Setting up a cloud-based infrastructure will bring a lot of benefits in cutting down the cost and setup time and reducing the resource overheads. However, there are many other challenges for the information technology teams while dealing with cloud-based databases. One of the most critical things is to figure out how to effectively protect the databases on the cloud. For this, you need to first understand the criticality of data protection.
In this article, we discuss how database storage administrators and cloud data administrators look for a solid database protection practice to have the databases on the cloud. We will explore some of the industry best practices too for cloud database protection.
Keeping the data in multiple zones
When you are putting your data on the cloud, you may need some kind of a solution based upon which the providers you choose may protect your database. There are different efficient storage systems, which can cost-effectively provide enterprise-grade storage. Some such solutions are Amazon Elastic Block Storage or Amazon EBS and Azure Disk Storage extra.
To ensure optimum reliability and high availability, solutions like Amazon replicate and save up to three distinct copies of the data in an availability zone for protecting against any possible data loss during a server failure. Even though Amazon Web Services and Azure promise SLK software with 99.99% efficiency in terms of availability, the risk is that your data is stored in only a single region or availability zone. If there is a complete crash down of the zone, it will end up in a total-loss disaster.
To ensure optimum database protection, it is a safe idea to have the data across multiple availability zones to be protected even if there is a complete zonal failure. When you set up Amazon RDS or Azure database, it is configured in a multi-zone setup. While you are setting up the database environment, keep disaster recovery (DR) and high availability as a top consideration, ensure that the standby databases are replicated in multiple zones for availability. With this approach, if in case the primary instance fails due to a complete disaster at the given zone, the application can still switch to the standby setup from another availability zone.
You may use technologies like Amazon S3 for replicating the backups of cloud databases across different regions for increased reliability and durability; it will also help reduce the cost of keeping your backups for a longer period. However, to protect your operations by using multiple availability zones, you have many technological tools like NetApp cloud volume ONTAP cloud, etc. You can avail of the services of providers like RemoteDBA.com for multi-zone remote database management.
Access control for cloud databases
As in the case of on-premises enterprise databases, one important concern to protect a database on the cloud is keeping the data secured from any unwanted access. Access control is also important to ensure that you avoid any chances of data breaches and ensure optimum compliance. Azure and AWS security controls may allow you to set up a secured environment for the databases in order to avoid any breaches. Some important considerations for data access control are as below.
- Virtual private cloud (VPC) will give you the ability to run the database instances in a logically isolated manner on the private cloud environments. It will also provide complete control over the networking environment, and VPC can also allow you to set up the subunits and IP addresses for the network gateways.
- You can also set up security groups for the public-facing applications which are openly available on the internet. These can be protected by another group of security administration tools and the backend application servers on a public or private cloud.
- With a virtual private cloud, you can maintain a hybrid cloud database setup like the databases on-cloud and on the premises can reside together on the virtual private environment. This will allow data centers to access the cloud data directly as well as privately.
Ensuring safer data transits
In the case of enterprise cloud databases, you may move huge volumes of data from the on-premises storage to the cloud or other storage systems. These types of data movements may require the IT teams and the storage professionals to find more secured solutions to migrate and do handsome data synchronization between different environments.
Your data may be vulnerable to outages, attacks, and failures of various types during this transaction process. These may also further result in a partial or complete crash of databases. Data transit may also raise some risks to compliance. You have to encrypt all the data at rest, including huge data volume snapshots, backups, boot disks, data archives, etc. The technological solutions to do this are Azure Blob and Amazon S3 extra. You can also configure Amazon Cloudtail as your activity logs to audit all the storage and record any events to configure an AWS Key Management Service or Azure Key Vault.
You can also recover from all the failures and data outages that occur during the transit of data and keep track of synchronization schedules for your data. In addition to availing of the provider services, you can also use NetApp tools to help address these types of changes. Data encryption can also be addressed using NetApp encryption, which offers a single control panel for all cloud resources.
Access control for cloud
In the case of compound computing, you also need to set up role-based permissions to access the cloud resources, including databases. In order to enhance cloud security, you should also leverage some identity and access management service provided by AWS or Azure. Using the security features like policy definition, users, roles and responsibilities, and Groups, etc., you can effectively protect your data from any user actions or loss.
As the best practice in cloud access security, you can create some security groups with related permissions based on the security policies. For example, you may create a group that got permission for DB admins only and assign that group to only database admin. Similarly, you can also have the policies implemented like that they can’t drop the database.
Above all these, also make sure that all your data storage and databases on the cloud are coming under the scope of access management and identity control for optimal protection. You have to keep complete control over who accesses your database and what type of changes or data manipulation they do.