A backend database is one that your users access indirectly, through an external application that doesn’t form part of the programming stored within the database itself. All data breaches are disastrous, but a poorly defended backend can be a particularly attractive target to hackers snooping around for an easy score.
Here are some of the things you need to consider when it comes to protecting your data and minimizing exposure to unauthorized access.
Encryption is Your Friend
All important areas of your database should be protected by encryption. This is a method of coding information so that it can only be viewed by a user who holds the correct key. For a start, that involves storing passwords in a hash-protected format, meaning hackers can’t unscramble the “hash value” of the password by continually generating possibilities until they find a match.
The encryption of mobile data is often overlooked and can pose a real threat to security. Email attachments should be encrypted, as should anything you have stored in the cloud.
Don’t Get Sloppy
If you don’t invest in training your staff, you’re rolling out the red carpet to your backend database. Anyone using your system needs to have a basic understanding of how it works and how to take simple measures to protect it. Poor data handling and complacency can lead to easy pickings for experienced hackers. Weak passwords, careless web browsing, sharing credentials, installing unauthorized programs and responding to phishing scams are all ways in which your users can make you incredibly vulnerable to attack. Train. Remind. Repeat.
Get Ready for Round Two
A single breach can give hackers an amazing amount of information. Access to customer passwords can open the door to further intrusion into sensitive accounts. Hackers may also return to exploit weaknesses in your software, and usually get a pretty good look at how your data is organized within the system. The best way to avoid future incursions is to stop the first one, but if you do get hacked you need a crisis-management plan in place to minimize the impact and prevent further damage.
Perform Your Updates
System security is an endless game whack-a-mole. As soon as one virus or worm is under control, another raises its ugly head. A patch is exactly what it sounds like, a way of blocking a hole to prevent intruders. If you don’t take the time to install software patches, those holes will multiply and pretty soon rain fury onto your database. Make sure you install all patches and updates as soon as they become available and perform a regular audit to ensure all of your software is up-to-date.
Knowing a burglar can always break a window doesn’t mean you don’t take the precaution of locking your door. Like burglars, hackers are looking for easy targets and the more security measures you have in place, the less likely they are to force entry. Getting hacked can destroy the trust you’ve spent years building with your clients and irreparably damage your reputation. Remember to keep a close eye on your backend database and do the easy things that can greatly reduce your chances of falling prey to a ruinous breach.
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