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Updated: 16 hours 40 min ago

Customizing a Database Activity Monitoring Solution: Database Activity Monitoring Series pt. 2 [VIDEO]

Sat, 2014-06-21 13:32

Real-time monitoring means constant protection from potential threats, and at RDX we customize database activity monitoring to fit our customers’ unique security requirements.

First, we hold fact finding meetings during the customer integration process to learn our customers’ database security requirements and internal practices. Then we educate our customers on the installation and configuration of the security monitoring architecture which utilizes an RDX supplied security appliance.

Next, we work with our customers to determine which event notifications and escalation procedures are best for their database environments. They can set notification rules about the time of day a database is accessed, certain users who access it, and the computers and programs used to access it, among hundreds of other customizable parameters.

After implementation, our team of dedicated professionals provide 24×7, 100% onshore monitoring of your database environments and will alert you to any activities that violate your predetermined security parameters.

We also provide our customers with ongoing database security services. Find out more about these in our next video!

The post Customizing a Database Activity Monitoring Solution: Database Activity Monitoring Series pt. 2 [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

What is Database Activity Monitoring?: Database Activity Monitoring Series Kick-off [VIDEO]

Fri, 2014-06-20 13:56

Today we're kicking off a series on Database Activity Monitoring. As your database administrators, safeguarding customer data is our highest priority. That’s why we offer 24×7 Database Activity Monitoring services, which allow organizations to gain full visibility into all database activity.

At RDX, we’ve partnered with McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security company, to bring our customers the highest level of database activity monitoring. RDX has integrated the features and functionality provided by McAfee’s database security products into its support environment to give our clients visibility into all database activity, including local privileged access and sophisticated attacks from within the database itself.

Not only that, we help you save money on a security monitoring support architecture, because our Proactive Monitoring and Response Center provides 24X7, real-time security alert monitoring and support by around-the-clock staff members who are onsite, onshore, and 100 percent dedicated to protecting your organization's core assets..

This constant monitoring also helps us receive alerts of attacks in real time and terminate sessions that violate predetermined security policies.

We customer tailor a database activity monitoring solution to fit each customer’s unique needs – which we'll touch on in our next video!
 

The post What is Database Activity Monitoring?: Database Activity Monitoring Series Kick-off [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

What is Database Activity Monitoring?: Database Activity Monitoring Series Kick-off [VIDEO]

Fri, 2014-06-20 13:56

Today we're kicking off a series on Database Activity Monitoring. As your database administrators, safeguarding customer data is our highest priority. That’s why we offer 24×7 Database Activity Monitoring services, which allow organizations to gain full visibility into all database activity.

At RDX, we’ve partnered with McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security company, to bring our customers the highest level of database activity monitoring. RDX has integrated the features and functionality provided by McAfee’s database security products into its support environment to give our clients visibility into all database activity, including local privileged access and sophisticated attacks from within the database itself.

Not only that, we help you save money on a security monitoring support architecture, because our Proactive Monitoring and Response Center provides 24X7, real-time security alert monitoring and support by around-the-clock staff members who are onsite, onshore, and 100 percent dedicated to protecting your organization's core assets.

This constant monitoring also helps us receive alerts of attacks in real time and terminate sessions that violate predetermined security policies.

We customer tailor a database activity monitoring solution to fit each customer’s unique needs – which we'll touch on in our next video!
 

The post What is Database Activity Monitoring?: Database Activity Monitoring Series Kick-off [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Customizing a Database Activity Monitoring Solution: Database Activity Monitoring Series pt. 2 [VIDEO]

Fri, 2014-06-20 13:32

Real-time monitoring means constant protection from potential threats, and at RDX we customize database activity monitoring to fit our customers’ unique security requirements.

First, we hold fact finding meetings during the customer integration process to learn our customers’ database security requirements and internal practices. Then we educate our customers on the installation and configuration of the security monitoring architecture which utilizes an RDX supplied security appliance.

Next, we work with our customers to determine which event notifications and escalation procedures are best for their database environments. They can set notification rules about the time of day a database is accessed, certain users who access it, and the computers and programs used to access it, among hundreds of other customizable parameters.

After implementation, our team of dedicated professionals provide 24×7, 100% onshore monitoring of your database environments and will alert you to any activities that violate your predetermined security parameters.

We also provide our customers with ongoing database security services. Find out more about these in our next video! 

The post Customizing a Database Activity Monitoring Solution: Database Activity Monitoring Series pt. 2 [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Mobile applications can be a boon for businesses

Thu, 2014-06-19 11:32

As there are thousands of unique businesses active today, each providing specific services or products to consumers, creating mobile applications directly related to their practices seems feasible.

The task is of course easier said than done. Platform-as-a-Service offers organizations the environment in which to create smartphone and tablet tools. However, monitoring such a system will likely require the expertise of database administration services that specialize in cloud deployments.

