Consolidation of Oracle Audit Data sources
Oracle security Tips by Donald Burleson
For complete details on Oracle
auditing, see my my book "Oracle
Privacy Security Auditing", and you can buy Oracle at this link and get instant
access to Oracle auditing scripts.
Consolidation of Oracle Audit Data Streams
Very few Oracle shops have a single database source
and Oracle can be a nightmare to try to consolidate auditing archives from
heterogeneous database platforms. Each database product (Oracle, SQL
Server) manages archives in
differing formats and cross-database issues can be impossible to resolve without
centralization. Audits from different database products are archived with
different character sets, different formats and different organizations (Figure
Figure 2 - The problem of auditing diverse data
Here the problem is consolidating audit
information along two dimensions, the multi-layer dimension and the
multi-product dimension. The key to success in this type of heterogeneous
environment is to simplify the sources for data collection and to collect audit
information at the source, the database layer. For those using relational
databases such as Oracle, SQL Server and Sybase, using the traditional ?grant?
access to authorize end-users allows them to access the data via alternative
methods such as ODBC interfaces.
For example, Oracle is nearly impossible to track data
viewing at the ?intrusion? levels (i.e. ODBC, Crystal Reports, SQL*Plus) with
application-layer auditing tools. Even if we attempt to close backdoors, there
is no guarantee that all data access will happen from within the application.
By auditing the Oracle data disclosure at the source, we
eliminate the need to track access from multiple points and we greatly simplify
the data auditing model (Figure 3).
Figure 3 - Cross-product data auditing
Now that we have ensured that all data access
auditing is done at the source of the data (the Oracle database), our only remaining issue is dealing
with audits from multiple data sources. This is especially problematic for
shops with a mix of database architectures such as relational databases
(Oracle), object-oriented databases (Ontos), network databases (CA-IDMS) and
hierarchical databases (IMS).
Regardless of the database architecture or
specific product, all data audits must capture this information:
Who - A full identification of the person viewing or modifying the Oracle data.
A log showing the specific application procedure
and method used to access the Oracle data.
When - A reliable date-time-stamp, globalized to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) for Oracle
What - A full listing of all Oracle data entities that were viewed or modified.
Why - Context-based information describing how the Oracle data was disclosed
Remember, the Oracle audit trail is a database tool, and
for most shops Oracle is the single largest data repository for the entire company.
Just as you purchase a database product that is designed to meet your
application needs, many companies choose an auditing solution that is
specifically designed for the needs of Oracle auditing (Figure 4).
Figure 4 - A unified database for managing audit information
Now that we see the high-level architecture of the
privacy auditing collection and consolidation mechanism, let's dive deeper and
explore how these giant audit databases are managed.
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