This article explains how to protect databases from ransomware.
Recently, people have become more and more concerned with software that can steal their data – this concern involves both private and corporate data. It’s due to the increase in ransomware on the global stage.
If the data that you manage is crucial for the proper functioning of the entire organization, website, or just a few business applications, any interruption in the communication with the database could prove to be disastrous.
Once your data is stolen or encrypted, it would cost you a great deal of money to get it back (a lot more than a ransomware fee).
That’s why I’ve decided to share some advice on how you can take the precautionary measures to protect your information so that, even if you become a victim of a ransomware, your data is secured.
What’s a ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infiltrates into your system. It’s usually downloaded by accident when clicking on random links on shady websites. Once the ransomware gets onto your computer, you no longer have access to your data. To retrieve the data, you have to pay a ransom.
Database Protection and Security Measures
Here are some precautionary measures that you should take, if you want to secure your data. Of course, these are not the only ones you can use. As you already know, each environment is a system of its own. So, not all best practices are suited for all environments.
The most efficient precautionary measure is to back up your data on a regular basis.
At your disposal, you have third-party tools that can automatically gather information, such the last time your databases were backed up. One of those tools is SQLDocKit.
Apart from frequently backing up your data, keep in mind that you shouldn’t store backups in a single location.
For example, never keep backups on the same physical drive because, if that gets hacked or destroyed, you will be left with no backups whatsoever.
SQLDocKit checks whether the data and their backups are stored on the same drive. That way, you can see to it right away.
Another way to protect your data from various malware is to keep your database stored in a cloud, such as, for example, in Microsoft Azure.
If you decide to host your data in Azure and want an easy way to access your configuration and system documentation, SQLDocKit can help you document the Azure environment. It gathers real-time and historical data about your system which is stored in Azure.
Although most of DBAs argue that antivirus software shouldn’t be installed on SQL servers, all agree that they need to be installed on your network computers.
If you decide to install an antivirus program on your SQL server, Microsoft have made a few guidelines that you should follow.
Refer to How to choose antivirus software to run on computers that are running SQL Server article for detailed information on what you should keep in mind when choosing antivirus software.
If you are using Failover Clusters, Microsoft have got you covered with a few special instructions that you should refer to in Antivirus software that is not cluster-aware may cause problems with Cluster Services.
Through many years of experience with clients and different antivirus programs, Microsoft has taken on potential problems when using some of the well-known antivirus programs on SQL servers, all of which are listed in Performance and consistency issues when certain modules are loaded into SQL Server address space.
If you decide to install an antivirus on a production server, my advice is to install antivirus software on all pre-production servers as well. Now, if you want to see which programs have already been installed on those servers, you can do it using SQLDocKit.
Patch your servers!
Ransomware software, as well as other malicious software, are developed to exploit vulnerabilities in the Windows OS. In most cases, Microsoft quickly fixes these bugs by issuing an update. That’s why it’s important that your Windows server, on which SQL Server is installed, has been patched with the latest updates.
If you want to check that all your SQL servers are running the latest updates, you can use SQLDocKit tool. From a single interface, you can see all servers which haven’t been updated.
If you want to see which updates and programs are currently installed on your servers, fire up SQLDocKit and navigate to the Programs List in the SQL Inventory section.
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