies, practices, and database components. It includes:

  • The information stored or data in the database
  • The network infrastructure and computer required to access the database
  • The database management system (DBMS)
  • Related applications
  • The physical server and virtual database server and the original hardware

Database security and usability do not complement each other. Your database becomes increasingly vulnerable to security dangers the easier it is to access and gain access. Then again, it could feel as though you’re cracking a secret code to access the data or information you require because of how tight your database security is. 

So, if you have to jump through hoops to access or secure your data, why is database security so important?

Read also: A Full Guide on How to Become a Database Administrator

Why is Database Security Important?

Database security is essential for the following reasons;

  1. Protection of sensitive data 

Now, databases often store sensitive and confidential data, including personal details, login details, financial records, business data, and intellectual properties. Solid security measures easily prevent unauthorised access, ensuring that sensitive data remains confidential—away from malicious cyberattacks and threats.

  1. Shutting down data breaches

The devastating part of data being breached is that you may experience loss of financial records or confidential information, viruses, and even damage to your reputation. On the other hand, having data security makes it difficult for any external intrusion, which reduces the risk of hacking, data theft, leaks, and unauthorised access. 

  1. Building and maintaining trust

Whether users are customers or employees, they trust their information will be managed safely. Database security helps you build and maintain this trust by showing commitment to protecting sensitive data.

  1. Compliance with data protection laws in Nigeria

Many industries are subject to data protection laws and compliance requirements in Nigeria. So, by implementing strong database security measures as a business owner, you’re complying with these regulations in Nigeria and staying out of trouble with the law.

  1. Prevention of disruption of services

Unauthorised access and cyberattacks can disrupt your database, resulting in file corruption, downtime, data loss, and loss of productivity. That’s why using data security best practices helps you return to your day-to-day business operations faster, recover your data, and reduce damage to the database, even if there’s a breach. 

  1. Increasing competitive advantage

Also, having a solid reputation for strong database security can give you a competitive advantage. It will position you as a trusted authority in your industry amongst your competition.

  1. Adapting to cyber attacks and threats

With the high rate of cyber attacks and threats, database security offers a proactive defence against changing cybersecurity challenges by dealing with existing threats and adapting to new ones.

Read also: A Beginner’s Guide to Database Management System.

Database Security Techniques

Like every other place in the world, database security techniques used in Nigerian sectors are designed to keep sensitive information safe—either from unauthorised access, modifications, or public disclosure. The typical database security techniques include the following:

  1. Encryption

The encryption techniques turn sensitive data into unreadable code that protects your data privacy by ensuring that even if unauthorised access happens, the data will remain secure without the correct decryption key.

  1. Authentication and authorisation

Installing strict access controls will ensure that only authorised individuals or systems can enter your database. 

You do this by verifying your users’ identities (authentication) and determining which privileges to give them to access the database (authorisation). This technique ensures that only people you authorise can do specific things in the database.

  1. Frequent audits and monitoring

Regular audits and monitoring operations should be carried out if you want to identify and address any unauthorised or suspected access. It helps in locating potential weak points and security threats to your database.

  1. Data masking and redaction

When you have granted access or different authorisation levels to many people, consider concealing certain sensitive information within the database to protect privacy while maintaining functionality. 

  1. Network security and firewalls 

Enforcing firewalls and network security measures will help shield the database from external threats. This involves controlling and monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic to prevent unauthorised access.

  1. Incident response and recovery plans

Sometimes, cyberattacks can occur, so you have to be at alert. Establishing incident response strategies to resolve security breaches quickly is a strategy you can use. This entails putting a plan in place for data recovery and continuing regular business activities in the event of a security breach.

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Examples of Data Security Tools 

Here are some database security tools commonly used in Nigeria:

  • IBM Guardium
  • Imperva SecureSphere
  • McAfee Database Security
  • Microsoft SQL Server Security Features
  • Oracle Advanced Security (OAS)
  • Symantec Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Read also: The Data Processing Life Cycle: A Complete Guide

Conclusion

As the online space is becoming a major part of our lives, remember that lurking cyber threats, hacking, and the sale of people’s data are rampant. So in this battle, having a solidly built database security system is your greatest line of defence. 

Just as Nigeria has embraced the recent Nigeria Data Protection Act, you should implement database security. Whether you’re in tech or a business owner, remember that protecting your data is the same as protecting your assets. 

So, stay safe and secure! 

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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide. 

About Author

Avatar of Precious Nwakuba
Precious Nwakuba
I'm a Copywriter and Content Strategist with about 3 years of experience. Blending creativity with research, my skills are a tool to make your content engaging and relatable to your target audience, inspiring them to love you even more.
So, let's make your brand stand out together!

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