Today’s database-driven websites are a magnet for hackers looking breach your systems. WordPress alone powers 28 percent of websites. Thankfully, there’s a jewel of insight hidden within your database performance data, making this often-overlooked metric important for several reasons. Not only does it determine resource availability, but it can bring critical information about the state of database security into clear view.
This little-known and under-used security tactic doesn’t get the fanfare it deserves when it comes to mitigating your risk. Yet understanding it is essential to diagnosing your vulnerabilities and preventing data breaches. So, what does your database performance data tell you?
1. Deviation is Bad
It turns out that performance and security are intertwined. To protect your company’s databases, you need to develop a detailed understanding of how it typically operates. Once you understand baseline performance, you can monitor your network more effectively—and IT staff can identify any deviation from normal patterns which may indicate a data breach.
2. Normalization is Good
When it comes to knowing the performance metrics relevant to security, focus on a specific set of database performance metric to identify normal performance parameters. This will form the framework for your cybersecurity system and should include:
- CPU and memory: If processing unit and memory performance data spikes unexpectedly, that could be a sign that malware is infecting machines on your network. When you know the typical range for CPU and memory utilization, you can identify outliers.
- Data storage volume: You should know how much data storage you are currently using. When events occur that drastically change data storage, the IT staff should know about them ahead of time. If monitors observe a dramatic increase or decrease in total data storage which can indicate a data breach. Threat actors may delete or duplicate massive amounts of files. Also watch out for the unauthorized transfer of data between different locations on your servers.
- Network bandwidth utilization: A noticeable shift in network bandwidth utilization patterns is often a sign that a data breach is underway. The IT team should understand the normal parameters of network bandwidth utilization so that anomalous patterns can be identified quickly. There are many tools available to help track this data: NetFlow, sFlow, and J-Flow.
3. Best Practices are your “best” protection
Once you’re armed with some baseline knowledge, you can take steps to improve security with these best practices:
- Conduct an inventory of which departments and individuals have access to sensitive data and how that data can be accessed (i.e. Which devices and applications can access data?)
- Determine how your company documents compliance regulatory and audit purposes.
- Establish a security policy and distribute it throughout the company. Offer all employees comprehensive cybersecurity training.
- Implement cybersecurity solutions that will inform the IT team when key performance metrics deviate from standard parameters.
- Develop response plans when performance abnormalities trigger alerts and make sure everyone on the team understands them.
- Review performance data on a regular basis and at least once a week. As your company evolves, your baseline performance metrics will also change.
When optimizing data security using data performance metrics, it can help to consult with an industry expert who understands database security and can offload management tasks from your internal IT staff. Ntirety offers a range of database consulting services. Contact us for a database assessment.