Why mobile matters
Although having a mobile application won't wholly determine whether a company is successful or not, it wouldn't hurt it to have one. Harvard Business Review referenced a 2012 survey of 1,051 U.S. smartphone users aged 13 to 54 conducted by AOL and advertising agency BBDO. The study discovered that:

  • Nearly half (48 percent) of all consumers spent an average 864 minutes using their smartphones to seek entertainment.
  • Just under 20 percent spent time socializing with other people using the devices.
  • Approximately 12 percent leveraged their machines to find a product or service

Because smartphone purchase rates have been increasingly steadily each year, the manner in which the units are used is becoming more diverse. It can only be expected that people will continue to shop more on their phones, or at least search for items.

Constructing ubiquitous brands
Developing and launching unique mobile applications can help organizations boost their prevalence in the market. According to Natasha Clark, a contributor to BusinessTechnology, around 30,000 such tools are implemented every month, meaning that more competitors are trying to gain stronger favor among consumers.

Where does the market lie?
What kinds of applications a business develops depends on its primary practices and which consumers it's targeting. Companies in the service industry have acquired positive return on investment from the endeavor. Clark referenced a tool created by Eccleston Square Hotel in London, which provides guests with:

  • Room service
  • A map and direction feature
  • A popular attractions section
  • Dining recommendations
  • General hotel information

"Nowadays, people use mobiles more than the website on a desktop," said Eccleston Square Hotel Company Director Olivia Byrne told Clark. "Our app has lots more functions, and the fact that it stays on the phone after checkout is a constant reminder of our hotel."

Providing a solid platform
Depending on how complex and flexible enterprises want their mobile applications to be, it could be in their best interests to seek consultation from DBA services. The environments needed to create modern smartphone tools can be quite complicated, so having a dedicated team monitor them is essential.

The post Mobile applications can be a boon for businesses appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Manufacturers: The Internet of Things is here

Tue, 2014-06-17 12:58

All too often, the Internet of Things is referred to as an anticipated technology that manufacturers haven't quite figured out how to handle yet. However, production companies distributed throughout the United States are leveraging IoT to improve operations and maintain an accurate, real-time record of all assets.

Implementing hundreds of data-producing sensors across an entire factory necessitates the development of an environment that can adequately handle the information. Database administration has become a valued asset to thousands of organizations running analytics programs. For a company that focuses on how to better produce goods, outsourcing to to professionals specializing in DBA appears to be a viable option.

Supporting a new industrial economy
Strategy and Business noted that many economists have expressed optimism regarding the U.S. manufacturing economy. Specialists have cited competitive wages, factory construction and enterprises' desires to reduce supply chain expenses as reasons to celebrate.

Although the positivity has some grounds for support, the news source maintained that software and automation will be the primary drivers of the U.S. production industry's rebound. This shift in large-scale fabrication isn't necessarily supported by routine improvement of conventional operations, but spearheaded by fundamental changes in how the 21st century factory organizes itself.

An elemental transformation
Many contemporary factories are already operating under the guidance of software specialists. The best way to perceive the situation is to imagine that all the machines in a facility are connected to a single command center. If a sensor identifies an issue – minor or major – with a particular instrument, a notification is automatically delivered to the hub, where engineers can assess the problem remotely.

The proper way to leverage IoT
Although many manufacturers are leveraging IoT, those that are new to the process may be left befuddled by the seemingly endless vat of data at their disposal. DBA services can provide guidance to enterprises before utilizing data analytics and state-of-the-art software. In addition, AutomationWorld contributor Dave Greenfield outlined four steps every production company should take to effectively operate the technology:

  • Initially, combine three or four data sources.
  • Utilize qualitative data analysis software to identify patterns and obtain insights regarding the information
  • Present those insights to decision-makers in an understandable format
  • Share findings of the analytics programs in a timely fashion.

By following the aforementioned protocol and having remote DBA professionals monitor all activity, manufacturers will be able to effectively harness IoT data without obstruction.

The post Manufacturers: The Internet of Things is here appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Cloud computing changes the way DBA services regard database design

Mon, 2014-06-16 07:53

Cloud technology is changing the way database administration services approach database design. Software produced by Microsoft and Oracle is allowing these professionals to construct scalable, protected servers for their clients. 

A burgeoning market 
Why has this practice become so popular? Cloud computing has allowed organizations to create flexible environments in which they can run complex data analytics platforms, collect larger stores of information and enable their employees to access files form nearly every device. 

MarketsandMarkets conducted a study that showed the cloud storage market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 33.1 percent over the next five years. In 2019, the sector is predicted to be worth $56.57 billion. The primary drivers of this activity will be wide area network optimization, a desire to reduce IT infrastructure intricacy and inline compression. 

A new approach to design 
Now that the limitations of on-premise data centers are being surpassed, database experts are beginning to leverage cloud technology to construct platforms based on application usage, the amount and type of data (unstructured, semi-structured and structured) and how the environment will be used to conduct tasks. 

David Linthicum, a contributor to Datamation, claimed that one of the key benefits of constructing a cloud-based database is that it can be remotely managed and constructed by a group of trained professionals. That means the environment can be customized to the specific needs of the organization that is paying for it to be built. 

