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SQL Server - Security Risk Analysis and database security

11 September,2012 by Tom Collins

SQL Server Security Risk Analysis is adds good value to managing SQL Servers and the DBA role. Managing database security, most DBAs  create a security policy , monitor log files,  and possibly run a regular audit to check if the security policy is implemented. Taking it one step further and commiting to a regular risk review , can yield some good results – without a major impact on DBA resources.

When discussing SQL Server security,  IT managers often ask for any known risks on the database servers. Some risks are bigger than others and it’s important to focus on the biggest risk first. The following is a checklist of items to review. Not all of them may be relevant to your environment. I implement this type of Risk Analysis , on a quarterly basis

Risk Management methodology

1)  Identify Risk

2)  Mitigate Risks – create policies , audits, reviews

3)  Verify that Risks have been mitigated


Review Access policies for

Server machine

Administrator machines





Internal Network

Perimeter – firewall, ipsec

Physical security

Policies, procedures


Minimise attack surface

Are Windows Administrators and SQL Server Administrators separated?

SQL server 2008 doesn’t automatically create BUILTIN\Administrators, but there are still plenty of SQL Server 2005 installations with a BUILTIN\Administrators logon

Limit the users that have access

Are regular sql server security audits occurring?

When a user moves dept are they removed from the AD groups?



Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. Download MBSA 

Principle of Least Privilege 

According to BOL    “ a system should allow for only the required level of access to a securable object.”

Is access given to only users who need it?

If temporary elevated rights are required , is the specified time managed?

Are applications reviewed to check for coding based on elevated privileges.?

Are developers using db_ddladmin rather than db_owner?

Policy based management

A great way to standardize policies across multiple SQL Server Instances.


Select * from sys.endpoints  - to view endpoints

Why check SQL Server endpoints?  It is the point of entry for SQL Server – and offers a “map” of every interaction between SQL Server and the network. It’s not a firewall – but is similar in regards to controlling the traffic type allowed.

Related Posts on security audit and security policy

How to create a SQL Server Security Audit

SQL Server Security Policy

Author: Tom Collins (


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