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Data Monitoring

Data Monitoring Definition

Data monitoring is the process of using tools and technologies to provide continuous visibility into who is accessing which data and how they are using it. Data monitoring tools support enterprise data security governance initiatives by providing real-time insight into data activity and data access, which is essential for enforcing compliance policies and protecting sensitive data across the enterprise.

Data Monitoring FAQs

What is Data Monitoring?

Advanced data monitoring software automatically captures data activity along with the context of specific user-level activity within metadata for each query, which enables the identification of anomalies and violations from data access policies, and provides alerts and blocks queries in real time. This continuous, real-time visibility into database activity enables the implementation of processes necessary for effective data access governance, such as defining ownership, at all levels, with roles and responsibilities clearly explained and monitored.

Database monitoring is increasingly challenging as organizations adopt cloud computing. Legacy database activity monitoring technologies designed for on-premises deployments do not adequately protect and secure cloud-native applications. Effective data monitoring and security for the cloud requires next-generation solutions that are capable of implementing robust data governance and identity federation protocols specifically designed for data that no longer resides on-premises and is therefore accessible by many users and services. Modern database monitoring tools are essential for enforcing privacy and data security policies that enable regulatory compliance with data protection and privacy laws. 
Database monitoring software can be configured to automate activities that support data governance, such as: collecting identity-enriched logs and metrics for all activity against your databases, pipelines and data lakes; managing database user privileges; monitoring user behavior with data; and providing database activity logs and approval audits, which help with managing appropriate business use of data and preventing malicious activity before it happens.

Data Monitoring computer screen showing various charts

What is the Data Monitoring Process?

Data Governance Teams

The database monitoring process typically involves the following activities:

  • Define policies and privacy controls, and provide centralized management for documenting security policy definitions.
  • Generate real-time alerts for blocking anomalous activity and potential policy violations.
  • Provide reporting for all key activities, including outlier, anomaly, and violation detection.
  • Provide a secure audit trail on privileged activity to support forensic analysis in the event of a breach.
  • Adopt the principle of least privilege.
  • Minimize liability by being able to demonstrate security oversight and compliance in the event of a breach.

What is Data Monitoring Used For?

Data monitoring is a vital technology for critical cases like protecting sensitive data from external attacks, and for complying with regulatory compliance mandates such as HIPAA and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Advanced database activity monitoring tools provide visibility into privileged user and application access independent of native database logging and audit functions, and can improve database security by identifying anomalous database read and update activity from the application layer. The most common use cases where monitoring data is applied include privileged user monitoring, application activity monitoring, and cyberattack protection:

  • application activity monitoring: This type of data activity monitoring focuses on fraud and abuses of legitimate access via end-users of enterprise applications. A connection pool application aggregates all user traffic and enables organizations to associate specific database transactions with specific application end-users. This facilitates identification of unauthorized or suspicious activities.
  • cyberattack protection: This type of data security monitoring establishes a baseline of normal behavior by monitoring application performance and activity, enabling detection of a SQL injection attack based on a divergence from normal SQL structures and sequences.
  • privileged user monitoring: This type of database security monitoring involves auditing all activities and transactions in order to detect anomalous activities, such as viewing sensitive data or creating new accounts with superuser privileges, and prevent both internal and external breaches.

Why is Data Monitoring Important?

As the costs of database breach incidents continue to rise, investing in the latest advanced solutions to monitor database activity is more important than ever. Data security breaches result in real damages, rack up regulatory fines, damage customer trust, and end up being far more costly in the long run than proactively investing in an advanced database monitoring tool. Monitoring of cloud-native applications is often outside the capabilities of traditional database activity monitoring solutions. This makes it all the more important to deploy next-generation tools capable of controlling access to enterprise cloud data and meeting today’s compliance requirements.

Does Cyral Offer a Data Monitoring Solution?

Cyral’s patented real-time data activity monitoring technologies were developed to successfully capture the full scope of data activity without negatively impacting performance. By integrating the data monitoring solution with Authentication and Authorization services, Cyral enables the capture of specific user-level activity context within metadata for each query, which facilitates complete database security monitoring, detection of anomalies and violations from data access policies, and alerts and blocks queries in real-time.

Database Activity Monitoring showing multiple computer windows with graphs, charts

To learn more about the importance of data monitoring and about how Cyral can equip your organization with real-time data activity monitoring without performance issues, register for a demo.

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