​Benefits and rules
Linthicum also noted that one of the key benefits of a cloud database is that service orientation is more sound and productive than conventional servers. Because cloud processing collects and consumes information in the database catalog, the data services can be reused multiple times with no detrimental consequences for the company utilizing the system. Linthicum outlined three general rules DBA services should keep in mind when implementing such a solution: 

  1. Cloud-based environments operate best as singular entities, therefore coupling databases is counterproductive. 
  2. As with any IT implementation, it's important to construct a security module. That being said, protective features should be integrated into the atmosphere as it's being formulated. Building an entire cloud database and then applying defensive applications goes against best practices. 
  3. Make it easy to scale up storage space so that influxes of data can be adequately handled. 

Hiring outside experts who know how to use database administration language is a good idea for enterprises interested in building a private cloud, or managing a public offering. 

The post Cloud computing changes the way DBA services regard database design appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

How database administration services can help tighten cybersecurity

Tue, 2014-06-10 15:18

As the frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks continues to rise, many companies are considering outsourcing to database administration services to provide them with more thorough, dedicated protection. Such professionals specialize in combating the kind of techniques commonly used by criminals to gain access to network servers, cloud environments and operating systems. 

According to Top Tech news, the Ponemon Institute, in conjunction with DB Networks, announced the results of its study, "The SQL Injection Threat and Recent Retail Breaches," which scrutinized responses from 595 IT security experts in the United States working across disparate industries within the country. 

Troubled findings 
The Ponemon Institute discovered that the majority of respondents believe the attacks against Target's databases involved SQL injection. Almost half of survey participants noted that the same intrusion technique poses a significant danger to their organizations. Worst of all, 64 percent maintained that their entity currently lacks the technology or tools to quickly detect SQL injection attacks. 

"It's well known that database breaches, including these high-profile attacks against the retailers, are devastating to merchants in terms of lost sales and damage to their reputation," said DB Network CEO Brett Helm, as quoted by the source.

Knowing the language 
PHP defined SQL Injection as a strategy in which a deviant creates or manipulates existing SQL commands to expose hidden data, override valuable information or carry out severely detrimental system level commands on the database host. Luckily, database support services are well versed in this technique, as many of them know popular operating systems such as Microsoft SQL Server 2013. 

What they do about it 
Upon hiring a DBA services provider to oversee all server communications and data warehousing needs, there are number of steps these experts take to ensure that no security faults exist when the operating system is up and running. The Register outlined a few of the tasks these professionals perform: 

  • Alter initialization parameters to construct standard, secure builds, which lets them protect the data dictionary and restrict OS access to authorized employees only. 
  • Grant privileges to users based upon their responsibilities and the tasks they need to perform on a daily basis. 
  • Delete default passwords and create strong, unique codes that are at least ten characters in length, containing miscellaneous symbols. 
  • Disallow illegitimate figures from gaining network access by restricting admittance to employees
  • Encrypt the data held in storage
  • Regularly audit the system

The aforementioned bullets are just a basic representation of the package an enterprise can expect to obtain by outsourcing to remote DBA professionals. 

The post How database administration services can help tighten cybersecurity appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Big Brother Monitoring Software: What’s it all about? [VIDEO]

Fri, 2014-06-06 12:44

One of the main reasons we succeed at reducing database downtime with our clients at RDX is our work towards proactive monitoring and notification tools.

Over the years, our experienced DBA experts have monitored client scripts and performance statistics daily by utilizing Dell’s Big Brother monitoring software.

With Big Brother, RDX can custom tailor a monitoring solution to meet each customer’s unique needs. Our DBAs receive automatic alerts when a monitored threshold is reached or a database error has occurred – meaning they can tackle issues before they become huge problems.

One of our healthcare clients was able to save much time and potential data loss when in the span of just 4 days, 3 different issues were caught early thanks to our alerts.

Big Brother also allows our DBAs to check on a number of other important database features regularly and even keeps historical data in the database, which means our DBAs can provide trending and planning information to avoid future problems based on past occurrences.

For more information on how Big Brother can help keep your organization’s databases secure, use the ‘Quick Connect’ button on the top right-hand corner of this page to contact us!
 

The post Big Brother Monitoring Software: What’s it all about? [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Oracle answers mobile’s call to action

Thu, 2014-06-05 11:13

Compared to the cell phones that were released in the year 2000, smartphones seem like an entirely different animal.The capabilities of these devices, in addition to the information they're able to access, have prompted criminals to steal them.

Database administration services are often consulted to set up mobile network protection, but many communications services providers are trying to figure out ways to discourage such deviancy entirely. Oracle seems to have found an answer to the problem. 

Fly like an EAGLE 
The Redwood Shores, California-based database technology pioneer has announced the latest release of Oracle Communications EAGLE Equipment Identify Register, which supports mobile device booking for long-term evolution (LTE) smartphones and other LTE-connected mechanisms. EAGLE also empowers CSPs with the ability to communicate with the Central Equipment Identity Register, the global index of blacklisted devices maintained by the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association.

