Auditing

SQLShack

SQL Server database auditing tools

September 17, 2018 by

This collection of content presents an overview of top SQL Server database auditing tools, with product page links for each of the tools and screenshots if available. If you noticed a tool we missed, please let us know in the comments below.

All database auditing tools are sorted by alphabetical order.

Read more »
Prashanth Jayaram

How to continuously read Transaction log file data directly in a SQL Server database with fn_dblog and fn_dump_dblog

August 23, 2018 by

Outline

In this article, we’ll discuss how to read SQL Server transaction logs. This article should provide and insight into how the workload is being captured in the transaction log files. We are going to see how to get the transaction meta-data details and the history of the data will give us a clear idea of how the system is working and helps to decide peak usage hours, also helps to log information about who is doing what?

Read more »
Nesha Maric

Various techniques to audit SQL Server databases

July 5, 2018 by

SQL Server auditing has gone from a nice to have to a legal requirement, especially following new legislation like HIPAA and GDPR. Organizations are now tasked with auditing access to records, reporting suspicious and potentially malicious activity, forensically auditing data changes, as well are tracking login attempts, security changes and much more.

Read more »
Bojan Petrovic

How to implement error handling in SQL Server

June 15, 2018 by

Error handling overview

Error handling in SQL Server give us control over Transact-SQL code. For example when things go wrong we get a chance to do something about it and possibly make it right again. SQL Server error handling can be as simple as just logging that something happened or it could be us trying to fix an error. It can even be translating the error in SQL language because we all know how technical SQL Server error messages could get making no sense and hard to understand. Luckily we have a chance to translate those messages into something more meaningful to pass on to the users, developers, etc.

Read more »
Timothy Smith

Restricting and monitoring SQL Server data access with views and procedures

May 17, 2018 by

We recently faced a leak of information for one of our employees that involved data which caused a conflict within our company, even if it was not personally identifiable information (PII data). When we investigated the issue, we uncovered that we need to organize data access for our teams and review who has access to what information. As of right now, all our users either have access to all tables directly or a subset of all our tables. What are some practices we can use in SQL Server to avoid giving direct table access to our users? Read more »

Prashanth Jayaram

SQL Server data security feature RLS (Row-Level Security) and GDPR

March 9, 2018 by

Of late, there’s been a lot of noise around the term, GDPR. Chances are, some of us even had to go through learning sessions targeted at IT professionals to learn about what this new standard of data protection means. GDPR is primarily a European privacy law which sets a new bar, globally, on privacy rights, compliance, and security. GDPR is mainly about protecting the rights of every individual, providing the individual with more control over his personal data. It dictates how data should be handled, managed and protected going forward, the individual’s choice being the prime focus.

Today, data is widespread; many corporations handle part of the data on the cloud and part of it on premises. Our focus being SQL Server, we shall talk about what capabilities Microsoft gives us in order to be compliant with these laws that come into effect on the 25th of May, 2018. We would have to modify our data handling procedures keeping the focus on the security of the data processing.

Read more »
Brian Lockwood

Using production data for testing in a post GDPR world

January 15, 2018 by

To SQL Server DBAs who are the shepherds of data in organizations, key GDPR questions, in general, center around whether data will need to be treated differently, safeguarded more etc. and specifically, as it relates to allowing production data to be used in testing.

That will be the focus of this article as we’ll work our way through the details of this regulation as well as various authoritative articles on the subject, to address this key question. Then we’ll look to ways and means to potentially ameliorate our findings to provide alternatives and workarounds if possible.

Read more »
Dinesh Asanka

SQL Server auditing with Server and Database audit specifications

November 20, 2017 by

Auditing is a key feature in any application or any system as it provides end users with better analysis for administrators. Apart from analysis, auditing can be used as a troubleshooting mechanism too. Apart from organizational reasons, there are compliance reasons for enabling auditing depending on the domain of operation.

Auditing is mainly about answering four questions, i.e. who, when, what and where. However, depending on the situation, it might be decided what questions of the mentioned four should be answered.

Read more »
Jefferson Elias

SQL Server Audit feature – DDL event auditing examples

April 10, 2017 by

Introduction

In a previous article “SQL Server Audit feature – discovery and architecture“, we’ve seen the basics to build an auditing system based on SQL Server Audit feature. In the introduction, we talked a little bit about the « General Data Protection Regulation » a.k.a. GDPR that allows personal data circulation (in Europe) that is a subject in the mouth of a lot of IT professionals.

Read more »
Nesha Maric

Creating reports based on existing stored procedures with SQL Server Reporting Services

November 10, 2016 by

Basic extraction of the SQL Server database data is usually achieved by querying the databases and creating stored procedure to automate the extraction process. Unfortunately, extracting the information in this way will not yield high-end reports, and only basic table-shaped reports are available when extracting the information via SQL Server Management Studio or similar tools. In order to create high-end reports that will include additional projections of the data, such are graphs, lists, charts… SQL Server offers powerful reporting options within the SQL Server Reporting service.

Read more »
Timothy Smith

Monitoring changes in SQL Server using change data capture

May 27, 2016 by

Background

In multi-user environments, changes may occur frequently to the architecture, data, or overall structure that creates work for other users. In this series, we look at some ways that we can track changes on the data and architecture layer for pin-pointing times, changes, and using the information for alerting, if changes should be kept to a minimum. SQL Server comes with some built-in tools that allow us to monitor changes, and depending on the architecture, we can create tools that allow us also to monitor and identify changes near the time that they occur.

Read more »
Ahmad Yaseen

How to track changes in SQL Server

March 8, 2016 by

As a part of a Big Data project, we are often asked to find the best way to track the changes applied to the database tables, so that, no requirement is created to load all the huge tables to the data warehouse database at the end of the day, if not all of the data was changed.

Read more »
Kimberly Killian

Simple SQL Server automated user auditing

January 25, 2016 by

As a DBA I am often asked to provide lists of all active users ID’s or groups for a specific server or database. In addition to this, I am also asked to provide a list of failed logins. These requests are frequent enough that I decided to automate the process of gathering this data and provide two nicely formatted HTML emails. I am not going lie, manager types love these reports, and anything that makes managers love my work I am all about! I’m also all about automating anything that makes my job easier. Call me lazy or call me prepared, I hate having to do something over and over that I could easily throw into an SSIS package or Agent Job and just schedule it to do it for me. This entire process consists of using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), 4 tables and a SQL Agent Job containing 2 reports (Failed Logins and Active SQL Server Users). The SSIS package, along with all of the queries and scripts are attached at the end of the article.

Read more »
Steve Simon

Which Reporting Services dataset fields are being utilized by the reports?

March 18, 2015 by

Introduction

Have you ever felt like pulling your hair out, trying to ascertain exactly which fields in your existing Reporting Services datasets are being utilized by your reports. This happened to me recently during a corporate conversion and cleanup exercise for a database migration to the cloud.

The “aha moment came after having presented a paper at the PASS SQL Server Nordic Rally (March 2015), when one attendee came up to me and asked if I knew of a method to do this. As they say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and spiking my interest, I played around until I came up with the solution that we are going to chat about today. The end solution may be seen below

Read more »