“There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business or life. There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.” – Jon Huntsman, Sr. Multibillionaire Author of Winners Never Cheat

Integrity breeds loyalty. The two go hand-in-hand, but how can you maintain customer loyalty if your database isn’t secure? Customers have come to rely on secure databases and will alter their shopping habits if they feel their data is at-risk. According to a survey conducted by CreditCards.com, 45 percent of consumers would definitely not or probably not shop with businesses that have admitted breaches. There are some ways you can protect your database’s integrity from inaccessibility and hacking, and they are outlined in the paragraphs below.

When You Can’t Access the Database

Databases are huge and complicated; therefore, file errors are almost destined to occur. Database failures should be handled meticulously and by professionals. If you attempt to make the repairs yourself and without properly identifying the issue, you could end up overwriting important information. And, once information is overwritten it’s nearly impossible to recover. This is just the sort of situation that can cost you loyal customers.

The best method is to shut down the affected system and contact professional database data recovery experts. They can determine exactly what has caused the issue. Here are some of the more common reasons for database failure:

•  Operating system failure caused a corruption
•  Dropped tables
•  Damage to RAID array or parity loss
•  Entry deletion or accidental file
•  Database file won’t open

When Hackers Attack the Database

Database attacks happen quick – too quick for administrators to notice; in most cases, these attacks take less than 10 seconds. The hacker first discovers a vulnerability; then the hacker exploits the vulnerability. Once they have your sensitive information, the hackers will use it to extort money from you or your customers.

You can start protecting your database’s integrity by identifying its vulnerabilities. You’ll need to use specific tools to identify “uncontrolled areas of development and quality assurance,” says Dummies.com. For example, SQLPing3 is the best tool to discover MS SQL server systems. If this sounds like a foreign language to you, it’s best to leave this informational digging to a security expert.

You’re looking for key vulnerabilities, such as password hashes which are accessible through unprotected accounts. Other examples of vulnerabilities are none or weak authentications, log files which can be renamed without administrative authentication, buffer overflows, and privilege escalations. Hackers look for these simple vulnerabilities; in fact, exploiting weak passwords is among the top ways that a hacker gains access to a database.

Instagram, the social media giant, isn’t immune to these exploits. A 17-year-old hacker and coder was able to exploit some key vulnerabilities to build an app which allows Instagram to be used from the desktop. The app, aptly named Uploader for Instagram, earns its creator about $1,000 a day. You see, there is a lot of incentive for hackers to exploit databases.

Once hacked, you do have options. Instagram sent the uploader’s creator a cease and desist and legally restrict him from using its private API. This is intellectual property that doesn’t belong to the hacker. If your private API’s and other intellectual property are used to create new apps or competing products, you do have legal recourse.
You should encrypt all of your data to ensure it’s not left vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, has stated: “Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on.” Take heed and encrypt all of your data – sensitive or not – and you can rest assured your database is protected from vulnerability losses and hackers.