Oracle's press release noted that EAGLE is an efficient solution that enables CSPs to rely on a single deployment to meet functional and technical requirements for 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE networks. Database experts will be able to enter international mobile equipment identify codes – unique numbers that correlate to specific phones – into a blacklist, which prevents handsets from operating. 

Reducing complications 
Lanka Business Today acknowledged that, in the past, CSPs had to implement separate identity management equipment to authenticate devices and combat thievery. Now, EAGLE has simplified this measure by creating a database that can easily process new information and allow administrators to deploy solutions quickly. 

Most importantly, the program connects to the IMEI server, a centralized system through which network operators can share intelligence regarding stolen smartphones and other LTE gadgets. This process allows such information to be stored in the EAGLE platform, ensuring that queries submitted by database experts don't extend to other system elements. It also helps reduce signaling volume, meaning that less energy is need to support the network. 

What it means for enterprises 
Many workers are using their smartphones to communicate with enterprise databases. Being able to access and edit files on the go is a valuable privilege to have in a world that's built on reacting quickly to changing situations. However, these connections could be compromised if a smartphone falls into the wrong hands. 

Being able to shut down all operational capabilities in the event a mobile device is taken should be integrated into every company's best practices. This way, malicious figures won't be able to penetrate corporate networks and steal sensitive information. 

The post Oracle answers mobile’s call to action appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Internet of Things can bring manufacturers to the next stage

Wed, 2014-06-04 01:18

Manufacturers utilize numerous data-producing mechanisms on a day-to-day basis, but aggregating and analyzing that information is a daunting task. A number of them lack appropriate platforms capable of supporting collection and scrutiny processes as well as the personnel to manage the environment's functionality.

For these reasons, factory companies are hiring database administration services to install systems such as Hadoop that support data analytics and complex intelligence storage. In the age of the Internet of Things and big data, it is essential for production-focused enterprises to capitalize on the opportunity to make sense of it all.

A better view of the supply chain 
Manufacturers source materials from numerous entities, which means that they need to have comprehensive oversight of all incoming and outgoing assets. According to One Network Enterprises Executive Staff Member Joe Bellini, the information produced by Internet-connected devices distributed throughout the production supply chain as well as monetary transactions between two or more organizations could be scrutinized to figure out where processes could become more efficient and where new opportunities for growth reside. 

However, he asserted that modern data visualization methods are rudimentary. Most companies are conducting transactions, storing the results in a data warehouse and running basic analytics tools after an issue occurs. In other words, the tasks are carried out on a reactionary basis. 

Taking the next step 
Receiving orders and tasks from machines could be daunting, but speed of communications is everything for a manufacturer. Database experts can support platforms that sanction fast productivity, as well as the analytics tools that make it possible. Kylene Zenk-Batsford, a contributor to Manufacturing.net, maintained that wearable technology and distributed devices can vastly improve a factory's connectivity – it's simply a matter of having the appropriate tools available. 

For example, employees working in a bustling, noisy facility could come into work wearing a wrist watch or other device that clocks them in the instant they enter the compound. From there, the watch could give them a list of daily tasks to complete. How does the mechanism know which processes need to be conducted? By communicating with a sensor located next to a machine, the watch learns of a fault with the instrument and informs the worker, who has the skill set required to resolve the issue. 

Such technology is readily available for manufacturers to use, they simply need the support system to implement complex endeavors. DBA services are readily available to help the production economy progress to the next level of operability. 

The post Internet of Things can bring manufacturers to the next stage appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Full vs. Supplemental Remote Database Administration Services [VIDEO]

Mon, 2014-06-02 09:24

When outsourcing your database administration to RDX, you have options. We offer two main models for our remote administration services: Full Database Administration and Supplemental Database Administration outsourcing services.

This allows us to tailor our services to your company’s specific needs. With full remote DBA outsourcing, we provide 100% of your database administration needs. Your assigned Primary and Secondary DBAs assume total ownership of your environment and are responsible for your entire environment’s security, performance, and availability.

Supplemental outsourcing is ideal for companies experiencing hiring freezes, or that are simply looking for DBAs to augment their existing staff. With this option, you can choose which specific services you need our team to perform, allowing your in-house team to focus on more important, ROI building activities.

Either way, outsourcing part, or all, of your database administration support will save you time, money and energy your company needs to drive progress forward. Get in touch with us by using the QuickConnect button on the top right-hand corner of your screen, today to learn more.
 

The post Full vs. Supplemental Remote Database Administration Services [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Hadoop: What it is, who can operate it

Fri, 2014-05-30 09:43

Many businesses often misunderstand what Hadoop is and how it applies to their business needs. Large enterprises collecting massive amounts of data often encounter database administration problems. In response, they typically hire outside experts who leverage Hadoop to help companies better manage information aggregation.  

Where did it come from? 
With the plethora of computing applications available today, it's easy for business-minded people to dismiss Hadoop as just another hype-infused solution without ever learning what it actually does. Cloudera CEO Mike Olson cleared the air with Strata blog contributor James Turner, claiming that Hadoop was created by a group of Google engineers trying to figure out how to catalog the textural and structural information the search engine was collecting and present it in a meaningful way. 

