Cross db ownership chaining and security holes

29 April,2013 by Jack Vamvas

I was doing a routine security audit on a pre production SQL Server and noticed cross db ownershjp turned on for the instance.  The application was designed with a cross db ownership requirement.

My general approach to cross db ownership and security in general , is to grant only what is necessary. Systems evolve, configurations change, security hole appear. This security approach , often comes into conflict with business and programming requirements , who want everything now!

Questions I ask the owners about Cross db ownership:

1)       Is SQL Server Instance cross db ownership required at the instance level or database level?

2)       Will all the databases in the instance participate in the cross db ownership? If not , then change cross db ownership to the database level.

3)       Can the owner produce a document , detailing the application requirement fro cross db ownership? Rather than blindly granting cross db ownership on all the databases in an instance- have the application owner detail the requirement.

4)       Are you completing regular SQL Server  security audits?


--queries to check if cross db ownership is on
SELECT value_in_use FROM sys.configurations 
WHERE name='cross db ownership chaining' 

EXEC sp_configure 'Cross DB Ownership Chaining'

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Author: Jack Vamvas (


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