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Databases – Infrastructure – Security

Brian Kelley is an author, columnist, and Microsoft SQL Server MVP focusing primarily on SQL Server security. He is a contributing author for How to Cheat at Securing SQL Server 2005 (Syngress), Professional SQL Server 2008 Administration (Wrox), and Introduction to SQL Server (Texas Publishing). Brian currently serves as an infrastructure and security architect. He has also served as a senior Microsoft SQL Server DBA, database architect, developer, and incident response team lead.

Continuous Integration/Delivery without Testing!

Anything we can do to automate our builds and deployment should be considered. After all, the point isn’t just to write code, but to deploy working code. So what if we did the automated builds and deployed them to development or QA? No errors, so I’m good, right?

Not so… Read more

0 comments, 6,568 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 25 August 2014

Still a Need for a SQL Server Specific Organization

If you haven’t already, please read Denise McInerney’s post about why PASS no longer stands for the Professional Association for SQL Server.

The Growth of an Organization

If you’ve been involved with PASS lately, you’ve probably seen this change coming. When I read the post, I wasn’t surprised. PASS… Read more

2 comments, 205 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 20 August 2014

Guest Post on SQL Authority – Default Trace & Deleted Databases

I had the opportunity to write another guest post at SQL Authority:

Finding Out What Changed in a Deleted Database

This one covers how to determine who made changes in a database that has been deleted. This isn’t a situation where you can use the schema changes history report… Read more

0 comments, 418 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 14 August 2014

One of Those Must Read Books – The Cuckoo’s Egg

I was reading a book about network security monitoring and it mentioned The Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoll. Stoll’s book has been around for a long time, and it’s considered a classic book with regards to information security. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the story of a gentleman… Read more

1 comments, 188 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 13 August 2014

Guest Editorial Live on SSC

My guest editorial is live on My argument is a simple one: we don’t care about data and IT security. I don’t just mean IT folks. I mean most everybody. I include myself in this characterization. I know a few exceptions, but they are truly exceptions.

In the… Read more

0 comments, 192 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 11 August 2014

Speaking on ETL Security

I will be giving a presentation on ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) security at two user groups in the coming weeks.

Securing the ETL Pipeline

We’re going to look at typical ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) pipelines and consider the weak points an attacker might go after. Our goal in this isn’t… Read more

0 comments, 239 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 25 July 2014

Midlands PASS July Meeting – July 10

The Midlands PASS Chapter will hold its next meeting on July 10. We meet at MicroStaff IT in Cayce, SC. Here is the main presentation:

Statistics, Indexes, and their Impact

Speaker: Brian Kelley, SQL Server MVP

Statistics. Indexes. Clustered Indexes. Non-Clustered Indexes. Covering Indexes. Bookmark Lookups. Perhaps you’ve heard these… Read more

0 comments, 172 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 3 July 2014

PASS Summit Session Selection

Let’s make it democratic. Let’s ensure we get solid sessions from key people. And let’s save a ton of work in the process.

Spotlight Sessions:

There are certain folks that are extremely knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. They also happen to be excellent presenters. Have the spotlight sessions and… Read more

10 comments, 246 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 27 June 2014

What is an “operational” DBA?

On Facebook last night, I posted the following:

An operational DBA isn’t just a manager of a traditional RDBMS, transactional system. An operational DBA manages the data platform, whatever it is, when it hits production. Their goals are not traditionally the same as someone focused on development. They are looking…

Read more

2 comments, 398 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 27 June 2014

“A good DBA is a lazy DBA”

I’m borrowing from Andy Leonard (blog | twitter) who says all the time, “Good engineers are lazy.”

If you’re thinking, “Why would I want (to be) a lazy DBA?” let me explain. There’s a lot to be said for hard work. However, have you ever seen someone who… Read more

7 comments, 1,114 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 25 June 2014

Service Packs coming for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2

I’m not prophetic, I promise. However, some good news on the service pack front with regards to SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. There have been rumblings about a last service pack for these versions of SQL Server for a while, but nothing official had been said. However, an… Read more

0 comments, 1,909 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 30 May 2014

Do you apply SQL Server Cumulative Updates?

I think Steve Jones makes a great point here with respect to cumulative updates:

“This is one reason I’ve been hesitant to remain current with Cumulative Updates (CUs). Microsoft doesn’t stand behind them, with the text on each CU page that users should only apply the patch if they…

Read more

8 comments, 2,450 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 28 May 2014

Minimize permissions for file locations

When we talk about security, we often point to the Point of Least Privilege. I write a lot about applying this to SQL Server, but it’s important to handle this outside of SQL Server, especially at the file / share level. Why would we care about this as DBAs /… Read more

1 comments, 1,172 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 16 May 2014

The Scary DBA Comes to Columbia, SC

*sound of glass crashing* *cue theme music*

(in a wrestling announcer’s shocked voice) “It can’t be! He’s not supposed to be here! It’s the Scary DBA! What’s he doing here!”

That’s right, folks, SQL Server MVP Grant Fritchey (blog | twitter) will be coming to speak in Columbia,… Read more

0 comments, 176 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 9 May 2014

Understanding the Three A’s of Security for SQL Server

Do you know what the “Three A’s of Security” are and how they apply to Microsoft SQL Server? Let’s look at them as they are important for managing security properly on a given Microsoft SQL Server.


Authentication is determining who a person/process is.

When a connection is made, it’s… Read more

0 comments, 2,408 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 22 April 2014

Encrypt usernames and passwords stored in files

I was looking at a product recently and came across a rather unpleasant surprise: the install instructions specified that I put the database connection in plaintext in web.config. I’ll explore this particular case and why it’s particularly egregious, but from a security perspective, this shouldn’t happen anymore, regardless of application.… Read more

0 comments, 1,664 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 2 April 2014

Speaking at Midlands PASS Chapter tonight

The Midlands PASS Chapter is an official PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) chapter located in Columbia, SC. It’s free to attend our meetings, which are typically held the 2nd Thursday of each month.

Once a year we like to do an open forum on SQL Server security. It’s typically… Read more

0 comments, 159 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 13 March 2014

A summary of the SQL Server security #datachat is live

Recently I posted about participating in a #datachat about SQL Server security. As it turned out, we didn’t talk about SQL Server security, but data security. It was a good discussion with quite a few knowledgeable folks joining in. A summary of the discussion including some highlighted tweets can… Read more

0 comments, 198 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 12 March 2014

Auditing VMware vCenter Actions (on SQL Server)

When you’ve got a SIEM appliance or application, you want actions and events going into it as a central repository. That allows you to see patterns and hopefully track incidents across systems. As a result, if you want to track actions in VMware’s vCenter and you’ve got the database hosted… Read more

0 comments, 415 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 7 March 2014

The weakest link in database security

The weakest link in database security is the same as for most all IT security: people.

Because the weakest link is always people, we have adopted a principle called The Principle of Least Privilege to determine how we should assign security. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a basic… Read more

1 comments, 331 reads

Posted in Databases – Infrastructure – Security on 6 March 2014

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