"Google's innovations were incorporated into Nutch, an open source project, and Hadoop was later spun-off from that," Olson told Turner. 

What it can do 
Olson proceeded to explain that Hadoop's platform is capable of indexing large stores of data – both unstructured and structured – and running intricate analytics programs that are computationally extensive. For example, financiers can leverage Hadoop's structure to conduct accurate portfolio evaluations, carry out risk scrutiny endeavors and construct sophisticated models. 

Database support services often find that utilizing Hadoop allows companies to perform incredibly complex collection and analysis tasks with a lot less computing power. Olson noted that the open source program was built to run on a large number of machines that don't share any memory or disks, enabling DBA to purchase number of disparate servers, assemble them in a rack, and run Hadoop on each one. 

"When you want to load all of you organization's data into Hadoop, what the software does is bust that data into pieces that it then spreads across your different servers," informed Olson. "There's no one place where you go to talk to all of your data; Hadoop keeps track of where the data resides." 

Where it's headed 
Use of the technology is skyrocketing. According to Cloud Times, a report published by Allied Market Research estimated that the worldwide market for Hadoop will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 58.2 percent between 2013 and 2020. The news source noted that burgeoning interest in the platform will be instigated primarily by the increasing volume of unstructured data most organizations are trying to process.

DBA services well versed in the technology can be a major boon to companies looking to make use out of Hadoop. Enterprises that choose to adopt it are sure to have a competitive advantage over those that do not. 

The post Hadoop: What it is, who can operate it appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Unstructured data marks shift to non-relational databases

Wed, 2014-05-28 13:44

The information collected by application developers, retailers and other organizations supersedes the basic, numeric form characteristic of an Excel spreadsheet. Documents containing written language hold a large amount of intelligence that can greatly assist businesses and public authorities looking to obtain insight into various situations. In order to harness this unstructured data, database experts have maintained that a switch to non-relational databases is imperative.

No easy task
CIO Magazine noted the problems Australian Crime Commission CIO Dr. Maria Milosavljevic have encountered when trying to scrutinize massive amounts of forms that include written language. Police reports, psychological evaluations and other documents are available for use, but assigning a team of employees to search for patterns among thousands of items seems illogical in the face of data analytics.

However, some of the more common programs aren't sophisticated enough to conduct such complex tasks. Milosavljevic noted that businesses can assign specific tasks to information scrutiny programs, but even these initiatives can become diluted by complications.

"My favorite example is a movie review that said a film was 'wonderfully horrid,'" noted Milosavljevic at the CeBIT conference in Sydney, Australia, as quoted by the source. "Wonderful is a positive word, horrid is a bad word. But 'wonderfully horrid', that's interesting. And a machine is not going to get all that right, but you all did because you laughed."

A constructive environment
Of course, this information comes from a number of distributed sources. Companies and individuals specializing in developing smartphone applications have experienced database administration woes because of the amount of text-based information that is exchanged between users. Maria Deutscher, a contributor to SiliconANGLE, noted that relational architectures – popularly known as conventional databases – were created with the intent of supporting transactions based on numeric intelligence.

Unstructured data expands workload density, making it difficult for information to be transferred between machines. Deutscher acknowledged that Couchbase, a startup focusing on open source database development, is currently seeking a solution to this problem. The organization's mobile suite is capable of running locally, eliminating the need to transmit data to a remote server. One would think that this process would result in decreased functionality, but the features application developers require on a daily basis still remain strong.

Organizations looking to make sense of the massive number of written documents at their disposal should take a page from Couchbase's philosophy and look for flexible environments capable of supporting analysis endeavors.

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How to Choose the Right Database Platform for Your Company [VIDEO]

Tue, 2014-05-27 10:24

Trying to find the right database platform for your company can be an overwhelming task, but it’s still important to put some thought into choosing a specialized database platform to ensure the maximum benefit in the long run.

Faircom Vice President Randal Hoff said in a report on TechRadar.com, that first, you need to understand your business needs – the amount and type of data you’ll be harnessing, storing and analyzing. Also consider whether you have data sources kept in legacy databases and applications, which often have been developed by different coding, making the extraction process difficult.

It’s also very important to think about the future of the company. This alone could dictate whether you need one database platform over another – or the integration of both. Sometimes, companies may require more than one platform to handle different tasks, such as handling customer reviews and comments on one and processing purchase transactions on the other.

Whatever your database platform needs may be, our team of database administration experts can help you worry less and ensure that your database environments are highly available and high performance 24×7.
 

The post How to Choose the Right Database Platform for Your Company [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

For analytics users, in-memory databases may prove useful

Fri, 2014-05-23 12:18

Experts have lauded in-memory databases (IMDBs) for their ability to improve data mining and analysis endeavors. Database administration professionals have encountered IMDBs more often now than in recent years, primarily because big data analytics have become so popular with businesses.

