Is Oracle Autonomous Database the answer to the many database security issues? (II)

In the previous article, I discussed the main differentiating capabilities of the Autonomous, what makes it special on the market. In this post, I will discuss how are those capabilities implemented.

First, a few considerations re implementation of the security benefits of Autonomous:

  • No DBA access is rather controversial point of debate among the DBA community and I prefer to not have an opinion on it. This is because during my career I worked or I seen many flavors of DBA tasks segregation and I think that in many scenarios it is totally possible to manage certain database parameters without super-user access while in many cases in very difficult
  • In order to ensure the security and the performance of the Autonomous Database, some SQL commands are restricted: ADMINISTER KEY MANAGEMENT, ALTER PROFILE, ALTER TABLESPACE, CREATE DATABASE LINK, CREATE PROFILE, CREATE TABLESPACE, DROP TABLESPACE
  • For DB links, you should use DBMS_CLOUD_ADMIN.CREATE_DATABASE_LINK to create database links in ADB
  • Several DBA statements are restricted: ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE, ALTER DATABASE, ALTER SYSTEM, ALTER SESSION, ALTER USER, ALTER TABLE, CREATE TABLE and CREATE USER
  • To ensure the security and the performance of Autonomous Database, some Oracle XML DB features are also restricted
  • Same holds for Oracle Text, Oracle Spatial and Graph and APEX

Security of Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Dedicated

  • Databases run in customer’s private Virtual Cloud Network:
    • Prevents unwanted network connections
    • Public IP not required
  • Only Databases are exposed to users
    • Prevents installing or modifying any software on system
    • No highly privileged access – no Root or SYSDBA
    • No login allowed to OS or CDB
    • No callouts to OS allowed
  • Secure Configuration deployed at all levels – Network, OS, DB, etc.
  • Network encryption available
  • Protection of end-user data from customer administrators
    • Can configure Database Vault user realms
  • Automatic protection of customer data from Oracle operations staff
    • Database Vault’s new Operations Control feature
  • Oracle automatically applies security updates for the entire stack
    • Quarterly, or off-cycle for high-impact security vulnerability

Cloud Service Shared Responsibility

Cloud Migration is a shared responsibility!

The Cloud providers can help taking a lot of burden of managing a big part of the stack but

Your data and the configuration will always be the Client’s responsibility! Nevertheless, on Autonomous this responsibility from security point of view is reduced to what is absolutely essential from the data management point of view:

In summary, the set of security capabilities that differentiates Oracle Autonomous has real database architectural foundation taking into use technical features of Oracle database that have been developed and improved over many years.

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