Servers Containing Sensitive Data – Think Bank Vault – Think Golden Goose Server
We term servers containing sensitive data a “Golden Goose Server”. Let’s discuss metaphorically the bank vault and the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in relation to Web and Database Servers.
Access to safeguarded sensitive data starts with the server. Web servers, like ATM machines typically provide a small amount of sensitive data in a smaller specific context. In financial records that could be one client’s data at a time. Web servers typically provide a user interface with limited contextual views for small amounts of data, like one person’s bank account details. The ATM does not give us everyone’s details unless we log in to each account to gather that specific data – and it needs different credentials.
The back-end database provides the bulk data, think bank vault. The Web user looks for one client’s data, providing the name or account number. The Web Server looks up that one client’s data by providing a query to the database where all the data is stored for all clients. Upon finding the one client’s data, the database provides that data to the Web Server and it in turn formats it for the Web user to view. Access to a bank vault is similar to access to a database. If the Web server is compromised it is disastrous as multiple queries can be made and gather precious data stored in the database.
When the database is compromised, it is catastrophic. With little work, a single query might provide a copy of the whole database. Summarizing, databases are like a bank vault and the Web Server like an ATM machine, both hardened, but the bank vault is more protected than an ATM. Databases are secured, but not generally as hardened as a Web Server. Databases are not public on the network,and a Web user does not require access to the database directly to do their appropriate work. Databases are or should be protected behind the Web server.
Database servers accessible by internal end users are vulnerable. On an internal network users share access to many devices protected by firewalls, credentials or both. Internal user computers often have access to servers that should be limited. We understand why a Web Server needs to be accessed by web users, but allowing a database to be accessed by internal users or VPN users leaves the most sensitive bulk data open to potential compromise. An internal user knows the value of the data in the database. An internal user has some physical access to the people and facilities where sensitive data is stored. Much easier for an internal user to learn database security credentials than someone on the outside. Leaving the database server, or “Golden Goose Server” accessible to internal users opens to potential compromise.
Every institution has and uses firewalls – even those that have been the victim of compromise. Using Golden Goose Security’s Hop Sphere Radius service to determine the appropriate hop sphere and lock down the database from being accessible to internal or external users reduces risk beyond the use conventional firewalls and security methods.
After Hop Sphere Radius Security methods are applied, an internal user armed with security credentials can’t get a login prompt with or without a firewall.
Keep reading to learn more about Hop Sphere Radius Security. It’s unconventional and highly effective.