Analytics is a priority
In contrast to conventional disk storage mechanisms, IMDBs execute few central processing unit instructions, which drastically cuts down on the amount of time it takes enterprises to run information analysis applications. Mike Matchett, a contributor to TechTarget, noted that traditional transactional databases only held critical intelligence records in memory, while cheaper disks were used to store low-priority volume. However, modern thirst for web-based applications and real-time analytics has made IMDBs a more practical choice.

Today, database experts often find that the majority of structured databases need to be repetitively queried, which can be a slow, arduous process if the interactions occur outside of the server. About 20 years ago, this conundrum wasn't so ubiquitous, primarily because organizations weren't running complex analysis systems. To accommodate these programs, columnar machines were designed to hold optimized storage formats, but still proved inadequate in the face of a high-volume of transactions.

Creating appropriate environments
In order to accommodate these complex analysis solutions, German developer SAP released HANA, a scale-out in-memory database constructed to hold essential enterprise resource planning data. The structure is capable of providing near-real-time business intelligence and can finish reports that may take hours to run over an anachronistic transactional database in seconds.

According to PC World, many database support services are expecting that Oracle is set to unravel a new line of in-memory database products that take storage and processing beyond SAP's initial investments. On June 10, CEO Larry Ellison will host a webcast titled "The Future of the Database Begins Soon," and discuss what the the IMDB means for current and future Oracle customers.

"It will be possible to perform TRUE real-time, ad-hoc, analytic queries on your organization's business data as it exists at that moment and receive the results immediately," wrote Ellison, as quoted by PC World. "Imagine your sales team being able to know the total sales they have made as of right now – not last week, or even last night, but right now."

This level of operability is sure to be a boon for enterprises looking to monitor their progression. It gives executives the abilities to make decisions based on what's occurring and influence outcomes by inciting game-changing factors.

The post For analytics users, in-memory databases may prove useful appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

RDX’s Collective Knowledge Approach [VIDEO]

Fri, 2014-05-23 10:47

We know the whole point of outsourcing your database administration is to save money without sacrificing the quality of your work, so at RDX we use our “Collective Knowledge Approach” – leveraging the 1000s of years of collective experience our team has – to solve your problems faster and more efficiently.

When you outsource your DBA with RDX, you’re not paying for a single DBA resource – you’re buying 24/7 access and support from an entire team of onshore DBA experts – all for less than the cost of one in-house resource.

Your Primary DBA is your go-to contact, knowing your unique needs and support requirements. Now, whenever you have a complex task, your DBA calls on the Subject Matter Expert with the highest skillset to specifically address your need. And behind the scenes, our PMRC team is constantly monitoring your environments to help prevent database problems before they happen.

When you’re outsourcing your DBA support, you want to make sure you get the highest quality support possible. And at RDX, our team has got you covered 24/7.

The post RDX’s Collective Knowledge Approach [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Database Security Best Practices

Wed, 2014-05-21 10:36

Database administrators, by the very essence of their job descriptions, are the protectors of their organization’s core data assets. They are tasked with ensuring that key data stores are safeguarded against any type of unauthorized data access. Ensuring that data is protected on a 24 x 7 basis is a complex task. External intrusions and internal employee data thefts combine to make many IT professionals lie awake at night thinking about how they can secure their sensitive database data stores.

Data breaches threaten the survivability of any organization. The financial impact of the breach is not the only issue that affects companies that are victims of unauthorized data access. Bad press, fines, legal costs and loss of customer goodwill must be also factored into the breach’s total impact on the organization.

Significant data breach announcements are publicized on a daily basis. External hackers and rogue employees continuously search for new ways to steal sensitive information. There is one component that is common to most thefts – the ultimate target of that breach is the database data store containing sensitive information.

Protecting Critical Data Assets

Hackers can be classified as intelligent, inquisitive, patient, thorough, driven and often, successful. This combination of traits makes data protection a formidable challenge. Those responsible for data protection have a wealth of hardware and software offerings available to them that assist in the monitoring and protection of their organization’s sensitive data stores. Data security teams are tasked with creating protection strategies based on a combination of procedures, controls and product offerings.

These product offerings range the spectrum, from Anti-Virus and Security Information and Event Monitoring software to state-of-the-art firewalls and perimeter monitoring hardware components. The seemingly endless array of hardware and software protection offerings available allows security units to interweave the products and procedures together to craft protection strategies that are custom tailored to their organization’s security needs.

Database Activity Monitoring

The ultimate target for many breach attempts is the database. It is widely known to be the container for the organization’s most sensitive data assets. In the past, database administrators have combined product vendor supplied security mechanisms with traditional security products to protect their database environments. Although the major database vendors continue to integrate strong security features into their products’ architectures, third-party offerings in this space have been somewhat limited.

A new breed of products loosely grouped together and defined as “Database Activity Monitoring” (DAM) has recently begun to gain traction with the database administration community. Database Activity Monitoring allows organizations to gain visibility into all database activity including local privileged access and sophisticated attacks from within the database itself. Monitoring helps administrators protect their most valuable and sensitive data from external threats and malicious insiders by alerting them to attacks as well as terminating sessions that violate predefined security policies.

