Security

Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to Programmatically Pass Credentials in an Embedded Power BI Report

November 20, 2018 by

In the article, How to embed a Power BI Report Server report into an ASP.Net web application, we looked at available options for embedding a Power BI Report Server report into an ASP.NET web application. Since the publication of the article, I have received several questions relating to how one goes about programmatically passing credentials for report server connection within an embedded Power BI Report Server report. The simple answer to such questions is that it is currently not possible to implement user impersonation in an embedded Power BI Report Server. However, like in most scenarios, there are workarounds that one could temporarily employ – at least until Microsoft comes up with a permanent solution to what is becoming a top requested feature at ideas.powerbi.com.

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Craig Porteous

How to secure Reporting Services with Group Managed Service Accounts

November 7, 2018 by

With Reporting Services’ (SSRS) ability to scale out to multiple hosts, you may quickly come across the need to reuse domain accounts. Updating passwords for such accounts becomes a lengthy and risky process often requiring downtime. You may have a reliable process, set in stone for updating service account credentials every 30, 60 or 90 days or you could be stumbling across accounts that haven’t changed in 5 years and the passwords are in a shared text file somewhere. In either case, there’s risk that’s hard to mitigate without magically creating more hours in the day.

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James Rhoat

Considerations and concerns when setting up Database mail for SQL Server

August 31, 2018 by

Database mail is widely used by DBAs and companies around the world and is one of the features of SQL Server that can be very important for startups. That is because it is a cheap solution for getting alerts from your SQL Server for potential hardware issues, early warning signs of corruption, along with potential resource constraints. However, it can be misused or pose potential security issues. Before we start, to my myself clear I am in favor of configuring Database mail for the DBA team when done properly. In the rest of the article, we will touch on some of the common mistakes people make with database mail and their SQL Servers. We will not discuss the setup of this feature as it was well documented by Bojan Petrovic on SQLShack.

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Timothy Smith

SQL Server security considerations with open source tools

June 21, 2018 by

As our company has grown, we’ve recently added developers to our team who want to use open source tools (open source languages and libraries). In the past, we built and used our own custom libraries, but our new developers to prefer to use open source libraries or add new languages that require new libraries. We’re concerned that the use of open source libraries may not be secure and may introduce new inputs and outputs in our system that we don’t fully understand. What should we consider when we think about allowing open source software, tools or languages in our environment from the standpoint of security? Read more »

Timothy Smith

Securing access for SQL Server auditing

May 21, 2018 by

Our organization must restrict permissions and prove to an independent party that we investigate access and restrict permissions. We restrict permissions to objects using least permissions and give full access to an exceptional few based on an organizational design that follows best practices. What can we do additionally that will help us prevent unauthorized access or catch when someone who shouldn’t have access is able to infiltrate our systems, especially in the context of showing a third party that we track this.

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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.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Impact of CLR Strict Security configuration setting in SQL Server 2017

February 13, 2018 by

Every seasoned SQL Server developer will tell you that no matter how hard you try, there are just operations in SQL Server better implemented elsewhere than relying on native Transact-SQL language (T-SQL). Operations such as performing complex calculations, implementing regular expression checks and accessing external web service applications can easily lead to your SQL Server instance incurring significant performance overhead. Thankfully, through its common language runtime (CLR) feature, SQL Server provides developers with a platform to address some of the inconveniences of native T-SQL by supporting an import of assembly files produced from projects written in. Net programming languages (i.e. C#, VB.NET). I have personally found CLR to be very useful when it comes to splitting string characters into multiple delimited lines.

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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.

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Prashanth Jayaram

How to configure Always Encrypted in SQL Server 2016 using SSMS, PowerShell and T-SQL

October 2, 2017 by

In an era of remote storage and retrieval of data, including the cloud, data security plays a vital role, especially since it’s vulnerable during the transit. Situations like database backup or copy from or to the cloud, there is always a risk of data exposure to outside world lurking around one corner or the other. We have seen a noticeable surge in the technologies around protection and security of data from the world full of unsafe hands. Efforts are being made to protect data at a very granular level of the encryption hierarchy. Protection of business data cannot be stressed upon more.

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Jefferson Elias

How to drop a role in a SQL Server Database

September 6, 2017 by

Introduction

Let’s say we have a database role that we don’t need anymore because we defined another security policy using another database role. What are the steps to follow in order to properly drop this database role? That’s the question this article will try to answer, covering as many cases as possible.

In the following article, we will consider the simple steps we can follow in order to do this task using both SSMS and T-SQL. Then, we will focus on some facts that will lead us to the conclusion that, if we do it this way, it won’t work every time. We will list some situations where it could fail and define a test case situation in order to create a stored procedure that will do the job correctly, in all cases bymanaging these situations.

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Simon Liew

SQL Server Logins, Users and Security Identifiers (SIDs)

July 12, 2017 by

Abstract

Logins and Users are basic security concepts in SQL Server. They are often, and incorrectly, considered to be pretty much one in the same so it is sometimes confusing to some SQL Server users. Another important security concept tied to a login and user in SQL Server is Security Identifiers (SID). This article will explain these concepts through a step-by-step demonstration. This article will focus on the Windows login and provide some specific usage scenarios.

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Timothy Smith

SQL Server Database Architecture and Audits for Enhanced Security

June 5, 2017 by

This year, digital security has risen as a top concern for many people, especially after the recent security compromises with Cloudflare in February and ransomware in May. Throughout the last two years, we’ve also seen the rise of sim-swapping where a hacker is able to extract a user’s cell phone data and compromise all emails and two-factor authentication. Unfortunately, I expect these security issues to continue and cause compromises for user’s data while negatively impacting companies involved.

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Daniel Tikvicki

How to set and use encrypted SQL Server connections

May 8, 2017 by

As the standard for securing the host-server interaction, Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is implemented in a Web environment. However, the SSL can provide the encrypted connection and data transfer between a particular SQL Server instance and a client application. A trusted SSL certificate validates the SQL Server instance when the client application requests encrypted connection (or vice versa), while the SQL Server must be configured to follow the certificate authority (CA). This means that a certificate must be “signed” by a trusted source.

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