How to Improve the Security of Your MySQL Environment

by Nov 3, 2021

MySQL security is a key area of focus for many modern organizations. 

As one of the most popular relational database solutions, MySQL is widely used by organizations in many sectors of business and industry. Considered a stable and reliable platform, often serving as the backend for web-based eCommerce applications, it comes in just behind Oracle in a recent ranking of database engines

As such, database administrators (DBAs) in a multi-platform environment should be familiar with maintaining MySQL systems.

Why MySQL’s Popularity Makes It a Security Threat

There are many factors influencing the popularity of MySQL. However, its popularity comes with downsides.

When viewed from the perspective of a software platform or application, being very popular can have undesirable side effects. MySQL’s popularity means it is used by many organizations to store enterprise data assets, including highly sensitive personally-identifying information (PII). Securing these resources is one of the primary responsibilities of a company’s database team.

The number of MySQL servers containing valuable information makes them an attractive target for malicious external and internal actors. The knowledge necessary to perpetrate attacks against a MySQL environment is available from numerous online sources and can be used by individuals with varying levels of technical ability. The fact is, your MySQL systems are vulnerable and need to be protected.

Threats to MySQL Systems

Numerous security threats can impact a MySQL environment. They can come from external hackers attempting to compromise system security or employees taking advantage of elevated privileges. Following are some of the most common security threats to MySQL systems.

  • Ineffective password guidelines – Failure to use complex passwords to thwart unauthorized access or allowing privileged credentials to be shared opens the door to a wide range of internal and external threats. 
  • Ransomware attacks – These incredibly damaging malware attacks can only be successful if they gain access to your network and MySQL systems. For this they need to compromise passwords, highlighting the need for passwords that are hard to crack. 
  • Unauthorized configuration changes –  Internal actors with elevated privileges can change MySQL configuration files to weaken the system in anticipation of future attacks.
  • SQL injection attacks – In this type of attack, unauthorized users run malicious SQL queries to steal or damage data resources. The only real defense for this kind of attack is to not trust user input and use prepared statements instead. 

You can be certain that as long as you have important information in your MySQL databases, there will be malevolent forces looking to compromise them. 

Protecting Your MySQL Environment

DBAs can take steps to protect their MySQL environment. The following initiatives are among the most consequential actions they can perform to secure the environment.

The Zero Trust security model. 

Security threats have evolved to include everything from ransomware attacks by organized hacker groups to the theft of sensitive data resources by once-trusted employees. Three core principles define the Zero Trust security model.

  • Verify explicitly – This means that all requests for access to sensitive data are required to be authenticated and authorized using multiple attributes.
  • Enforce least privileged access – User access should be limited to only provide the necessary level of privilege to perform their jobs. 
  • Assume a breach has occurred – Data resources should be protected with the mindset that a breach has already occurred. Default access to resources should be denied, as every request for sensitive information can potentially be malicious. 

Perform comprehensive monitoring of the MySQL environment. 

Without the necessary knowledge regarding the systems, DBAs cannot effectively protect them. A reliable and dedicated monitoring tool is preferred, one that does more than indicate if the systems are available or not.

Know What’s Going On with Your MySQL Systems

Understanding what’s going on in your MySQL environment is an important precursor to identifying security flaws and enhancing security. A versatile monitoring tool is an essential component of a database team’s software arsenal. 

SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL enables teams to monitor their on-premises, physical, virtual, and cloud MySQL instances from a unified interface. It provides the information necessary to protect the environment and identify performance roadblocks before they impact users. 

The features of the tool provide the ability to:

  • Perform real-time monitoring to identify issues and perform resolution;
  • Track and compare changes to MySQL configuration files;
  • Check the security of MySQL servers;
  • Generate informative alerts on hacking attempts to immediately notify the correct personnel.

With SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL, a database team will always know what’s going on in the MySQL environment and be well-positioned to identify anomalies that may indicate security has been compromised. It’s a valuable tool in the quest to keep the data stored in your MySQL servers safe.

Try SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL for free!