Database Activity Monitoring focuses on the evaluation of the SQL statements accessing the data from a security perspective. Much like a parsing engine that checks the syntax of a SQL statement to ensure it is syntactically correct, the software analyzes the statement and compares it to a predefined set of security rules.

Depending on the vendor utilized to provide Database Activity Monitoring, the combination of rules can be as complex or as simple as needed to protect the database. Most offerings allow administrators to combine security rules that consist of:

  • Database account executing statement
  • Application program sending statement to database for execution
  • Host name, IP address of computer accessing the database
  • Time of day
  • Type of access being performed (SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT DELETE)
  • Data Definition Language statements (CREATE, DROP, ALTER)
  • Data Control Language (GRANT, REVOKE)

The software then allows the administrator to take preventative action for statements that violate the predefined security policies. Depending on the product used, preventative action could include logging the statement, generating alerts or blocking the statement from execution. Some vendor offerings also allow the administrators to quarantine the user, which prevents them from issuing any additional statements that access the database.

The major offerings also provide out-of-the-box compliance and vulnerability reports. The Database Activity Monitoring software has preprogrammed rules for most major regulatory requirements including SOX, HIPAA and PCI. Vulnerability scans allow administrators to quickly identify potential issues and take the steps necessary to remediate or mitigate their impact.

The general vulnerability scans test for weak passwords, default accounts and other breaches of best practices that may result in a vulnerable database. Scans can be scheduled to run on a regular basis to ensure that no new vulnerabilities are identified.

Remote DBA Experts’ (RDX) Database Activity Monitoring Service

As a remote database services provider, RDX understands the important role security plays in our customers’ environments. Our customers have entrusted our organization to help safeguard their critical data stores.

RDX completed an extensive evaluation of various database protection products and has selected to partner with McAfee Security to provide a database security monitoring offering to our customers. A thorough evaluation of a Database Activity Monitoring vendor is critical to any shop desiring to implement Database Activity Monitoring. RDX performed a traditional vendor analysis that assigned weights to evaluation criteria based on their importance to our organization. Because RDX supports a wide range of database products, the product was required to support as many different vendor offerings as possible. Some of the additional criteria RDX used in its evaluation follows:

  • Track record as a proven security software provider and presence in market place
  • Wide range of SQL statement security monitoring options (type of access, user, time-of-day, etc.)
  • Limit the performance impact on the database, transactions and individual SQL statements being analyzed
  • Ability to quarantine users, not just block their statement from executing
  • Strong vulnerability scanner option that included predefined rules for SOX, HIPAA and PCI
  • Robust reporting and alerting features
  • Internal security mechanisms that prohibit product tampering and unauthorized access to the Database Activity Monitoring data store
  • The ability to virtually patch systems to quickly protect databases from new exploits until the database vendor supplied hard patches become available
  • Ease-of-installation and debugging
Database Activity Monitoring Lifecycle

After the tool is purchased, an implementation project is then initiated to tailor the product to meet the organization’s Database Activity Monitoring needs. The implementation can be decomposed into the following tasks: educating the application owners and security teams on the features that the Database Activity Monitoring product provides, needs analysis, customizing the product, defining alert notification and escalation procedures, initial vulnerability scans and ongoing monitoring. RDX’s implementation consists of the following phases:

Customizing the Security Offering

RDX works with each customer to design a security service offering that meets their unique security monitoring needs:

  • Detailed discussions are held during integration on the type of data to be protected as well as the customer’s current internal security practices and product sets. The intent is to allow RDX to fully understand each customer’s overall security requirements and current controls.
  • RDX’s security services are discussed in-depth with each customer to ensure they fully understand RDX’s data protection strategies.
  • RDX works with customers to agree upon the installation and configuration of the security monitoring architecture.
  • RDX identifies critical customer software products being utilized to create weekly vulnerability and new threat notifications.
  • Criteria used to generate alert event notifications is agreed upon.
  • Alert event notification and escalation procedures are finalized.
  • Initial and ongoing vulnerability scans are scheduled.
Initial Vulnerability Assessments

The initial vulnerability scan provides a detailed security analysis of the database being protected. Its intent is to identify current vulnerabilities to allow RDX and the customer to quickly address them.

  • The scanning process automatically finds databases on the network, determines if the latest patches have been applied, and tests for weak passwords, default accounts, and other common threats — making it easier to demonstrate compliance to auditors and improve protection of critical data assets. The scanner conducts a check of more than 3,500 potential database vulnerabilities.
  • Scanning templates for PCI DSS, SOX, HIPAA and other regulations can be utilized, as well as specific reports for various stakeholders such as DBAs, developers and security teams.
  • The scanning output provides remediation recommendations for most high-priority vulnerabilities.
  • RDX’s database and operating systems experts will present the scanning results to customers and provide valuable insight into the security flaw, the type of exposure or vulnerability it presents. RDX works with each customer to mitigate or completely resolve the vulnerability issue.
  • RDX will then schedule the scanner to run on a quarterly basis to ensure that no new vulnerabilities are identified
Database Activity Monitoring

24×7 Database Activity Monitoring is the heart of any Database Activity Monitoring implementation

  • A small client-side monitoring sensor is installed on each monitored target.
  • The sensors send alert notifications to a central console installed at the customer site.
  • RDX works with each customer to create security event identification criteria to alert or terminate sessions based on, but not limited to:
    • User
    • Application program
    • IP or host name
    • Time of day
    • Type of statement (SELECT, INSERT, DELETE, TRUNCATE, UPDATE etc..)
  • The alert notifications are forwarded to RDX’s Proactive Monitoring and Response Center (PMRC) for processing.
  • RDX’s PMRC Team customizes the alert event notification and escalation procedures to meet the customer’s security needs.
  • RDX will configure self-defense mechanisms to detect product tampering and trigger tampering alerts.
  • The PMRC team constantly reviews alerts generated during initial implementation to reduce alerting “noise”. Discussions are held with customer to reduce unwarranted notifications.
  • RDX ensures that all monitoring components are functioning as expected and performs system upgrades to ensure that all new features are quickly leveraged by each customer.
Ongoing Security Services

The intent is to provide customers with an ongoing service offering that focuses on the protection of sensitive database data stores:

  • Security Analysis Services
    • Configure custom Database Activity Monitoring Reports
    • Work with customer to add or change database specific alert event notification criteria
    • New Threat Analysis – Identify customer IT product sets during integration and create new vulnerability notifications that may affect those products
    • DBAs and OS engineers will provide detailed insight to alert notifications when requested
    • Scan for new databases added to network
  • Perform quarterly vulnerability scans to ensure that recent changes have not increased exposure to security threats
  • Database and OS patching services
  • Upgrade database and operating system to new release
  • Apply database and operating system security patches
  • Provide advice to customer personnel on patching and upgrades
Conclusion

Protecting against unauthorized data access must be an ongoing process. RDX is acutely aware that those individuals desiring to exploit data stored in computer systems for personal means are constantly changing and improving their data access strategies. The fluid nature of external and internal attacks requires DBA units to leverage time-tested database security best practices but also actively seek out and implement hardware and software products that can be interwoven into an effective database protection strategy. One of those key tools in your DBA toolbox is the database activity monitor. If you have sensitive data, you can choose to implement the product on your own or take advantage of our services.

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Health care regulations may boost need for DBA services

Tue, 2014-05-20 15:04

Regulations dictated by the Affordable Care Act and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Meaningful Use laws will likely require health care organizations to seek database support services. Stage 2 of the latter legislature requires hospitals, clinics, insurance companies and other entities partaking in the medical industry to adopt electronic health records, so that it's easier for professionals to share patient information – the hope being better, cheaper care for individuals.

Abiding by mandates
This massive transition toward EHRs has prompted health care companies to take two factors into consideration. First, in order to remain complaint with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), robust security measures must be applied to data storage, servers and facility networks. Second, professionals must find a way to manage a system in which a doctor can access, create and edit information from multiple devices. For these reasons, many have regarded IT outsourcing as a viable option, turning to database administration professionals to oversee system management

Handling such operations in-house often comes across as a challenge for companies that have focused more on patient care than developing computing capabilities, but it's what the federal government mandates. According to iHealthBeat, the CMS recently published a notice in the Federal Register that it plans to assess the readiness of organizations looking to adhere to meaningful use laws. A database containing reports on each entity obligated to abide by the CMS' mandates will be launched after reviews are completed.

Diving into big data analytics
The CMS' laws provide the health care industry with a unique opportunity to capitalize on the benefits associated with information analysis. InformationWeek noted that metrics can help organizations scrutinize costs, assemble faster diagnoses, adjust managerial practices, improve workflow and so much more. To get the most out of such technology, data could be collected from EHRs, wearable devices such as FitBits and numerous other sources.

"We, as a society, need to start creating our own metrics for how health care quality is defined," Dr. Anil Jain, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Explorys told InformationWeek in an interview.

Ten years ago, integrating analytics into hospital practices was largely impractical. However, the advent of cloud computing, outsourced DBA services and greater demand for the technology have driven down costs. It's time that the health care industry benefits from it.

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Boston Medical Center uses Oracle for higher performance [VIDEO]

Tue, 2014-05-20 09:07

In a recent move, Virtual-Strategy.com reports that Boston Medical Center has upgraded its database environment and moved it onto Oracle Database Appliance to improve efficiency and performance. The academic medical center affiliated with Boston University aims to fully support, scale and optimize its clinical and operational data environment, Virtual Strategy reports.

By embracing a more modern engineering solution, BMC will be able to save both time and money, reducing annual storage costs and management time with multiple vendors. Oracle Database Appliance has already provided the medical center with greater CPU and RAM usage and has allowed BMC to consolidate its data management team – meaning engineers can focus on other high-priority projects.

Solutions like Oracle Database Appliance can help hospitals modernize their databases to achieve faster, more insightful analytics on the quality of their treatments and care.

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